Hosts Lokomotiv and reigning champions Braga take essential wins on Day 1
Following the application of emergency Covid restrictions in the Russian capital, the Mundialito de Clubes took on an alternative format in the eighth edition.
This made the opening bouts all the more intense, as the competition went straight into knockout matches – the show must go on!
The action kicked off in Moscow with a star-studded South American derby…
Vasco da Gama (BRA) 5-4 Club Nacional (PAR)
The winners of the first-ever edition of the Mundialito de Clubes, which took place in Sao Paulo back in 2011, returned to the competition after a few years’ absence to take on first-timers Club Nacional.
A brilliant bicycle kick saw the Brazilians in front in the dying moments of the first period, when Catarino powered in the opener. Moments later, he made an essential goal-line block at the other end to keep the lead intact, until Paraguayan international, Carlos Carballo, levelled before the break.
During middle period, the match burst into a true beach soccer spectacle. Azzurri international Zurlo converted a penalty and Mauricinho slotted in Vasco’s third but then stunning strikes from Benitez, captain Carballo and Nestor Medina turned the match right around to 3-4 to Nacional.
In classic beach soccer style, though, the tie changed direction once more and Vasco talisman, former World Best Player Mauricinho, found the winner in the final period to clinch the first place in the semi-finals.
Goals: 1-0: Catarino, min. 4 (1); 1-1: Carballo, min. 0 (1); 2-1: Zurlo, min. 8 (2); 3-1: Mauricinho, min. 6 (2); 3-2: Benitez, min. 5 (2); 3-3: Carballo, min. 5 (2); 3-4: N. Medina, min. 3 (2); 4-4: Rafinha, min. 8 (3); 5-4: Mauricinho, min. 6 (3);
BSC Lokomotiv (RUS) 9-4 Levante US (RUS)
Two-time Mundialito de Clubes champions, and hosts here in Moscow, Lokomotiv took on Spanish giants Levante in their opening match. Fedor Zemskov provided them with the ideal start to the match, with a cool finish to make it 1-0.
Sanfilippo bundled the ball over the line minutes later to equalise for Levante, but Lokomotiv would lead at the break thanks to captain Nikonorov’s brilliant bicycle kick. In the second period, the Moscovites extended their lead as keeper Parmhomenko powered past his opposite number.
Zemskov’s sublime volley then flew in off the post and Levante fell to 4-1 behind. La Roja international Pablo Perez pulled one back, but Boris Nikonorov, winner of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup with Russia over the summer, burst into life in the final third to take his tally to four, and Lokomotiv’s to eight.
The hosts cruised into a semi-final place with a 9-4 scoreline, sending a clear message to their Mundialito rivals…
Goals: 1-0: Zemskov, min. 6 (1); 1-1: Sanfilippo, min. 3 (1); 2-1: Nikonorov, min. 0 (1); 3-1: Parmhomenko, min. 10 (2); 4-1: Zemskov, min. 8 (2); 4-2: Pablo Perez, min. 5 (2); 5-2: Nikonorov, min. 5 (3); 6-2: Nikonorov, min. 5 (3); 7-2: Ze Lucas, min. 3 (3); 7-3: Pablo Perez, min. 3 (3); 8-3: Nikonorov, min. 2 (3); 9-3: Zemskov, min. 2 (3); 9-4: Riguad, min. 2 (3);
BSC Spartak (RUS) 4-5 Dinamo Minsk (BLR)
It took no time at all for the Spartak hosts to put their stamp on their opening match at the Mundialito de Clubes, as Kotenev smashed in a well-worked kick-off after just a second of play.
But Dinamo hit straight back through Brazilian Paulinho and then took the lead through Novikau. Made up mostly of Belarus national team players, the Minsk side continued to nose ahead, and led at the first break.
Raskin levelled but a second from Novikau, a brilliant hit from distance, made it 3-4 to Nico Alvarado’s side. A bouncing Bazhenov shot saw the Spartak keeper beat his counterpart to draw level once again going into the final 12 minutes.
But it was then that the hero of the day stepped forward, and Belarus international Hardzetski fired in what turned out to be the winner, upsetting the Moscow hosts on Day 1.
As a result, the newcomers Dinamo Minsk will now battle tomorrow morning in the semi-finals.
Goals: 1-0: Kotenev, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Paulinho, min. 9 (1); 1-2: Novikau, min. 8 (1); 2-2: Ahmadzadeh, min. 4 (1); 2-3: Paulinho, min. 2 (1); 3-3: Raskin, min. 7 (2); 3-4: Novikau, min. 3 (2); 4-4: Bazhenov, min. 0 (2); 4-5: Hardzetski, min. 3 (3);
SC Braga (POR) 4-2 Tokyo Verdy (JPN)
The final match of the day was not short of quality, as the reigning champions took on a Tokyo Verdy squad pumped full of beach soccer firepower.
As well as the Japanese runners-up from the World Cup, Tokyo had Brazilians Datinha and Rodrigo in their ranks, and these two had beaten Braga to the last two club European titles with Kristall.
A high-octane encounter from the start, Andre Lourenço opened the scoring in scorching style with the goal of the day – maybe tournament – beating fellow Portuguese international Andrade to put Braga ahead.
Lucao handed the Japanese club a lifeline with a strange own goal, but a second from Andre Lourenço and a strike from Leo Martins retook control of the match for the champions of Portugal. Filipe then smashed in number four for Braga, pushing the match out of Tokyo’s reach.
Intent on defending their title, Braga held on to their lead, despite conceding a spectacular stiek from Brazilian Mateusinho in the dying moments, to reach the final four and keep hopes of a third consecutive Mundialito trophy alive.
Goals: 1-0: Andre Lourenço, min. 5 (1); 1-1: Lucao (OG), min. 7 (2); 2-1: Leo Martins, min. 6 (2); 3-1: Andre Lourenço, min. 4 (2); 4-1: Filipe, min. 4 (3); 4-2: Mateusinho, min. 3 (3);
For full details on the Mundialito de Clubes, head to beachsoccer.com.