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Senegal and Nigeria to compete for African title once more
Senegal and Nigeria who will fight for the African crown as both qualify for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup
The final of the last CAF Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations (Lagos 2016) will be replayed, as Nigeria meet Senegal once more on Friday.
Both teams have also qualified for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2019 in Paraguay for the second edition running.
Elsewhere on the sixth day of action in Sharm El Sheikh, Madagascar and Tanzania won in the play-offs to secure fifth and seventh place.
Senegal 7-2 Morocco (Semi-final)
The defending champions of the CAF Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations had enjoyed a perfect run in the build-up to this semi-final match, topping a difficult group on nine points.
But with the prize of a ticket to the FIFA World Cup at stake, as well as their guaranteed best ever finish in this competition, Morocco were going to give it everything they had in this tie.
After being stretchered off on day two of the tournament, Oumar Syllawas was relieved to have Diassy back in the line-up and the number nine broke the deadlock by muscling off a defender to blast into the Moroccan goal, late on in the first period.
Then, Senyi set himself up for a long-range volley which found its way into the bottom corner to make it two, and when Barry netted a third goal in just two minutes, Morooco, having kept pace with the champs for most of the period, suddenly had a mountain to climb.
In the second period, the north Africans increased the offensive, but Raoul stole possession in the midfield to turn and shoot. His low drive took a very fortunate bobble, bouncing over the outstretched goalkeeper to make it four to Senegal.
Barry took the tally to five a few minutes before the second whistle and dreams of playing in Paraguay were fast disappearing for Morocco as the mighty Senegalese inched closer and closer to their fifth successive World Cup qualification.
The gap widened as Diatta beat the keeper to a long throw and glanced a header into an open net for a sixth goal. But suddenly, Morocco burst into action, catching the sleeping Nigerians off guard twice in the space of a minute.
First, Ennakhli scored from a freekick and then Nassim, who had been in fantastic form throughout the tournament, lifted the ball over the defender to volley into the roof of the net, giving Senyi no chance. At least the number ten had one small consolation to enjoy on his birthday.
They had left it late to mount a comeback but the Moroccans were looking dangerous. However, the momentum dropped and Diassy punished Morocco once again, taking the score to 7-2 with only two minutes on the clock.
Senegal were happy to retain possession and see the game out calmly, but as soon as the final whistle went, they celebrated raucously. Their fifth edition in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup awaited them, and all Morocco could hope for now was third place finish (which would match their best ever) when they play hosts Egypt tomorrow in the play-off.
Goals: 1-0: Diassy, min. 4 (1); 2-0: Senyi, min. 3 (1); 3-0: Barry, min. 2 (1); 4-0: Raoul, min. 9 (2); 5-0: Barry, min. 3 (2); 6-0: Diatta, min. 9 (3); 6-1: Ennakhli, min. 8 (3); 6-2: Nassim, min. 6 (3); 7-2: Diassy, min. 2 (3);
Tanzania 6-5 Libya *AET (Seventh-place Play-offs)
Before this match even started, one of these sides was guaranteed their best ever finish in the competition, in today’s battle for seventh place. Libya had only ever finished eighth (in the 2011 and 2016 editions) and Tanzania were debutants in the Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations.
Libya got off to a strong start, as Waled scored a diving header from a corner, halfway through the first period and, despite promising attacking play from both sides, this was how the score was as the first whistle blew.
Only trailing by a single goal, Tanzania were far from out of this tie and as the second period got underway they struck back as Jaruph leapt to meet a low cross at the far post, turning the ball in to equalize.
However, once again they were pinned back as Islam hit a rocket from a long way out to retake the lead for Libya. The advantage was extended when Waled bagged a second with a turning shot.
Tumbo pulled one back after beating the goalkeeper in a foot-race to lift the ball into the net, but once more, Libya had an answer when Aburaghiga stretched to volley home a fourth for the north African side.
As the third period began, the match was tight, and I would only get tighter… Jaruph slotted in a third for Tanzania, and then Adel caught the Libyan defense in possession to steal an equaliser, taking the score to 4-4.
With just three minutes of the match remaining, it was a corner that undid Tanzania once more, as Aburaghiga dived to meet a cross in what was almost a mirror image of the goal Waled had scored in the first period.
Tanzania paid for not learning their lesson, but incredibly managed to bag yet another equaliser when Rolland sent a glancing header under Hesham in the Libyan net, and this time there were just 30 seconds on the clock. The match went to extra time and Tanzania picked the perfect moment to take the lead for the first time in the match as Jaruph finished off a fine piece of teamwork with a goal.
Libya were well and truly on the ropes at this point and all Tanzania had to do was hold them off for the two remaining minutes of extra time…one more minute…and then the whistle!
Tanzanian’s first ever win saw Libya assume eighth position once again, while the men in blue finished their first ever Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations in a respectable seventh place.
Goals: 0-1: Waled, min. 6 (1); 1-1: Jaruph, min. 10 (2); 1-2: Islam, min. 9 (2); 1-3: Waled, min. 6 (2); 2-3: Tumbo, min. 2 (2); 2-4: Aburaghiga, min. 1 (2); 3-4: Jaruph, min. 8 (3); 4-4: Adel, min. 6 (3); 4-5: Aburaghiga, min. 3 (3); 5-5: Rolland, min. 0 (3); 6-5: Jaruph, min. 2 (ET);
Madagascar 9-8 Côte d’Ivoire *AET (Fifth-place Play-offs)
Not only will the final and the third-place play-off be the same as the previous edition of the CAF Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations in Nigeria, but the fifth-place play-off too was between Madagascar v Côte d’Ivoire the last time around.
Madagascar left victorious last time, and Hollas got the game underway with a beautifully struck (or stroked) overhead to put them ahead half way through the first period. Keen to avoid a repetition of the 2016 edition in Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire didn’t take long to level things up when Kablan equalised, and then scored again by chasing down a loose back-pass.
Amongst the flurry of goals in the last two minutes, Regis managed to get himself into the shared number one spot in the race for the leading scorer, with his seventh of the tournament and leveling things up just before the first break.
The teams were level going into the second period, but not for long and Ymelda struck to retake the lead for the dogged Madagascans. This lead was then extended by Marcel whose smooth hit flew past Cocou to make it 4-2. Tianasoa then made it five from the penalty spot and as the game approached passed the half-way point, the Ivorians were in danger of repeating their finishing position of 2016.
Kablan got a hat-trick by converting a penalty and cutting the difference to just two once more, and the second whistle blew with the score at 5-3. He overtook Regis in the race to be the top scorer, scoring a fourth just after the restart and taking Côte d’Ivoire to just a goal behind.
Then Regis joined his Ivorian rival by scoring his eighth of the tournament too, but Kablan just could not stop finding the net, hitting number five a minute later, and with the score at 6-5 the Madagascan advantage didn’t look quite as comfortable as it had done.
In the dying minutes of the period, after a stage of Ivorian pressure, Aka curled a sensational first-touch finish into the top corner to even things up in what was surely one of the goals of the tournament.
Juliot burst down the left flank to grab the lead again for the men in red, and he must have thought he’d won it for Madagascar, but Aka had other ideas, turning in a corner with just seconds on the clock and the teams level pegging at 7-7.
The goals didn’t stop as the match progressed into extra time as Aka scored to put Côte d’Ivoire in front, then Regis made it eight with an overhead which was almost identical to the one he had scored earlier to level up.
Then he scored yet again, his fourth of the match, to take make it 9-8 to Madagascar, running down the right wing and finishing just before the final whistle, to deny Côte d’Ivoire the chance of penalties.
Just as they did in 2016, Madagascar take up fifth place, while the stubborn Ivorians finish in sixth.
Goals: 1-0: Hollas, min. 6 (1); 1-1: Kablan, min. 1 (1); 1-2: Kablan, min. 1 (1); 2-2: Regis, min. 0 (1); 3-2: Ymelda, min. 10 (2); 4-2: Marcel, min. 7 (2); 5-2: Tianasoa, min. 5 (2); 5-3: Kablan, min. 5 (2); 5-4: Kablan, min. 11 (3); 6-4: Regis, min. 9 (3); 6-5: Kablan, min. 8 (3); 6-6: Aka, min. 4 (3); 7-6: Juliot, min. 2 (3); 7-7: Aka, min. 0 (3); 7-8: Aka, min. 1 (ET); 8-8: Regis, min. 1 (ET); 9-8: Regis, min. 0 (ET);
Stay up to date with the results, fixtures and standing of the CAF Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations here.