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16 Apr 2015
Semi-finals and Consolations set for Saturday
Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire, Madagascar, and Senegal will battle on Saturday for 2 spots in World Cup
Egypt rightly earns first win of tournament
The 5-2 victory for Egypt over Seychelles included goals from distance, direct kicks, bicycles, and all the drama and action that is customary in beach soccer. The Egyptians scored first, taking a 2-0 lead before seeing the hosts fight back, getting to within one goal, on two separate occasions , but in the end the Pharaohs were too much, pulling away late in the second period. The win is the first of the week for Egypt, though they could very possibly have won all three group stage matches, and they finished third in Group A. The Egyptians will be playing again on Friday in the consolation semi-finals. Seychelles fought admirably in their first CAF African Beach Soccer Championship and will still have two more matches to impress fans, beginning with their Friday clash in the other consolation semi-final match.
Egypt had missed their chance at the semi-finals but only narrowly, as they had their chances and were very close in each match, so they took it on themselves to try and build a big lead early in the match. The plan worked to perfection as the Egyptians scored twice in the opening minutes to give them a 2-0 advantage. More than halfway through the period, the rockets were flying but the goaltenders were up to the task and the score remained the same going into the last minutes of the first period. Seychelles got a kick-start from Cadeau when he blasted a shot off of a turnover to cut the deficit in half, to two goals to one, which is how the match would stay going into the middle frame. The Pharaohs maintained their strong play and restored their two goal lead on another early strike, putting the score at 3-1. Golden opportunities went missing, like dangerous direct kicks and penalty shots, but at the same time, there were many solid connections that did hit the back of the onion bag putting the score at 5-2 for Egypt when the second period ended.
Seychelles and Egypt had both tasted goals and they wanted more but the sound defenses were not budging and the score remained the same through the heart of period. Seychelles needed multiple goals and they were more than attacking the Egyptian defense, but Egypt has made a name for themselves in this tournament with stout brick wall defense, and they kept the hosts from getting any closer. Egypt used great ball control, with technical and precise passing to run out the clock. When the final whistle sounded, the hard-charging Egyptians had earned the 5-2 win.
Goals: 0-1: Mohamed G., min. 10 (1); 0-2: Mohamed F., min. 9 (1); 1-2: Cadeau, min. 1 (1); 1-3: Mohamed G., min. 9 (2); 2-3: Mathiot, min. 3 (2); 2-4: Aly, min. 1 (2); 2-5: Aly, min. 1 (2).
Nigeria takes 1st in Group A after stellar OT win
The 7-6 overtime victory for the Ivory Coast over Nigeria was a bit of revenge for the Elephants as they have lost to Nigeria in previous editions of the CAF African Beach Soccer Championship, including in a final. This match was unlike any other, however, as the pace was extremely hurried and breakneck, with both sides controlling proceedings at one point or another. Cote d’Ivoire came out punching first, but Nigeria stormed back and took the lead, but the Ivory Coast took a big lead, by this matches standards, of two goals, and looked safe to ride out the victory, however, the Nigerians tied matters late and used every possible second of overtime, scoring on the last kick of the match, to earn the win.
Nigeria and the Ivory Coast had both already clinched their spots in the semi-finals, as the top two finishers in Group A, but neither wanted to be the runner-up and face the winner of Group B. For that reason, both squads came out running and it was the Elephants who scored first to take the early 1-0 lead. Not long after the first goal, the Nigerians responded with a goal of their own. Just past the midway point in the opening period Nigeria nailed home a shot, a nearly open net, to take their first lead of the day at 2-1. A last minute penalty kick for Cote d’Ivoire intensified the drama as it tied the score at 2 going into the first break. The breathless action continued in the middle frame and it was the Super Eagles who broke the deadlock on a perfectly kicked penalty shot, making the score 3-2 for Nigeria early in the second period. The momentum continued to swing like a pendulum, from one side to the other and the Ivory Coast took control again late in the frame, as they score three unanswered goals, which gave them the biggest lead of the match, merely two goals, but it was enough breathing room to keep them in the lead 5-3 going into the final frame.
Action was in no short supply in the entire match, especially in the final frame as the Sand Eagles inched closer and still early in the period, they tied the match at 5. The stalemate only lasted seconds as the Elephants scored again, the third of the day for Aka, to put the score at 6-5 for the Ivory Coast going into the final minutes. Things looked to be going the Ivorian Coasts’ way, but Nigeria did not know when to quick and with less than three minutes left, Taiwo for Nigeria scored to tie things at 6. Both teams tried to grit out a regular time win, but could not and the game headed to the extra frame tied at 6. The game was headed to penalties when Nigeria pulled a goal out of nothing, using a last second shot, as the buzzer was about to sound, to give the Nigerians a 7-6 overtime win.
Goals: 0-1: Tchetche, min. 10 (1); 1-1: Olawale, min. 8 (1); 2-1: Ibenegbu, min. 5 (1); 2-2: Daniel, min. 1 (1); 3-2: Abu, min. 8 (2); 3-3: Diomande, min. 6 (2); 3-4: Aka, min. 5 (2); 3-5: Aka, min. 5 (2); 4-5: Emeka, min. 10 (3); 5-5: Olawale, min. 6 (3); 5-6: Aka, min. 6 (3); 6-6: Taiwo, min. 2 (3); 7-6: Emeka, min. 0 (et).
Ghana upsets defending champions for 1st win
The 5-3 victory for Ghana over Senegal might look like a surprise to the casual fan, as the Senegalese side is the defending CAF African Beach Soccer Championship winner, and Ghana was a loser in their first two matches of this tournament. But in reality, Ghana had shown flashes of greatness in their other matches and deservedly triumphed in the group stage finale. The win gives Ghana their first victory, and puts them in a tie in the group with Senegal, both with three points. Due to tiebreakers, Ghana still will not be able to advance, but will still be playing in the consolation semi-finals, beginning on Saturday. They will be vying for for 5th place. The Senegal Selection earned second in Group B despite two losses and will play on Saturday against Nigeria, the first place team in Group A.
The crowd was building and excitement was insanely high, in part because it was the first match of Group B on the final day of group play, and each team could still technically advance, but also because the teams were pressuring the others’ defenses early on. Senegal was asking more questions early but Ghana was playing solid defense and still looking for their spots. The first period remained tied with neither selection scoring and went into the middle frame with the emotion only building. It did not take long for the scoring to open up in the second period, as the Black Stars had a quick goal from Torsu to take the 1-0 lead. Kamara of the Lions of the Teranga did not even need a minute to tie matters again with his own strike, putting the score at 1-1. Ghana was not going to fold under the pressure and score an extremely late period goal from Adjei and then an even later goal to brilliantly take a 3-1 lead into the final frame.
Pressure mounted for both sides as a potential place in the semi-finals was on the line and it was obvious that Senegal and Ghana were realizing that more and more. Ghana added to their lead with the second goal of the match for Adjei but the Lions of the Teranga had a reply, two in fact, to put the score at 4-3 for Ghana going into the final minutes of the match. Ghana knew they needed more goals to make sure they advanced to the knockout stages, and the second of the day from Adjei put the score at 5-3. Neither side found pay dirt again and when the last second ticked off the clock, Ghana had triumphed by the same score, 5-3.
Goals: 0-1: Torsu, min. 9 (2); 1-1: Kamara, min. 9 (2); 1-2: Adjei, min. 3 (2); 1-3: Husseini, min. 0 (2); 1-4: Adjei, min. 6 (3); 2-4: Fall, min. 5 (3); 3-4: Diouf, min. 3 (3); 3-5: Adjei, min. 3 (3).
Madagascar blazes to top of group and into semis
The 8-5 win for Madagascar over Morocco was very convincing and helped to significantly boost the victors’ confidence going forward in the tournament. The speed at the beginning of the match was insanely fast, with seven first period goals being scored and a late flurry in the second period added to that total, before Madagascar played safe in the final 12 minutes to secure the three points. The win puts Madagascar in 1st place in the group, after three straight victories, and gives them a date with Cote d’Ivoire on Saturday in the second semi-final match. The loss was a tough one to swallow for Morocco but they knew they had their chances, and they will aim to turn things around in the consolation semi-final on Saturday.
Special does not begin to describe the opening minutes of this all-important Group B match, as Madagascar scored twice in less than 20 seconds, while not two minutes later, Morocco answered with two strikes in a minute to put the score at 2-all with barely over three minutes gone in the first period. The bunches of goals continued to flow as the Barea scored two more in less than a minute to restore their two-goal lead, leaving the score at 4-2 with more than half of the period remaining. Flavien scored his second of the match for Madagascar and then held on for the 5-2 lead going into the first break. The second period was played at a breathless pace as well but the goals did not come as easily and going into the final minutes of the middle frame, the score still sat at 5-2. The first goal of the period came from the leaders, as Flavien scored his third goal to push the Madagascar lead to 6-2. The sides exchanged goals in the final 30 seconds and the period finished with the Barea up 7-3.
Madagascar knew they could play the numbers and hold onto a four goal lead and top their group. The Barea were a little more conservative but not so much that they did not mount attacks and see their chances pile up. The goals did not come for either side until midway through the period, when Toky scored again for Madagascar to put the score at 8-3. Morocco still clung to hopes of an offensive outburst and comeback and they scored a late consolation goal, from El Karkouri, to make the score 8-4. The action wound down with the sides still jostling and Morocco netted another late goal on a penalty kick to make the score 5-8, thanks to the second goal of the day from El Karkouri. When the clock struck 0, Madagascar held on for the 8-5 win.
Goals: 0-1: Giovanni, min. 11 (1); 0-2: Ymelda, min. 11 (1); 1-2: Nassim, min. 9 (1); 2-2: El Hadaoui, min. 9 (1); 2-3: Tianasoa, min. 7 (1); 2-4: Flavien, min. 7 (1); 2-5: Flavien, min. 4 (1); 2-6: Flavien, min. 2 (2); 3-6: Benmamma, min. 0 (2); 3-7: Toky, min. 0 (2); 3-8: Toky, min. 6 (3); 4-8: El Karkouri, min. 3 (3); 5-8; El Karkouri, min. 1 (3).
CAF AFRICAN BEACH SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP SEYCHELLES 2015
15:00 – Seychelles 2-5 Egypt (Group A)
16:15 – Nigeria 7-6 (aet) Cote d’Ivoire (Group A)
17:30 – Senegal 3-5 Ghana (Group B)
18:45 – Morocco 5-8 Madagascar (Group B)