Moldova, Kazakhstan, Turkiye and Greece earn promotion to the EBSL elite
– Moldova, Kazakhstan and Turkiye top groups
– Greece also wins promotion as best second-place finish
– Hosts to meet Greece in semi-finals
The four teams who will be making the step up from Division B to the beach soccer elite in Europe, have been decided: Moldova, Kazakhstan, Turkiye and Greece.
Greece’s Katsoulis still leads the scoring chart, netting one more on Day 3, and will meet the hosts tomorrow in the semi-final, while Turkiye are set to face off against Kazakhstan.
Moldova beat Romania to win promotion
There was everything to play for in the derby between the two neighbouring countries, as the final place in the 2023 Division A was at stake, but one team had the might of a home crowd behind them.
Moldovan keeper Istrati made important saves in the opening period, and looked the more likely of the five layers on the sand the find the net as he continuously tested his opposite number. But the first goal didn’t come until Podlesnov got the fans on their feet with a super overhead deep into the final period.
Moldova built more pressure until a long-range shot was deflected into the Romanian net by Andrei. With a precious two-goal lead in hand, and everything at stake, the local side fought relentlessly to keep it intact, and then captain Cojocari pounded in a penalty to take the final score to 3-0.
An historic day for beach soccer and for Moldovan beach soccer and heartbreak for the Tricolorii.
Both Kazakhstan and Greece win promotion
Neither Kazakhstan nor Greece had lost in their opening two matches, and in a straight shootout for the Group C topspot and automatic promotion to Division A, everything was at stake.
The Ethniki defended well in the face of early Kazakh pressure, but managed to take the lead in the first period, courtesy of Skourtas who bundled a rebounded shot over the line.
Bogdanov equalised late in the second period and the stalemate continued right until the tournament’s leading goalscorer, Katsoulis, stepped up to buried an incredible freekick, his sixth of the event. As the clock ticked down, Greece seemed to have edged the thrilling match but Makagon rifled in a late equaliser for The Hawks of Kazakhstan.
The game spilled over into a tense period of Extra Time and then penalties, where the Kazakhs proved the calmer of the two sides from nine metres, taking the final victory by 2(3)-(4)2, and winning the one of the precious four promotion places!
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Greece though as, despite the loss, the Ethniki qualified as best second-place finisher alongside their Group C rivals.
Jak dashes Danish hopes of promotion
Despite their loss to Turkiye yesterday, Denmark were in a strong position for a promotion spot, having scored 12 on Day 1, but Latvia took victory from the penalty spot against Lithuania yesterday and were full of confidence.
It was the Danes who broke the deadlock in their final group game, as Axel Damm punished a Latvian foul with a cleanly struck freekick to lead at the break. The star of the show, however, was Latvia keeper Krizanovskis, who after conceding an early goal leapt left and right to deny the dangerous Denmark strikers any more.
Wave after wave of Viking attacks came but the Latvian number one stood strong, until Josifovs finally equalised, following up a rebound to drive in his team’s first in the last period. Try as they might Denmark couldn’t find that all-important winner and as the whistle went to mark the end of normal time, heads dropped as hopes of promotion were extinguished.
With 18 second left of Extra Time, Jak rounded the keeper to put away a late winner and snatch two points for Latvia and second place in the group, while their victory handed the promotion place in Group B to Turkiye.
Late goals see Turkiye remain unbeaten in Group B
Turkiye had already been handed promotion back into Division A, from which they had only been relegated last September, and Lithuania could no longer win promotion, but they could spoil the party for the Turks in the final group game…
The first period was a furiously fought affair, with balls bouncing of both bars on several occasions, but Turkiye, as they had yesterday against Denmark, struggled to open the scoring.
It was Makutunovičius who drew first blood, putting Lithuania ahead with just two seconds left of the second period after a long spell of deadlock.
However, the star number 10 of the Crescent Stars, Cem Keskin, fired in two brilliant bicycle kicks within moments of each other to turn the match around. Finally, with just two seconds of the match left, yesterday’s hero Baris clinched the victory for Turkiye and the group top spot.
Captain Clarke nets three to down Malta
Promotion dreams now crushed, England and Malta would scrap for third place in Group A, and an early penalty converted by captain Clarke had England ahead. However, Caruana netted moments later, slotting the ball through the keeper’s legs.
But Aaron Clarke put the Three Lions in front straight from kick-off with a screamer into the top corner, and then Camara struck to make it three before the break.
The second period saw no more goals as England held firmly onto their advantage, until Caruana netted once more, but this time into his own goal to make it 4-1. He did pull another one back but Clarke was on hand again to complete his hat-trick from distance.
Three point in the bag for England, and they will now face Romania in the playoffs.
Norway hold off Georgia for all three points
With hopes of a promotion place dashed on the first two matchdays, Norway and Georgia went to battle of the sand for the third-place finish in Group C
Norway hit first through captain Li after just seconds of the match, and within another minute Hellman powered in a second to double the advantage.
Lomidze pulled one back before the break, and the tightly-fought contest continued into the second period, with no more goals being scored. Makharadze equalised midway through the final period to the delight of the Georgian bench, but Hellman was on hand once more to send a volley bouncing off the sand to win the match and the third-place finish in Group C for Norway.
For full details on the EBSL Moldova, including fixtures, results and standings, head to beachsoccer.com.