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25 Jun 2017
Spain down Russia to earn Belgrade silverware
The Spanish were crowned Division A winners while Estonia triumphed in Division B.
Spain down Russia to earn Belgrade silverware
Spain were crowned Euro Beach Soccer League Belgrade champions on Sunday thanks to a 3-1 win against Russia.
France’s extra-time win against Germany meant the door was open for both Spain and Russia, provided they won within three periods.
But it was Spain, who have grown into the competition over the three days after a slow start, did enough to finish top of the pile thanks to goals from Llorenc Gomez, Antonio Mayor and Salvador Ardil.
Amid a frantic start to proceedings, Russia’s Yury Krashenninikov hit the bar two seconds in before Llorenc opened the scoring when he latched on to Dona’s throw and finished.
Within a minute of the restart, that lead was doubled when Antonio beat Maksim Chuzhkov to put Spain in control going into the final frame.
With their title hopes fading, Russia pressed in the dying stages as Krash forced Dona into a smart stop down to his right.
But, against the run of play, Spain extended their lead as Chiky seized on a loose ball to tap into an open net.
Krash eventually pulled one back for Russia four minutes from time when his bobbled low drive beat Dona, but, after Dmitrii Shisin sent a shot wide, their fightback proved insufficient as Mikhail Likhachev’s men came up short.
For Spain it represents an ideal start to the European season, ahead of stage two in Nazare, Portugal.a
Title hopefuls France edge Germany in extra time
France did bolster their Euro Beach Soccer League title hopes with a 5-4 win against Germany after extra time on Sunday only to be denied by Spain's win against Russia.
In what was a finely poised Division A table, the French were ultimately left disappointed thanks to Spain's win against Russia but nonetheless clinched a tight contest against Germany thanks to captain Yannick Fischer’s late strike deep into extra time.
It took almost 12 minutes for the first goal of the game as the impressive Stephane Belhomme made the most of a loose clearance to send a looping header over Toni Muller and into the back of the net.
Germany levelled after the interval as captain Sascha Weirauch sent a long-range set-piece into the top corner in what proved a fascinating contest before Christoph Thurk turned the score on its head with a smart finish low to Anthony Cianni’s right.
As the goals flowed, Stephane Francois levelled for France from close range before Peer Petry restored Germany’s lead going into the third period.
Anthony Barbotti prodded in a close-range equaliser midway through the third frame as things remained finely poised, Christian Biermann then sending the advantage back in Germany’s direction with a drilled strike into the bottom corner.
Biermann spurned the chance to settle the contest when he missed a penalty but Jeremy Basquaise did convert his spot kick to take the game to a fourth period and rule out a three-point haul for both sides - something that could ultimately prove decisive.
Fischer then provided the perfect captain’s contribution as he angled a strike into the roof of the net to ensure France two points.
Estonia sign off in Belgrade with title-winning victory
Estonia were crowned Euro Beach Soccer League Division B champions in Belgrade as they beat the hosts Serbia 4-3 in the final match of the weekend.
In what was a winner-takes-all clash, Serbia came from behind to lead only to be reeled in once more as Ervin Stuf, Indrek Palm and Ragnar Rump ensured victory for Estonia.
Ervin Stuf opened the scoring for the visitors nine minutes in with a precise drive that found the bottom corner but, after the restart, Nikola Valentic did likewise for the hosts to level matters.
Valentic’s strike buoyed the home crowd as did a wonderful save from in-form goalkeeper Marko Milivojevic as he tipped a long-distance effort over the crossbar.
Despite seeing a low free-kick from Nikola Cubrilovic squirm through the legs of Taavi Tamm, Serbia were denied a lead going into the final frame thanks to Palm’s set-piece.
And the Estonian defender was on hand again to nudge his side in front with an instinctive finish at the near post to deflate the mood somewhat in Belgrade.
Cubrilovic saw a penalty saved by Tamm as Serbia missed the chance to draw level, with the home nation ultimately paying the price when Raku’s deflected effort found its way into the net.
Mladen Jovancic did give the home fans something to cheer when he rifled in a strike from distance 21 seconds from time but the title would go to Estonia.
Norway dash Czech title hopes
Norway earlier ended Czech Republic’s Euro Beach Soccer League title hopes with a 5-4 win in extra time on Sunday.
The Czechs - beaten by hosts Serbia a day earlier - battled back from 3-1 down to 3-3 and also grabbed a late equaliser through Michal Holy to take the score to 4-4 and the game to extra time.
But they were undone by a late piece of quality from Pak Ling Li as the Norway midfielder settled the contest in acrobatic fashion. Tournament top scorer Jorn Andre Jacobsen opened the scoring with a powerful drive into the bottom left corner only for Martin Bocek to hammer in a free-kick and level late in the frame.
Parity was shortlived as Jiri Baran put through his own net before Daniel Moen Hansen extended Norway’s advantage before the interval.
A stunning strike from Michal Folejtar that dipped into the top left-hand corner kept the Czechs in touching distance before Jakub Mizar levelled amid a mix-up in the Norwegian defence.
Jalland then struck for Norway with a fine angled finish into the top corner and Tom-Rune Sorenson almost added another swiftly after only to see his effort adjudged not to have crossed the line.
Holy then took advantage of that let-off when he headed in at the far post to once again put Czech Republic back on level terms and set up extra time.
Amid a frantic pace, the only real moment of quality in added time saw Li’s overhead kick ensure the Scandinavians a winning finale to the competition.
14:15 - Czech Republic 4-5 Norway (AET)
15:30 - Germany 4-5 France (AET)
16:45 - Russia 1-3 Spain
18:00 - Serbia 3-4 Estonia
1st: Spain, 2nd: France, 3rd: Russia, 4th: Germany
1st: Estonia, 2nd: Serbia, 3rd: Norway, 4th: Czech Republic
Best Goalkeeper: Lorenzo Dupin (FRA)
Top Scorers: Llorenc Gomez (ESP) and Anthony Barbotti (FRA)
MVP: Llorenc Gomez (ESP)