EBSL opens in dramatic fashion

The first day in Moscow included a shootout and upset to go along with goals and defense in both groups

Italy charges ahead and holds off Germany for opening win


The 4-2 victory for Italy over Germany included goals, saves, changes in game plans,  and a timely hat-trick, but in the end it was Italy who made enough plays and adjustments to secure the three points. Italy was very effective in the opening and middle period, limiting Germany while scoring just enough goals to build a safe enough lead. The win gives Italy the first win of the European season in the Euro Beach Soccer League and it puts them in a good position to secure a spot in the Superfinal, assuming they can continue riding the momentum of the hat-trick provided by Gori. Italy will next face Greece, in the opening match on Saturday. Germany will still have a chance to rebound, they need to make sure they maximize their chances on Saturday against Portugal. 


Italy began the match on the goal-scoring hunt but Germany, and specifically their goalie, Penke, did a masterful job of stopping the early chances and the first period remained scoreless going into the middle of the frame. The draw lasted until the final minutes of the period, when Gori slotted home the first goal, putting the score at 1-0. The Germans slowly began mounting chances but the goals did not fall and the period ended with the Azzurri up 1-0. The sides may have changed sides but the flow of the match did not, with Germany having to call upon their defense and goalkeeping to keep the score close and going into the midway point in the match the score remained 1-0 for the Italians. The physical nature of the opening period way to a more graceful style of play but the Blues added to their lead with a last second goal in the period, a rebound of his own shot, from Gori, which put the score at 2-0 going into the final break. 


The final period began with the Germans making a strong push forward but the Italian defense was as solid and sound as ever, still keeping the Germans off the board early in the period. The German team knew they had to get off the board and before the halfway mark in the frame, they scored their first goal, on a strike from Fiks, which made the score only 2-1 for Italy. The Italians were not nervous and did not change their offensive tactics, and to their chagrin, the score did not change. Gori made sure that changed as he scored his third goal of the match, one in each period, to give his squad the 3-1 lead with only a few minutes remaining. Thurk wanted to make sure nothing was easy for Italy and he scored Germany’s second goal only seconds later, leaving the score at 3-2 for Italy. The Azzurri did have to sweat out quite a few German chances, however they hung on for the 4-2 win. 


Goals: 1-0: Gori, min. 3 (1); 2-0: Gori, min. 0 (2); 2-1: Fiks, min. 7 (3); 3-1: Gori, min. 5 (3); 3-2: Thurk, min. 4 (3); 4-2: Marinai, min. 1 (3).


Belarus uses determined effort to overcome France


The 2-1 win for Belarus could not have been more difficult for the eventual victors, as they went down early and did not take the lead until the final period. France started very strong and were ready to pounce, looking like they could turn a close game into a blowout, but instead it was the crowd-friendly Belarus National Selection who took matters into their own hands late in the game. Belarus earns the first points distributed to a Group 1 team and they hope to finish first or second in the group to assure their trip to Estonia for the Superfinal in August. They will play on Saturday against Poland, looking for more points and security. France played extremely tough and will need more of that intensity to defeat their next opponent, Russia, on Saturday. 


Belarus and France are both very recognizable teams in beach soccer, however the Belorussian thought they had a secret weapon to jump on top first, their talismanic goal scorer, Bryshtel, but it was the French side who notched the matches’ first goal, on a strike from Marques. The early goal energized Les Bleu and they continued to mark the Belorussian players very tight and the score remained the same going into the last minutes of the frame. As is the case with most prolific goal scorers, you can only keep the quiet for so long, and Bryshtel inspired the fans of Belarus in the stands to stand up and shout when he scored his teams’ first goal, in the opening minute of the middle frame, to level things at 1-all. The French Selection was not disheartened by the goal as they still looked for openings and were aggressive with their offense, though the score stayed 1-1 going into the final minutes of the period, and eventually the last break. 


Losing for extended periods of time can have an ill-effect on teams or players, but despite not having held the lead all day, Belarus was playing extremely well and scored on a penalty kick from Bokach in the early minutes of the final frame, and that goal gave them their first lead of the day. The Belorussian side was not ready to relinquish that lead and they grew stronger as the period progressed. France got their opportunities but Belarus was doing their best, and mostly succeeding, at shutting them down and closing the small windows. The rest of the frame was played without any more goals and when the final whistle had sounded, Belarus was up 2-1. 


Goals: 0-1: Marques, min. 9 (1); 1-1: Bryshtel, min. 11 (2); 2-1: Bokach, min. 9 (3).


Portugal holds serve after escaping with the closest of wins


The 2-1 victory for Portugal over Greece saw the deciding goal come early in the second period, and that goal was tough to come by, with the Greeks playing one of the most dominant defensive games ever against the Portuguese side. The teams played to an early draw before Portugal found an opening while putting in their own defensive gem, nearly shutting out the Hellenic side. The win keeps Portugal on pace with Italy, also day one winners, to stay atop the group. Portugal will look to earn their second win on Saturday against a German side that came very close to upsetting the Italians. Greece will next face Italy on Saturday and they will hope to upend their Mediterranean brothers for their first win.  


Greece has almost always been known for their tough defense and in the opening period of this match, their backline stood strong against the high-powered Portuguese offense and they made the Portguese keeper work extremely hard at the same time. It was a minor success for the Greeks to finish the period tied, though it was at 0-0 when the first break arrived. The second period began with the same kind of excitement that the first period ended with, however, with a quick goal. The Portuguese side took the 1-0 lead and navigating through the Hellenic defense was no small task, so the goal was even more impressive, with all things considered. The slim margin of error was accentuated for both teams with the awarded direct kicks and penalties, as the pressure was palpable. The tension could not be diffused in the middle frame as the score stayed 1-0 for the Portuguese going into the final frame. 


The Greeks’ sturdy defense was more than living up to its name, as they held the Selecção das Quinas back from scoring and the scored was still 1-0 going into the heart of the final frame. The Greek keeper was more than adequately doing his job but he was not asked to make the kind of saves that Portuguese opponent normally has to make. Portugal still had control of the ball, the tempo, and the game, but they were unable to get away from the hard-pushing Greek side. The stalemate came to an abrupt end when Portugal scored the insurance goal they needed, on a strike from Jordan, that put just enough separation between then and Greece. The Greeks got off the board late but the lone goal was not enough to spark the comeback and the match came to a dramatic end with Portugal winning 2-1. 


Goals: 0-1: Ze Maria, min. 9 (1); 0-2: Jordan, min. 2 (3); 1-2: Kafantaris, min. 1 (3).


Poland shocks Russia in penalties


The 3(9)-3(8) penalties victory for Poland over Russia was not decided until the 17th shooter in penalties, appropriately in the final match of the day. Russia looked comfortable and confident throughout but the Polish side did not stop fighting and clawing and made the match that much more dramatic in the closing minutes. The drama climaxed in the extra frame, which led to a thrilling shootout with 17 shooters. The win gives Poland one point in Group 1 and they will need to secure a regulation or overtime win in their next match, on Saturday against Belarus, if they hope to advance to the Superfinal in Estonia. The loss is not all bad for the hosts as they can still rebound against France on Saturday. 


Russia began the match running at torrid pace, but they could not score the early goal that the home crowd was desperately cheering for, although they were playing sound defense, as always, and did not cede any early goals to the Polish side. The two goalkeepers really found their form late in the period, with both sides attacking and taking quality shots on goal. The deadlock opened up in the final minute of the period when Peremitin connected home on a crossing corner to put the score at 1-0 for Russia going into the first pause in action. The middle period began with the Russian side continuing their quiet dominance, however, Poland was doing their best to stay in the match, and were successful in that regard. The Polish side was not generating much offense but lat in the period, they scored their first goal, on a shot from Baran and the game looked to be tied at 1 going into the final period, but Paporotnyi scored just seconds later, restoring the one goal advantage, 2-1, going into the last 12 mintues.


The Polish side was playing inspired beach soccer and after losing their final match of the EBSL 2014 season in the Promotion Final, some might expect a downturn in their play, but they began the 3rd period with the fervor that allowed them to tie the match late in the second period, but it was still the Russians who held all the cards. The cards crumbled when the Red and Whites scored the equalizer on a low and bobbling shot, making the score 2-2 halfway through the frame. The Russians can seemingly score when they want to, and seconds later they got back their lead, on the second goal  for the match from Paporotnyi, making the score 3-2 for the Sbornaya, going into the final minutes of the match. The Eagles were proving to be one of Russia’s toughest opponents as they again answered the bell and score to put the score at 3-3, late in the game. The teams scurried for a final goal, but the match headed into overtime tied at 3-all. The extra frame did not see another goal and the game when into the all-exciting penalty shootout. 


Goals: 0-1: Peremitin, min. 0 (1); 1-1: Baran, min. 3 (2); 1-2: Paportonyi, min. 1 (2); 2-2: Sobalczyk, min. 6 (3); 2-3: Paporotnyi, min. 6 (3); 3-3: Baran, min. 4 (3).

Penalties: Lenart: make; Paporotnyi: make; Baran: make; Shishin: make; Klepczarek: make; Krash: make; Sobalczyk: save; Peremitin: miss; Jesionowski: goal; Romanov: make; Friszkemut: make; Ilinskii: make; Taraszkowski: save; Safronov: miss; Slowinski: make; Bukhlitskiy: miss; Skrzypiec: make.




 Results Today:

Friday 12.06.15

15:45 – Italy 4-2 Germany (Group 2)

17:00 – Belarus 2-1 France (Group 1)

18:15 – Greece 1-2 Portugal (Group 2)

19:30 – Poland 3(9)-3(8) (pen) Russia (Group 1)


Upcoming Matches:

Saturday 13.06.15

15:45 – Italy vs Greece (Group 2)

17:00 – Belarus vs Poland (Group 1)

18:15 – Portugal vs Germany (Group 2)

19:30 – Russia vs France (Group 1)

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