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30 Aug 2014
Tight scores decide groups in Baku
Spain and Switzerland win and are set to square off in final on Sunday, while Russia and Greece will battle for 3rd, with Azerbaijan and Hungary dueling for 5th
Spain scores late and gets revenge on Russia to capture group
The 4-3 victory for Spain was very thorough, as they controlled the tempo after taking the early lead, however Russia stayed within striking distance and were constantly in proceedings. Late drama made the match, which was already played at a superb pace, even more exciting. The three points and second win of the weekend for the Spaniards, puts them at the top of Group B and will face Switzerland, winner of Group A. Russia finishes 2nd in the group and will face Greece. Russia won the Euro Beach Soccer Cup in 2012 but will not be defending their title on Sunday, instead they will play for 3rd place.
Spain has been frustrated by Russia before, last year and this year, but the Spaniards started this match by scoring first to leave the Russians reeling at 1-0. Antonio, the finisher of the first goal, added to his teams’ lead just a few minutes later on a picturesque goal, where Spain used an entirely aerial passing attack that culminated in a goal to make the score 2-0. Like their first match, Russia saw themselves in a two-goal deficit when they decided to fight back, using a Makarov goal to pull within 2-1 going into the final minutes of the opening period. The defenses tightened up and no other goals were scored in the frame and the first break arrived with a score of 2-1, for Spain. The Furia Roja needed just over half the period to restore their two goal lead, did so on a direct kick from Chiky just outside of the Russian penalty area. That goal proved to be the only one of the period and Spain went into the final period up 3-1.
Russia was bent on getting back into the match and went on a full offensive attack in the opening minutes of the final frame, however Spain kept a sturdy defense and with help from the worlds’ best keeper, Dona kept the Russians from scoring, but La Roja could not find the net themselves. The crossbar and goalposts had much to say about the lack of goals in the final period but late in the frame Russia hit the back of the net with a great defensive move, stealing the ball from Llorenç, and then finishing the play with a goal to bring Russia within 3-2. Krash scored his second goal of the match on a very clever deceptive display of wit, where the Russian took a corner kick from the opposite side that Spain was expecting and with just over two minutes left, the Russians tied the score at 3. Spain’s star, Llorenç, finally appearead, and scored his first goal of the match on a last second direct kick that sealed the victory for the Spanish and the match ended with a score of 4-3 for Spain, what will have Alonso's lads to fight Switzerland .
Goals: 0-1: Antonio, min. 9 (1); 0-2: Antonio, min. 6 (1); 1-2: Makarov, min. 5 (1); 1-3: Chiky, min. 5 (2); 2-3: Krash, min. 4 (3); 3-3: Krash, min. 2 (3); 3-4: Llorenç, min. 0 (3).
Switzerland avoids upset and wins group with a brilliant Ott
The 9-8 win for Switzerland was even more amazing than the final score indicates. Azerbaijan was faced with an early deficit but they also refused to be daunted. The hosts were forced to try and contain a spectacular individual effort from Ott who scored six goals, but they also managed to stay close from whistle to whistle. Just when things looked out of reach for the hosts, they scored to make things even more interesting but the Swiss managed to pull away late. The win gives Switzerland three points and makes them the Group A winner, which will pit them against Spain in the final on Sunday. Azerbaijan finishes the tournament without a win, despite two of the best soccer matches in recent memory, losing to Greece in overtime in their opener. Azerbaijan finishes 3rd in the group and will face Hungary on Sunday in the 5th place match.
The final was on the line and Switzerland started fast, despite not scoring any early goals, to set the tone and prove they wanted to and deserved to be in the final. The Azeri were not intimidated though and as the match progressed they saw even more opportunities on goal but the two sides were not able to score until Ott raced through the Azerbaijani defense to put the Nati up 1-0. The lead was short lived as the hosts used a terrific finish from an extremely acute angle to square things at 1, just seconds later. If Azerbaijan was not upset minded before, all of those thoughts were dispelled as they netted their second goal of the match in the final minutes of the frame to take their first lead at 2-1. Azerbaijan continued to assert themselves but the Swiss scored in the opening minute of the middle frame, to tie the score at 2. Asif made the most of a beautiful cross for Azerbaijan to score his and his teams’ third goal to take the lead again, merely seconds after the last goal from Switzerland. The good feelings fleeted quickly as Switzerland scored three goals, back-to-back-to-back, to give themselves a two goal cushion. Ott scored his third of the match, shortly after his side took the two goal lead, and put his team up 6-3 going into the final minutes of the period. The intensely active second period ended with the Swiss up by a score of 6-4, after a late Azerbaijan goal made proceedings even more thrilling.
Terrific passing and teamwork led to the early final period goal that brought the hosts to within one goal at 6-5, for Switzerland. The underdogs refused to lie down and it was not as if the heavy favorite Swiss were giving up, but the match increased in speed as both teams were bent on winning. Ott put the match just out of reach, late in the period, scoring is fifth goal of the match, a remarkable feat, even for the prolific goal scorer himself. Sabir scored his second goal of the match on a great direct kick that the Swiss keeper even got a strong hand on, to put the score at 8-6 for the Swiss. Azerbaijan did not know when to call it quits and scored again, with under two minutes left, to build on their belief in the improbable comeback, as the score was 8-7 going into the final minute. Noel had his own indomitable spirit that could not be contained as he scored with just over a minute left, from the penalty area, to go up 9-7. Azerbaijan found the net once again in the final minute, to pull within one goal, but it was not enough as the match ended with Switzerland up 9-8.
Goals: 0-1: Ott, min. 7 (1); 1-1: Asif, min. 7 (1); 2-1: Asif, min. 4 (1); 2-2: Spacca, min. 11 (2); 3-2: Asif, min. 10 (2); 3-3: Stankovic, min. 10 (2); 3-4: Mo, min. 7 (2); 3-5: Ott, min. 5 (2); 3-6: Ott, min. 4 (2); 4-6: Zeynal, min. 2 (2); 5-6: Sabir, min. 9 (3); 5-7: Ott, min. 6 (3); 5-8: Ott, min. 3 (3); 6-8: Sabir, min. 2 (3); 7-8: Amid, min. 1 (3); 7-9: Ott, min. 1 (3); 8-9: Renat, min. 0 (3).
EURO BEACH SOCCER CUP BAKU 2014
17:30 - Russia 3-4 Spain (Group 2)
18:45 - Azerbaijan 8-9 Switzerland (Group 1)
Matches for tomorrow:
16:15 - Azerbaijan vs Hungary (5th Place Match)
17:30 - Greece vs Russia (3rd Place Match)
18:45 - Switzerland vs Spain (Final)