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06 Sep 2018
Ramacciotti grabs last-minute victory for Italy on Superfinal first day
Italy, Spain, Russia and Portugal claim victories on the opening day of the Superfinal in Alghero
The opening day of the Superfinal and Promotion Final is over and the Italians did a really good job of rounding the day off with a nail-biting match against Belarus, in which Dario Ramacciotti poked home the winner to send the crowd wild, and his team back to their hotel with three points.
In Division A there were wins also for Spain, Russia and Portugal, while in the Promotion Final, Romania, Kazakhstan, England and Germany tasted victory, and will go into tomorrow’s fixtures with a boost of confidence.
Belarus v Italy
Today was Italy’s first chance to impress on home sand and in front of a packed stadium. Belarus had finished with more points in the regular phases and there was no picking the winner before the game.
Gori gave the spectators just what the came for by opening the scoring for the Azzurri from a set piece in the fourth minute of play. But the Belarussians levelled up minutes later through Bokach and at the first break the teams were tied and clearly very evenly matched.
A second set piece – this time from a much great distance – was converted by the Chiavaro, the Italian number two, after he was fouled and the crowd went wild as their side retook the lead.
Just before the second period finished, Savich was there to equalise and, once again, the sides took a break with the score all square. But Chiavaro had another special freekick up his sleeve, and he sent an absolute rocket flying into the top corner from a freekick, close to his own goal.
Zurlo then made it four to Italy and Del Duca’s men looked like they were cruising to an easy victory. Who to step up for Belarus and get his team back in the game but the captain Bryshtel, who scored twice in just one minute to bring the teams back to a tie.
With just 20 seconds to go, Dario Ramacciotti found himself close to goal with a final chance to avoid extra time and take all three vital points which he took with clinical calmness.
As the net rippled for the last time today, the crowd screamed with delight, leaving the stadium on a high and hungry for more. They’ll be back tomorrow – make sure you are!
Goals: 0-1: Gori, min. 8 (1); 1-1: Bokach, min. 4 (1); 1-2: Chiavaro, min. 7 (2); 2-2: Savich, min. 0 (2); 2-3: Chiavaro, min. 9 (3); 2-4: Zurlo, min. 7 (3); 3-4: Bryshtel, min. 6 (3); 4-4: Bryshtel, min. 6 (3); 4-5: Ramacciotti, min. 0 (3);
Portugal v Switzerland
The battle to be crowned champions of Europe got underway, as Portugal met Switzerland in a clash of two beach soccer powerhouses. But Portugal were clearly on a mission and flexed their muscles immediately as Leo Martins scored two early goals in the opening two minutes.
Angelo Schirinzi’s side found themselves two goals to the worst before they knew it and when Andrade took advantage of a lapse of concentration to blast in from his own goal, Portugal were cruising.
Noel Ott managed to stem the flow of goals and disrupt the Portuguese pace by pulling on back and the first period finished 3-1. After the break, Stankovic scored from a set piece to bring the Swiss to just a goal behind Narcisso’s men.
Bruno Novo grabbed another for Portugal, but there was a response within just a minute from Glen Hodel, and it seemed that Switzerland were keeping pace with their rivals. But before the second whistle, Jordan Santos and Be Martins got on the scoresheet with two fine finishes and Schirinzi’s men had it all to do again.
Be Martins then followed his brother Leo’s example by scoring a brace and extending the Portuguese advantage to four goals. Despite the fact that Stankovic stepped up to covert his second set piece of the day, making it 7-4, by this time it was too late and the three points went to Portugal, while the Swiss hopes of the title took a heavy blow.
Goals: 1-0: Leo Martins, min. 11 (1); 2-0: Leo Martins, min. 10 (1); 3-0: Andrade, min. 7 (1); 3-1: Ott, min. 6 (1); 3-2: Stankovic, min. 9 (2); 4-2: Bruno Novo, min. 7 (2); 4-3: Hodel, min. 6 (2); 5-3: Jordan, min. 4 (2); 6-3: Be Martins, min. 2 (2); 7-3: Be Martins, min. 4 (3); 7-4: Stankovic, min. 1 (3);
Russia v Ukraine
The defending champions had experienced a little wobble in their regular phase campaign in Warnemunde, Germany, when they lost to Joaquin Alonso’s Spaniards, who are yet to be defeated in this year’s competition.
But today went more smoothly, as an early goal from Makarov put Mikhail Likhachev’s side in control within just three minutes of the first whistle. Just a minute later Zemskov, who has been prolific in the league so far, found the back of the net too.
Ukraine struggled to create chances of their own and Russia were dominating. They rounded off the first period with a second Zemskov goal to go into the first break leading by three goals.
In the second period the match seemed a little more balanced, but the Ukrainians just couldn’t find a way through the Russian defensive lines. The second period ended with no more goals being scored. When Krash made it four for Russia early in the final period, a comeback seemed less and less likely.
Zemskov secured his hat-trick – celebrating it with his trademark backflip – to make it five before a goal in the last seconds of the match saw Paporotnyi take the final total to six.
Three points to Russia and Ukraine will face Belarus to try and salvage their Superfinal campaign.
Goals: 1-0: Makarov, min. 9 (1); 2-0: Zemskov, min. 8 (1); 3-0: Zemskov, min. 2 (1); 4-0: Krash, min. 9 (3); 5-0: Zemskov, min. 8 (3); 6-0: Paporotnyi, min. 0 (3);
Azerbaijan v Spain
Spain were looking to extend their unbeaten run when they met Azerbaijan on day one, in both sides’ opening match of the Superfinal. But Azerbaijan had shown in the regular stages that they were never to be discounted, and victory today would not be an easy task.
But it was Alonso’s men who opened the scoring when Adri Frutos found some space and time to drive a low shot home, half way through the first period. This goal was all that separated the teams at the first break and Azerbaijan were far from out of this tie.
With a slim one-goal advantage Spain struggled to find a second breakthrough and successfully defended their lead. Until deep into the second period when Abdul slotted a tidy shot past Dona to level the game up.
Following some lovely build up play from Llorenç, Antonio volleyed in a second for Spain. But just seconds later Ramil equalised once more.
Zenyalov’s men were proving hard to shake off, and when they took the lead, it looked like this Spanish winning streak was in real danger of falling to a strong Azerbaijan side. Cintas managed to hit a third for Spain just before the second break and the teams went into the final period on level terms.
Llorenç retook the lead for Spain from the penalty spot early in the third and final period, and then Chiky held his nerve in a one on one with the keeper to make it five for Spain with six minutes on the clock.
The Azerbaijani captain, Asif, pulled one goal back but it wasn’t enough to catch the Spanish who walked away with their record intact, and three precious points.
Goals: 0-1: Frutos, min. 5 (1); 1-1: Abdul, min. 7 (2); 1-2: Antonio, min. 2 (2); 2-2: Ramil, min. 2 (2); 3-2: Orkhan, min. 1 (2); 3-3: Cintas, min. 1 (2); 3-4: Llorenç, min. 10 (3); 3-5: Chiky, min. 6 (3); 4-5: Asif, min. 2 (3);
Bulgaria v Romania
The Division B action got underway when Bulgaria came together with Romania on the sand in search of the event’s first points. It didn’t take long for the fixture to burst into life, as Ravi, the Romanian number two, rifled in a long-distance strike after just thirty seconds.
The advantage was then doubled by teammate Boata from the spot and before Bulgaria could blink they were trailing by two goals, and this is how the first period would end.
The second began in very much the same way as the first, when Boata slotted home to complete his brace and give Romania a three-goal advantage. Valeriu Ionita’s side were then happy to keep possession and keep the Bulgarian attacks to a minimum.
Three became four and then five when Zaha got himself onto the scoresheet and then went on to complete his brace in the final period. A late consolation goal from Lozanov was all Bulgaria would take form their opening match, as a final goal from Maci, the Romanian captain, brought the final score to 1-6.
Bulgaria will have to wait until their match against Norway tomorrow for their next attempt at points in Sardinia.
Goals: 0-1: Ravi, min. 11 (1); 0-2: Boata, min. 10 (1); 0-3: Boata, min. 9 (2); 0-4: Zaha, min. 4 (2); 0-5: Zaha, min. 4 (3); 1-5: Lozanov, min. 0 (3); 1-6: Maci, min. 0 (3);
Kazakhstan v Hungary
Kazakhstan went into this tie having enjoyed an unbeaten run in the regular phase of the Euro Beach Soccer League. But Hungary had come very close to a similar campaign, were it not for a last-second England goal in Warnemunde.
The first period was an evenly matched contest and both teams created chances but defended their lines well to keep the score goalless. Until a twisting and turning run from Muralinov saw him grab a sliver of space to smash home the opener, and Kazakhstan went into the first break leading.
They scored again straight from the kick off to make it 2-0 but Hungary had a reply in the form of captain Fekete, who drove in a sublime free kick to reduce the deficit. But Kazakhstan widened the gap once more when Muralinov took his second.
Demeshko then scored a bicycle kick to get his name on the scoresheet in style, and claim goal number four for Kazakhstan. Rutai pulled one back in the final minute of the second period but saw it cruelly cancelled out just second later as Muralinov completed his hat-trick.
Rutai went on to score again but it wasn’t enough to mount a comeback and the match ended in a 5-3 win for Kazakhstan, who will face Moldova tomorrow to try and maintain their winning streak.
Goals: 1-0: Muralinov, min. 2 (1); 2-0: Perevyortov, min. 11 (2); 2-1: Fekete, min. 11 (2); 3-1: Muralinov, min. 9 (2); 4-1: Demeshko, min. 7 (2); 4-2: Rutai, min. 0 (2); 5-2: Muralinov, min. 0 (2); 5-3: Rutai, min. 9 (3);
Norway v England
Today’s game was an emotional one for the England team, who walked onto the sand wearing black armbands to commemorate the loss of their teammate Michael Jeffery, better known as “Jafu”, who would have celebrated his 36th birthday today.
Like Kazakhstan, Mark Mitchell’s side had made it through the Division B regular phase of the league unbeaten, and today they faced a Norway side who were out to put an end to it. But neither team started the game with clinical finishing.
Defending was the theme of the first period as both teams scrambled to maintain their clean sheets. The breakthrough didn’t come until the closing stages of the second period when Jake Younie side-footed in a volley to open the scoring.
But just a minute later Norway were back on level terms as the captain, Salve, found the back of the net with just seconds of the period to go. The third period was more of the same in terms of both sides playing defensive games but with a minute to go England were gifted the opportunity to nick the lead, which Younie took to make it two for him and for England.
But Norway weren’t finished yet, and an equaliser came, once again, just seconds later through Senja and extra time loomed…
It was in the final minute of extra time that Cameron O’Rourke drove in a low shot to snatch the lead but this time a response didn’t come from Norway, and England walk away with two points and unbeaten once again.
Goals: 0-1: Younie, min. 2 (2); 1-1: Salve, min. 0 (2); 1-2: Younie, min. 1 (3); 2-2: Senja, min. 1 (3); 2-3: O’Rourke, min. 1 (ET);
Moldova v Germany
Germany went into today’s game without having picked up a point in the league so far in 2018. This weekend is about retaining their Division A status, but achieving that will be no easy task as they have to see off their Division B rivals who are hungry for a taste of top-flight beach soccer.
Korner opened the scoring for Matteo Marrucci’s men within three minutes and Germany looked to be in control of the tie for the first period. Moldova defended well to keep the score at just 0-1 but a second goal was inevitable and came eventually from the German talisman, Biermann.
A piece of misfortune saw Schiopu turn the ball into his own net to hand the Germans another and by the first whistle, Vasilii Arlet’s side were trailing by three. Schmitt put the game further out of reach for Moldova with a goal within minutes of the second period beginning.
But a potential fight back came in the form of the number ten, Florea, to reduce the deficit to three once more. Schiopu then found the net – at the right end this time – to make a comeback look a little more possible at 2-4.
Two more goals for Germany, from Basiel and a second from Korner, put the game to bed, sealing the much-needed points for the Germans and damaging hopes of promotion for Moldova.
Goals: 0-1: Korner, min. 9 (1); 0-2: Biermann, min. 1 (1); 0-3: Schiopu OG, min. 0 (1); 0-4: Schmitt, min. 9 (2); 1-4: Florea, min. 8 (2); 2-4: Schiopu, min. 3 (2); 2-5: Basiel, min. 9 (3); 2-6: Korner, min. 6 (3);