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12 Dec 2015
Vasco da Gama and Barcelona to square off in final!
2011 champions will have the chance to reedit crown against Catalan giants who take part in first ever final
Barcelona heads to final after thrilling OT comeback
The 3-2 OT win for FC Barcelona over Al-Ahli was thrilling and a huge relief as Barça was the only team to defeat Al-Ahli in the Group Stage, making the elimination game rematch even more difficult. The squads began with a slow and tedious offensive game plan, which led to one scoreless period, the first. Barcelona struck first and it was early in the middle frame, but Al-Ahli stormed back, with the help of their veteran presence in the last 12 minutes. The tight lead would not be enough to hold off and keep the Catalan club at bay, as Barça scored with 40 seconds left to send the game into overtime. In the extra frame, the drama built up as well, but Llorenç was able to score late and secure the win for his side. The win means that FC Barcelona will make their first appearance in a Mundialito final, to take place on Sunday. Barcelona did not look fluid in every match but they were deserved of their spot in the semis and they just now look to be running on all cylinders. Al-Ahli was less than a minute away from the final, but they played a nearly flawless event, only losing to Barcelona, albeit twice. Al-Ahli will play in the 3rd Place Match on Sunday.
Barcelona and Al-Ahli are two of the most stacked teams in the world and with Barcelona fielding 9 players, out of a possible 10, who participated in the last FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015 but it was not the younger players who impressed early, it was two seasoned veterans, Madjer of Al-Ahli by way of Portugal, and Amarelle from FC Barcelona, that took the opening shots and were the aggressors. The attacks did not initially form any goals but the excitement and opportunities were there. The two clubs had never advanced this far in the Mundialito, though they are both mainstays, and they understood the importance of the semi-final, utilizing safe defensive tactics, to limit the oppositions' offensive chances and the first period ended with the score tied at 0-0. The young Spanish national, Llorenç, scored on a beautiful scissor kick to break the deadlock, putting FC Barcelona up 1-0 early in the middle frame. The goal proved to be the lone score of the period and the sides were still neck-and-neck going into the final break, with Barça up by the slimmest of margins, 1-0.
The UAE club had it all to do in the cagey affair as they trailed in the third period by one goal but they knew they were still in proceedings, thanks to stellar goal keeping and a team- first oriented defense. The goalless trend continued, however, good for the Cules, and the score remained 1-0 heading into the middle of the period. Al-Ahli has their own firepower and while it did not show up early, but in the last 12 minutes they were able to get their first two goals, mere seconds apart. Jordan and Rodrigo slotted home the strikes to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead halfway through the period. The action continued until the final minute, when a clutch goal from the Barça keeper, Jo, ripped a shot from distance to break Al-Ahli's heart, putting the score at 2-2, which is where it would be going into an extra frame. The high-level of play was evident in the extra period, and it was Llorenç nailed home his second goal and sent the Barcelona side wild in what they thought was the game-winner. A last second open net almost allowed Al-Ahli to equalize but in the end, after a miss, FC Barcelona earned the 3-2 win.
Goals: 1-0: Llorenç, min. 8 (2); 1-1: Jordan, min. 7 (3); 1-2: Rodrigo, min. 6 (3); 2-2: Jo, min. 0 (3); 3-2: Llorenç, min. 1 (et).
Vasco de Gamao heading back to Mundialito final
The 5-2 win for Vasco de Gama over Fluminense was not as close as the score indicates, but it was even more exciting. Vasco jumped out first and were in the drivers' seat from the get-go, but they were not able to fully run away with proceedings. Fluminense, who was playing in their first Mundialito de Clubes, fought back with the steady leadership of their star, Fernando DDI, and tied the game but it was then that the game slipped away from them. The former Mundialito champion, Vasco, regrouped and took back their lead and were in the perfect position to shut down Fluminense, which they did. The win puts Vasco in the final against FC Barcelona, to take place on Sunday. It will be the second finals appearance for Vasco, which they previously won, and they will aim to become the first two time champion. Fluminense may be in a little pain after the loss but their consolation is that they will be playing again Sunday, against Al-Ahli, for 3rd Place.
The two Brazilian sides had a big fan base watching from the stands and cheering at each turn which as top players know, can either be comforting or build the pressure. Vasco de Gama started the match by looking ready to pounce and attack, they were running their offense very effectively and at a trepid pace, though Fluminense and their goalie were doing all they could, and successfully, to keep their inter-country rivals off the board. The minutes ticked away and when the middle of the period rolled around, the score was still 0-0. Bokinha was sick of a scoreless game and Vasco, deservedly, took the lead late in the period, thanks to the Brazilian, and despite more chances, the frame ended with Vasco up 1-0. Vasco was in complete control but Rafael, the keeper for Fluminense, was keeping his team close, though even his spectacular play and acrobatic saves could keep Vasco from scoring again, doubling their lead at 2-0 early in the second. Almost out of nothing, Fluminense gave something for their fans to cheer about when Daniel nailed home a shot to cut the deficit in half, to 2-1. The two clubs exchanged goals late in the frame and middle period ended with Vasco up 3-2.
Vasco de Gama saw their dominating first period performance almost go to waste, as they only could score one goal, and then they relinquished the lead, as Fluminense tied matters in the second, but a late push helped carry second period momentum into the third. The final 12 minutes began with Bokinha scoring his third goal and pushing the Vasco lead back to two goals, at 4-2. Fluminense expended much energy clawing their way back in the second but they were doing their best to keep their energy up and trying to attack. Vasco was able to repel all the advances and even tack on another goal, leaving the final score at 5-2 for Vasco, setting up a dream final on Sunday between them and Barça.
Goals: 0-1: Bokinha, min. 3 (1); 0-2: Rafinha, min. 10 (2); 1-2: Daniel, min. 9 (2); 2-2: Filipi, min. 6 (2); 3-2: Bokinha, min. 2 (2); 2-4: Bokinha, min. 10 (3); 2-5: Rafinha, min. 1 (3).
MUNDIALITO DE CLUBES BEACH SOCCER 2015
09.15 – FC Barcelona 3-2 (aet) Al Ahli Club (Semi-final)
10.30 – CR Vasco da Gama 5-2 Fluminense FC (Semi-final)
13.30 –Al Ahli vs Fluminense FC (3rd/4th place)
15:15 – FC Barcelona vs CR Vasco da Gama (FINAL)