Three of the final four are decided on Day 1 in Cagliari as Gori hits five
– Italy, Portugal and Spain reach final four
– Gori scores 5 as hosts run riot
– Switzerland and Poland to battle for final 4 place on Friday
Three of the four semi-finalists have been decided in the Euro Beach Soccer League Superfinal in Cagliari, as Portugal and Italy take wins.
Spain and Italy are through from Group B, while defending champions Portugal’s win over Poland sees them also reach the knockout stage. Switzerland and Poland will go head to head tomorrow for the final place in the race for the European crown.
Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Germany, France and Estonia are now out of the running for the 2022 EBSL title.
Italy seal semi-final spot with victory over Germany
With two wins in two games in Nazaré, Italy wanted to continue their winning streak, this time on home sand.
Three minutes into the game, Josep Jr. forced the first change in the scoreboard with a free-kick that ended up in the Germany net. The Italian lead was extended by Giordani, assisted by a bicycle kick from Gori before Metzler scored a bullet shot for Germany.
The Italians couldn’t have asked for a better start to the second period with Gori scoring from a move straight off the training ground from the kick-off and then Giordani punishing a foul by Metzler who was sent off, scoring his second goal. Gori was particularly inspired and he put away Italy’s fifth, sixth and seventh goal.
The scoreboard showed 7-2 after Nowak smashed in a brilliant volley for the Germans, as the third period started. There were still four more in this match though, as Sciacca, Remedi and Gori scored for Italy and Hoeveller for Germany. With a 10-3 win, the Italians clinched a place in the semi-finals.
Portugal come from behind to seal semi-final spot
Portugal had just lost to Spain in the final of the World Beach Games Qualifier in Catania on Sunday, and were looking to get back to winning ways against Poland.
An amazing triple save by the red and white keeper Karolak in the final minute kept the score level, denying the prolific Bê Martins before the break.
Pietrasiak then began the second period with a powerful bicycle kick from close range, putting Poland ahead and closing the gap on the 2022 EBSL leading scorer, Leo Martins. Bistula then rifled in a second, but Bê Martins, as well as a bursting run down the line from Miguel Pintado, saw the scored level again heading into the final period.
It didn’t take long for Belchior to find space to smash in number three for Narciso’s men, and Portugal were ahead for the first time in the match. Bê Martins then completed his brace to wrap up what turned out to be nervy points for Portugal, but they top the group and seal a place in the semi-finals, while Poland face defeat for the first time in the 2022 EBSL.
Swiss deny Estonia late comeback for three points
Doubles from Ott and Stankovic seal opening points for Switzerland against Estonia in Group A.
Switzerland had won one and lost one in Nazaré back in July, while Estonia were still awaiting their first win in the EBSL Division A. Tchatat and Ott got them off on the right foot in the first period of play in Cagliari, as the Swiss lead at the end of the first break.
The newly-promoted Estonians pulled one back in the second period as Lepik glided into the box to turn home a corner, but Ott’s second, a low driven free-kick, and a classic Stankovic bicycle kick saw the Nati lead extend to 4-1 going into the final period.
Schirinzi’s men held on in the last 12 minutes, despite Estonia looking dangerous with two late goals from Stüf and Mäeorg, as their talismans Ott and Stankovic buried a second each to clinch the points with a 5-3 score.
Ukraine edge Azerbaijan in low-scoring opening match
Glutskyi’s set piece was all that separated Ukraine and Azerbaijan in a low-scoring scrappy encounter, which sees both teams sit on three points in Group B, and therefore out of the running for the European title.
Ukraine were still searching for their first EBSL points of the season when they took on Azerbaijan on the first matchday in Sardinia, and they eventually broke the deadlock when keeper Nerush blasted in the opener just before the first whistle.
In the second period, Azerbaijan were denied crucial chances as the men in yellow doubled their lead through Glutskyi, who buried a cleanly struck dead ball.
Azerbaijan scored in the final period, as Ramil pulled on back to give the men from the Land of Fire hope in the dying moments. But the Ukrainians held on to their slim lead to go level with Azerbaijan on points in Group B.
RESULTS – 08/09
Switzerland 5-3 Estonia
Ukraine 2-1 Azerbaijan
Portugal 4-2 Poland
Italy 10-3 Germany
For full details on the 2022 Euro Beach Soccer League Superfinal in Cagliari, head to beachsoccer.com.