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29 Aug 2014
Russia and Greece escape with wins
The stage is set for excitng Saturday showdowns as both matches are set to decide who will compete for the title
New-look Russians begin title defense with win
The 4-3 win for Russia looked in doubt for much of the match as the Russians found themselves down for long periods of time. Likhachev's side continued to fight and claw and leveled the score twice, the first time after facing an early two goal deficit, before eventually scoring a dramatic late goal that proved to be the decider. The scoring came in bunches as both sides fed off the others energy and would not allow their opposite numbers to take control. It was the first match of the tournament for Russia and they are the reigning champions. The win sets Russia up for an exciting winner-take-all match on Saturday for Group B against Spain. Hungary will next play on Sunday in the 5th place playoff, against the third place team in Group A.
A frantic paced first period began with both teams adamantly searching for the first goal though both sides were initially unsuccessful. The Russians spent much of the opening period in the attacking half of the pitch but just past the midway point in the period the Hungarians struck first on a long range shot from Abel. Hungary doubled their lead late in the period but Russia quickly responded, less than a minute later, with a goal from Makarov to put the score at 2-1 for Hungary, going into the first break. Seconds into the middle frame, the World champions leveled the score at 2 on a blast from Paporotnyi. The goals continued to fly as Abel netted his second goal of the day for Hungary to put the Magyar up 3-2. The goalkeepers then took over with some brilliant saves that kept the score the same, and not allowing the opposition to score was key for Hungary as they took a 3-2 lead into the final period.
Defense reigned supreme in the opening minutes of the third period, however Russia would not allow that trend to continue as Paporotnyi scored his second of the match after a long distance feed from his keeper, to even the score at 3. The Russians' confidence grew and they pressed Hungary to put all the pressure on them. The Russian squad did not find the deciding until late in the period when Krutikov made a quick turn and nailed the shot home with a strong volley to go up 4-3. Hungary stayed tough and began to press more, in part because Russia was looking to fortify their defense, but the tying goal did not come and the match ended with the Russians still up 4-3.
Goals: 0-1: Abel, min. 5 (1); 0-2: Simonyi, min. 2 (1); 1-2: Makarov, min. 2 (1); 2-2: Paporotnyi, min. 11 (2); 2-3: Abel, min. 10 (2); 3-3: Paporotnyi, min. 9 (3); 4-3: Krutikov, min. 2 (3).
Greece dazzles in overtime win over Azerbaijan
The 4-3 (aet) win for Greece was a fun display of everything beach soccer, from goals and saves, to fast paced action and late game drama. The Greeks started quickly, slowed down, and then were forced to come back multiple times. The match looked to be headed into penalties but a last minute overtime goal gave the Greeks their first win of the weekend and two points. Because of their opening day loss to Switzerland, Greece cannot win the group but will next play on Sunday, against either the 2nd or 3rd place team from Group B, depending on how Saturday’s matches end. For Azerbaijan, hope is not lost as they can still play for the title if they win their match against Switzerland on Saturday, which would give them first place in Group A.
Greece stared at an early deficit in their opening match loss against Switzerland, and they were never able to recover so in the opening minutes of this match they made sure they would not be down early. The Greeks used a goal from Triantifyllidis to go up 1-0 and put all the pressure on the hosts Azerbaijan. The draw stuck for most of the period but the Azeri scored their first goal in the closing minutes of the period, on a great direct kick strike from Zeynal, tying the match at 1 apiece. Renat gave the hosts their first lead of the day on an expertly guided and improvised header but the creativity was not exclusive to Azerbaijan as a last minute goal from Greece’s Salapatas knotted the score at 2 going into the second period. The middle frame saw the defenses settle in fall into a nice groove, as both sides eliminated the opponents’ threats and going into the latter half of the period neither side added to the score. The periods’ first goal came in the final minutes when Asif picked a perfect time to score, putting his team up for the second time, this time at 3-2. The score remained the same going into the final break.
Azerbaijan continued to impress their local fans in the crowd by playing sound defense in the final period all the whiling still maintaining a formidable attack. Greece did not wallow in the deficits though, and a blazing finish from Kakaroumpas leveled things at 3 going into the all-important final minutes. The two teams exchanged looks at goal but were unable to score the go-ahead goal and the match went into overtime tied at 3. Azerbaijan saw the first chances in the extra frame but the Greeks turned up the pressure and after hitting the crossbar and then being stopped off the line, they scored to earn the win and the two points. The hosts could not find the final equalizer and after the extra period ended, the score was 4-3 for the Greeks.
Goals: 0-1: Triantifyllidis, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Zeynal, min. 4 (1); 2-1: Renat, min. 1 (1); 2-2: Salapatas, min. 0 (1); 3-2: Asif, min. 2 (2); 3-3: Kakaroumpas, min. 6 (3); 3-4: Triantifyllidis, min. 0 (et).
EURO BEACH SOCCER CUP BAKU 2014
17:30 - Russia 4-3 Hungary (Group 2)
18:45 - Azerbaijan 3-4 (aet) Greece (Group 1)
Matches for tomorrow:
17:30 - Russia vs. Spain (Group 2)
18:45 - Azerbaijan vs. Switzerland (Group 1)