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04 Sep 2015
Semis are set after final day in nail-biting Group Stage
Egypt and Italy get tough wins to go through but heartbreak for France as overtime loss eliminated them from a medal
Italy pulls away late to head into semis undefeated
The 5-1 win for Italy over Lebanin did not start how either side would have liked but they Italians did come out with the first goal. Italy knew how tough and good a team Lebanon was so they wanted to start quicker and with more goals, while the Lebanese wanted to get on the board first to make the Italians and their fans nervous. The outcome was a slow start for Italy but a complete one as they limited almost all of Lebanon’s attacks. The win keeps Italy unbeaten in the group stage and they will be competing for a medal on Sunday as they qualified for the semi-finals. Lebanon had won their previous two matches but will need to turn things around going into their final two matches on Saturday and Sunday.
Not wanting to disappoint their fans across the globe but more importantly the spectators who had filled the stands in Pescara, Italy started strong with an early goal from Corosiniti that was blasted past the Lebanese keeper. The crowd roared while the strike awoke the Cedars of Lebanon who buckled down on defense and stopped giving up open looks to the Italian offense. Both teams nearly scored many more goals in the first 12 minutes but the defenses were in top-form, along with the goal posts of course and the opening frame ended with Italy up by a score of 1-0. Lebanon continued their strong defensive play but as did the Italians, with the score remaining at 1-0 going into the final minutes of the frame. The game looked to be headed into the final frame with the same score but a shot from almost the furthest point on the pitch from Ramacciotti somehow found the back of the net put the score at 2-0 for the Azzurri going into the last break.
The two goal lead did not seem safe and the Italians made sure to correct that, which came in the form of two more quick goals, both in the first two minutes of the period. With the score at 4-0, the Azzurri seemed in full control and the first goal of the night from Gori pushed the early final period lead to 5-0. It was no surprise that Gori scored, especially with the scoring rampage he has been on all tournament, but what was a surprise was how late in the match it came, however he and Italy were not complaining. The Cedars tried very hard to get on the board and they did on a direct kick from M. Merhi, which made the score 5-1 for Italy, and that is how the final score would stand.
Goals: 1-0: Corosiniti, min. 8 (1); 2-0: Ramacciotti, min. 1 (2); 3-0: Marinai, min. 11 (3); 4-0: A. Grada (o.g.), min. 10 (3); 5-0: Gori, min. 8 (3); 5-1: M. Merhi, min. 1 (3).
Egypt wins group and to play in semis
The 4-2 win for Egypt over Morocco solidified the Egyptians place among the African Nations of beach soccer, as well Europe, Asia, and the Mediterranean, with teams from each region competing in this Olympic event. Egypt did not bang on the door very often early but when they did ask questions they were answered and as the match went on, they were able to do more and more, however the most impressive thing was how they were able to slow down the Moroccan offense. The victory keeps Egypt undegeated, leaves them at the top of their group with nine points and secures their spot in the semi-finals on Saturday, and the potential of a medal on Sunday still alive. Morocco finishes second in the group but their first loss of the week will serve as a learning match going into their final two matches on Saturday and Sunday.
Morocco and Egypt both came into the match with six points in two victories and only a victory would secure their advancement into the semi-finals. The determination was evident but the nerves were also prevalent as there were many missed shots and looks of frustration. The tension eased when the first goal went in. The goal happened to be from the Egyptians and the slight 1-0 lead turned into a 2-0 lead after Moustafa scored late in the frame and the score sat at 2-0 for the Pharaohs going into the first break. The Lions of the Atlas and the Egyptians nearly always play at a break neck speed and the second period was no different, but the goals did not come early and Egypt was perched on the 2-0 lead going into the heart of the match. Two more late goals and some more great saves sprinkled into the end of the period made for a 4-0 Egyptian lead going into the final break.
The Moroccans were not daunted by the deficit as they can score and in bunches but going into the last frame they knew they needed to score quick and often to get back into proceedings. They were awarded that chance on a penalty kick but the shot went missing and Egyptians were lucky to escape the play unscathed. The score remained at 4-0 going into the middle of the frame and things were looking more and more like an Egyptian victory. Morocco was able to get on the board early in the last frame, putting the score a little more within reach at 4-1. Nassim was able to pull his team one shot close but the buzzer sounded with Egypt still up 4-2.
Goals: 0-1: Mohamed, min. 5 (1); 0-2: Moustafa, min. 2 (1); 0-3: Issa, min. 6 (2); 0-4: Moustafa, min. 2 (2); 1-4: Nassim, min. 8 (3); 2-4: Nassim, min. 3 (3).
Greece spoils French undefeated run
The 3-2 (aet) win for Greece over France was great for on-looking fans and teams alike, as it was a great display of defense, clutch offense, and patience on both sides of the ball. Greece played from in front for most of the match and forced the French to expend that much more energy to come back after every goal. Greece scored the first and lat goals and those were the most important because they ultimately gave the Pirate Ship their first win. France was unable to finish first in the group, that honour goes to Libya, but the French will still be fighting on Saturday and Sunday. Greece earned their first points, however it was only two due to the overtime win, but they will use this momentum in their Saturday and Sunday matches as well.
France had a very tough group and despite two wins in two matches, they knew that they needed a strong performance and a regular time victory to guarantee their place in the semi-finals. Greece lost their opening two matches, despite being a favourite to medal in this event, so they wanted to bring their best possible game into the last match. The high energy Greek defense did their job in the first period, shutting out France, while their offense also helped the defense out by scoring in the final seconds of the period on a direct kick from distance, which left the score at 1-0 for the Pirate Ship going into the first break. The tide quickly shifted as Les Bleus scored in the first minute of the second 12 minutes and that strike from Soares leveled the score at 1. The defense then took over again for long stretches of time and the score did not budge going into the final frame tied at 1-all.
The Greeks would have liked to win all of their matches and could have, had it not been for some lapses in judgment and moments of poor play, but they looked like the top European side that they are in the opening periods and that confidence boiled over into the final frame. The Greeks can score when they need to and still deadlocked at 1-1, they netted their second goal, on a kick from Triantafyllidis, putting the score at 2-1 for Greece. France was undefeated coming into this match and they wanted to stay that way going forward, so it was no surprise when they scored the equalizer, putting the score at 2-2 going into the final minutes of the match. The teams could not settle their differences in the first three periods and the match headed into an extra frame tied at 2. Greece only needed two second into the overtime to score the first goal and that proved to be enough for the 3-2 win, thanks to Triantafyllidis’ second goal of the match.
Goals: 0-1: Paris, min. 0 (1); 1-1: Soares, min. 11 (2); 1-2: Triantafyllidis, min. 10 (3); 2-2: Beaugrard, min. 6 (3); 2-3: Triantafyllidis, min. 2 (et).
Tunisia surprises Algeria with all-around superb performance
The 7-1 win for Tunisia over Algeria was not a shock for the winners but considering the beginning of the event for the Tunisians but it did take the Algerians by storm. The Eagles of Carthage did not start particularly fast but they did slowly take over and scored timely goals while still limiting Algeria to only one goal on a low number of quality shots. The win gives Tunisia their first win of the event and they will hope to build on that going into their matches still to come on Saturday and Sunday. Algeria was unable to win a match in the group stage but they will look to end on a high-note in their final two matches on Saturday and Sunday.
Algeria and Tunisia both would have given anything for a win and the die-hard and physical nature of the play in the first few minutes of the match showed just that. It was Tunisia who showed a little more spark, scoring the first goal of the match, albeit in the last minute of the first period. The 1-0 lead stood for much of the second period, until Marouane scored his first, putting the Tunisians up 2-0 going into th final minutes of the middle frame. The Algerians were constantly on their heels but they did well to find certain spots and openings, however they could not seem to find the allusive first goal and the match went into the final minutes of the second period.
Tunisia knows how hard wins can be to come by in a top-notch competition so they did not let-up in the final period and they scored four more goals, but their one lapse in defense led directly to the only Algerian goal. The National Selections played very physically in the last few minutes and that let to many chances for both teams but in the end, the match ended with Tunisia up by a score of 7-1.
Goals: 0-1: Said, min. 0 (1); 0-2: Bilel, min. 10 (2); 0-3: Marouane, min. 8 (2); 0-4: Bilel, min. 9 (3); 0-5: Ali, min. 8 (3); 0-6: Taieb, min. 1 (3); 0-7: Bilel, min. 0 (3); 1-7: Reda, min. 0 (3).
Turkey gets 1st win in last group match
The 14-0 win for Turkey over Malta was very emphatic and well deserved as they charged ahead and forgot about their previous close calls and failings in their first two matches. Malta was looking for their first win but the former British colony could not get past the very tough teams they were tasked with facing. Malta finishes the group stage without a win but they will be playing in the Consolation Semi-finals for 9th-12th Place on Saturday before they play in their final event match on Sunday. Turkey earned their first win in their last match and will still have two more matches left to prove their worth on Saturday and Sunday.
Turkey may have begun their tournament without a win but they only had a -2 goal differential and that showed just how close their games were. Malta were not able to win their first two matches but they were determined and ready to change that against the Turkish side. The Crescent Stars did not start quickly but when they started rolling, it was evident that they were well on their way to a great offensive output. Malta was pressing but the aggression led to gaps in their defense and the mistakes created many opportunities, which the Turkish side made sure to take advantage of and the middle frame ended with a five goal advantage, all while pitching the shut-out.
The Knights of Malta were very diligent in their offensive efforts but they were still looking at a shutout as the match progressed into the heart of the period. Turkey continued to add to their lead and they did not stop in their march to a big win. Malta began to show signs of tiring, with Turkey looking to score and they did just that, getting four third period goals from Baris, which pushed the lead to double digits, at 10-0. When the final buzzer sounded, it was Turkey who had won by a score of 14-0.
Goals: 1-0: Baris, min. 8 (1); 2-0: Akbal, min. 6 (1); 3-0: Baris, min. 3 (1); 4-0: Recep, min. 3 (1); 5-0: Akbal, min. 1 (1); 6-0: Erkan, min. 4 (2); 7-0: Akbal, min. 3 (2); 8-0: Mutlu, min. 2 (2); 9-0: Baris, min. 9 (3); 10-0: Adil, min. 7 (3); 11-0: Baris, min. 7 (3); 12-0: Baris, min. 5 (3); 13-0: Seyit, min. 2 (3); 14-0: Baris, min. 4 (2).
Libya marches on to 2nd victory
The 14-3 win for Libya over Albania was a great rebound after their tight loss on penalty kicks to France on Thursday. The Libyans began quickly and were never really scared despite a late push from the Albanians in the final minutes of the final period. The game was fast and it had plenty of goals to excite the fans. Albania seized a little momentum with their charge but Libya finished with another push of their own. The win gives Libya six points out of a possible nine and they will be playing on Saturday and Sunday, still with hopes of a medal. Albania finished the group stage with one win but they will also be playing on Saturday and Sunday.
Libya won their first match, heartbreakingly lost their second in penalties and all that was left for them to do was tie. But in beach soccer there are no ties. With that in mind, the Libyans came out with a strong drive to get their second win and not loss. The energy was high and Targ helped his team immensely with four first period goals, to go along with one from Asam, which set the score at 5-0 for the Mediterranean Knights going into the first break. The Albanians had a big game from their top goal scorer Blendi in their day 2 win but the Libyans made sure to always mark him and close down their attacks and the score was pushed to 7-0 before the midway point in the frame. The Red and Blacks began moving their offense more fluidly and saw their chances add up, however without a goal until just under half of the match had gone by, putting the score at 7-1. The second period came to an end with just one more Libyan goal and the score sat at 8-1 going into the last 12 minutes.
Albania was not seeing the ball bounce their way very often in the first two periods but they were able to rattle in the first goal of the final frame, and in the first minute,putting the score at 8-2 for Libya. The slow and steady comeback was officially on when Marvin netted his third of the match to bring the Albanians back to within five goals at 8-3, however the five goal difference quickly returned to six goals when Adel scored his teams’ ninth, leaving the score at 9-3. Libya wanted and needed more goals to make sure they could advance to the semis an d they found more goals, finishing the match up by a score of 14-3.
Goals: 1-0: Targ, min. 10 (1); 2-0: Targ, min. 7 (1); 3-0: Targ, min. 4 (1); 4-0: Targ, min. 4 (1); 5-0: Asam, min. 1 (1); 6-0: Targ, min. 11 (2); 7-0: Adel, min. 9 (2); 7-1: Marvin, min. 7 (2); 8-1: Sand, min. 6 (2); 8-2: Marvin, min. 11 (3); 8-3: Marvin, min. 10 (3); 9-3: Adel, min. 9 (3); 10-3: Sand, min. 6 (3); 11-3: Targ, min. 6 (3): 12-3: Adel, min. 5 (3); 13-3: Targ, min. 4 (3); 14-3: Adel, min. 0 (3).
MEDITERRANEAN BEACH GAMES PESCARA 2015
15.00 – Libya 14-3 Albania (Group C)
16.15 – Turkey 13-0 Malta (Group B)
17.30 – Algeria 1-7 Tunisia (Group A)
18.45 – France 2-3 (aet) Greece (Group C)
20.00 – Morocco 2-4 Egypt (Group B)
21.15 – Italy 5-1 Lebanon (Group A)
14.30 – Albania vs Malta (Consolation Playoff for 9th Place)
15.45 – Greece vs Algeria (Consolation Playoff for )th Place)
17.15 – Egypt vs Libya (Semi-final)
18.30 – Italy vs Morocco (Semi-final)
19.45 – Lebanon vs Tunisia (Consolation Semi-final)
21.15 – France vs Turkey (Consolation Semi-final)