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07 Nov 2019
UAE claim last spot in the semi-finals!
An historic win for the Emirati sees them make the final four for the first time in six years
The semi-finals of the Intercontinental Cup in Dubai have been decided, as UAE eventually beat Japan from the penalty spot to join Spain, Russia and Iran.
The locals were gifted a stroke of luck to force extra time and then penalties, where they proved more clinical than the Samurai, while Italy saw off Spain in a 15-goal Mediterranean battle to end the group stages with a win.
Iran finally managed to shake off Russia to top Group B, and Mexico end the group stages winless after missing out to Egypt.
UAE 1(2)-(1)1 Japan (Group B)
It was the second time that these two sides had faced off this year, the last time being in the final of the AFC Championship where both teams qualified for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. That too was a low-scoring match, which resulted in Japan lifting the trophy after penalties.
The stakes were high in the match here in Dubai too, so high in fact that neither team seemed willing to commit too many players in attack and controlling possession was the game plan for both.
Few shots flew and when they did they were under-par. Set-pieces in dangerous possessions were also wasted and the time ticked by with still no goal came through the first period, nor the second.
At the start of the third, however, Oba was impeded in attempting a bicycle kick and freekick just outside the box was awarded, which the number seven calmly converted, his third goal of the tournament.
They thought it was all over until disaster struck for Japan, when Matsuda looped the ball over his own keeper to find the Japanese net with just 12 seconds on the clock!
Extra time saw no more goals, and the teams lined up for the inevitable penalty shootout, where the UAE netted two of their spotkicks to just one from Japan.
The stadium erupted at the scoring of the winning penalty, and in making the semi-finals, the Emirati guarantee their best finish in the competition since the 2013 edition.
Goals: 0-1: Oba, min. 10 (3); 1-1: Matsuda, min. 0 (3);
PSO: 0-1: Ozu, scored; 0-1: Abbas, missed; 0-1: Okuyama, saved; 1-1: Kamal, scored; 1-1: Oba, saved; 2-1: Waleed B., scored;
Russia 3(4)-(5)3 Iran (Group B)
In a replay of last year’s final, Russia and Iran met in the final game of matchday three to settle who would finish the group in pole position.
Chuzhkov, has been nominated among the top three goalkeepers in the world, drew first blood with a sublime strike from his own penalty box.
The Russians went into the second period with a lead and Raskin powered in his third of the competition, but moments later, the tournament’s current leading scorer Akbari scored his sixth, nudging a Hosseini longshot away from the keeper’s reach.
Mirshekari managed to draw the defending champions level just before the whistle went for the second period. Midway through the final third, a Shirmohammadi overhead bounced off Kryshanov to put Iran in front but a Nikonorov freekick forced extra time.
Penalties were required to decide the game for the second time today and after nine perfectly hit strikes, it was the tenth that let Russia down as Zhakrikov saw his shot saved. Both will continue into the semi-finals but Iran top the group.
Goals: 1-0: Chuzhkov, min. 10 (1); 2-0: Raskin, min. 4 (2); 2-1: Akbari, min. 2 (2); 2-2: Mirshekari, min. 0 (2); 2-3: Kryshanov V. (OG), min. 6 (3); 3-3: Nikonorov, min. 6 (3);
PSO: 0-1: M. Shir, scored; 1-1: Fedorov, scored; 1-2: Mirshekari, scored; 2-2: Novikov, scored; 2-3: Kiani, scored; 3-3: Nikonorov, scored; 3-4: Mokhtari, scored; 4-4: Kryshanov V., scored; 4-5: Masoumi, scored; scored; 4-5: Zhakrikov, saved;
Italy 8-7 Spain (Group A)
The stakes in this classic Mediterranean rivalry may have been unusually low, considering Spain were already qualified for the next round and Italy were already out of the Intercontinental Cup, but when these sides meet it is never dull…
Edu Suarez stretched to deflect a wide shot and open the scoring, but it was soon cancelled out by a calm Gori penalty. The nominee for the best player of the year then scored another just minutes later, this time a cute bicycle kick.
Cintas equalised before the break but Frainetti floated into the box to volley Del Duca’s men ahead once more. As the second period progressed, an avalanche of goals saw the score shoot to an incredible 6-7 going into the final period!
In the chaos of goals, Edu and Adri Frutos bagged a brace each and Cintas polished off a hat-trick, while Gori did the same for the Italians, while Frainetti, keeper Carpita and Josep Jr got on the scoresheet too.
Spain had the thinnest of leads going into the final third, but Frainetti’s second of the match kept it close and then a blistering rocket from Ramacciotti put the Azzurri ahead for the last time, and Italy take three points on the final day of group games.
Goals: 0-1: Eduard, min. 7 (1); 1-1: Gori, min. 6 (1); 2-1: Gori, min. 4 (1); 2-2: Cintas, min. 3 (1); 3-2: Frainetti, min. 11 (2); 3-3: Eduard, min. 9 (2); 4-3: Carpita, min. 9 (2); 5-3: Josep Jr, min. 7 (2); 5-4: Adri Frutos, min. 7 (2); 6-4: Gori, min. 7 (2); 6-5: Eduard, min. 4 (2); 6-6: Cintas, min. 3 (2); 6-7: Cintas, min. 1 (2); 7-7: Frainetti, min. 9 (3); 8-7: Ramacciotti, min. 3 (3);
Mexico 1-4 Egypt (Group A)
With hopes of making the Intercontinental Cup semi-finals freshly dashed for these two sides, the battle for third in Group A commenced on the Dubai sand.
Despite the fast pace of the game, neither side managed to break the deadlock in the first period, and most of the shots flew disappointingly off target.
Hassane Mohamed eventually scored, but unluckily got the last touch on the ball as it went into his own net to give Mexico the lead. Teammate Elshahat was on hand to restore the balance with a brilliant strike from distance to see the teams go into the second break level too.
Mohamed Aly forced his way into space to smash in number two for the Pharaohs after the restart, and then a Samir freekick, which was deep in his own penalty box, slipped under keeper to push the lead to two.
After initially falling behind the Egyptians managed to well and truly turn the match around to take a comfortable 1-4 win thanks to a final-minute strike from Abdoo, and they will finish the group in third.
Goals: 1-0: H. Mohamed (OG), min. 11 (2); 1-1: Elshahat, min. 2 (2); 1-2: Mohamed Aly, min. 10 (3); 1-3: Samir, min. 8 (3); 1-4: Abdoo, min. 0 (3);
For more information, including fixtures, results and standings, go to the Beach Soccer Worldwide website.