Hosts bag early win as dangerous Danes net 12 on the opening day in Moldova
– Moldova take win over debutant Malta
– Denmark net 12 on Day 1 to sit top of Group B
– Katsoulis leads the scoring with a hat-trick
An action-packed first day in Chisinau has the hosts, Denmark and Kazakhstan leading the groups, while Greek striker Katsoulis is ahead in the scoring charts.
Victorious hosts welcome Malta to the EBSL
Day 1 came to an exciting climax in the last match where Moldova welcomed the difficult debutants Malta to the Euro Beach Soccer League.
Having won the Regular Stage last year following impressive performances, the home crowd was prepared for a high-octane show from their Moldovan heroes. They were held in the first period, however, by the brilliant of Caruana, the Malta goalkeeper making his EBSL debut. The number one leapt to block shot after shot with the home crowd breathing down his neck.
He was eventually beaten in the second period as Top Scorer from 2021 Regular Stage, Negara, glided into the box to nod in the opener. A goal by Ignat doubled the Moldovan lead and then a freekick from distance by Florea – an arrow into the bottom corner – took it the three.
Caruana wasn’t finished though, as he pulled off more stunning saves and eventually beat his opposite number, Istrati, rifling in Malta’s first-ever official beach soccer goal from his own area.
There was time for captain Cojocari to power in another freekick before the final whistle, and the locals sealed the points in their first match, an essential step toward achieving that all-important promotion place which they missed out on last year.
Denmark put 12 past Lithuania on Day 1
Two top Division B teams clashed in the second game in Moldova, as Denmark, studded with the stars that finished sixth in the Euro Winners Cup, and Lithuania did battle on Day 1.
It took just seconds for Makutunovičius to put Lithuania ahead, but a signature bicycle kick from Axel Damm and a wonder strike from keeper Levin turned the score around before the first whistle.
In the second period, Dorph pounced on sluggish play in the Lithuanian defence to poke in a third for the Danes, then Frandsen and Jorgensen extended the lead to see Denmark seize control of the match.
In the final period, they moved up a gear and pushed their tally to an incredible 12 goals to down Lithuania, who managed to pull two back in an action-packed final period, for one of the biggest victories in Denmark’s beach soccer history.
Terry Bowes’ men cruise into the pole position in Group B, and will face Turkiye tomorrow.
Turkiye hang on to down Latvia
Having been relegated from the European elite in the 2021 Promotion Final, Turkiye were keen to snatch a golden opportunity to re-join Division A by clinching one of the four promotion spots in Moldova.
First, however, they needed to see off a strong Latvia side, and is was they who went ahead first, as a long-range shot saw Skuratovics bag his first of the campaign.
It took just seconds in the next period for Semih to bury the equaliser though and Turkiye surged into attack mode. Turkish talisman Cem Keskin pulled off a lovely bit of skill to beat the defender and set up teammate Baris for the second, and the men in red slowly increased their grip on the game.
Yasin nodded an unfortunate own goal into his own net from a corner, but second after the restart Ferhat found space to smash in a screamer from distance, restoring the Turkish lead.
The final 12 minutes witnessed chances wasted at both ends, but the score remained at 3-2 until the final whistle, ending with Turkiye clinching precious points in their opening tie, as Latvia show yet again that they are a beach soccer force to be reckoned with…
Yet another tight EBSL tie by Romania and England
Romania and England are two sides with history in this competition, and with a real chance at promotion to Division A at stake, this tie was always going to be fiery and close.
England had early chances but were made to pay for squandering them when Zaharia swivelled to power home the opener. His goal was all that split the teams in the first period, and a predictably tight match continued under the scorching Moldovan sun.
The Three Lions burst into life in the second period, as captain Aaron Clarke and Grossett buried set-pieces to take the lead. Tom O’Neill then spun to hit a third but Liviu converted a dead ball to close the gap to 3-2.
England hung on stubbornly to their lead right until the final two minutes when Zaharia caught a volley sweetly to convert a spectacular equaliser! The stage was set for Andrescu to put away a dramatic winner for the Tricolorii, who managed to overturn their English opponents.
Advantage Romania who take three points in Group A, and they will meet Malta tomorrow as England take on the hosts.
Katsoulis masterclass picks up early points for Greece
Greek dangerman Katsoulis needed less than a minute to send a bicycle kick into the net, but a pinballing strike from Georgian keeper Makharadze saw Greece defenders turn into their own goal to make it 1-1.
It wasn’t until the match’s midway point that Katsoulis struck again to take the lead from the penalty spot, and just moments later Tsitsaris twisted and turned in the area to power home number three for the Ethniki.
Papastathopoulos took the socre to 4-1 early in the third period, his first of the campaign, but an amazing goal by Partenadze gave the Georgians hope late in the match.
They applied increasing pressure in an attempt to cut the gap but the inevitable Katsoulis struck once more to seal the three points for Greece, who go second in Group C, behind Kazakhstan.
The inspired performance by the Greek number seven saw Katsoulis shoot to the top of the scoring charts with three goals on Day 1.
Kazakhstan cruise past Norway in Group C
The first day in Chisinau kicked off with previous Promotion Finalists Kazakhstan netting the opener against Norway as Tyulpa found space to put away his first of the tournament.
Norway were level moments later when Demeshko, usually such a dangerous force in front of the opposition goal, scored his first too, but at the wrong end. Makagon smashed in a second from distance for Bulat Alyonov’s men as the middle period began, and Muralinov extended the Kazakh lead with a bicycle kick soon after.
The final period started with the men in white two ahead, until Azhikenov made it four, only for Norway to be awarded a penalty which Aano slotted home with confidence, until a wondergoal from Perevyortov restored a three-goal cushion. Demeshko finally got his goal, a long-range freekick which bobbled over the committed goalkeeper.
Norwegian captain Li hit a beauty of his own, taking the Drillos Løvene tally to three, but Kazakhstan were cruising, going ahead in Group C and closing the game decisively with seven goals on Day 1.
For full details on the EBSL Moldova, including fixtures, results and standings, head to beachsoccer.com.