Portugal and Spain finish as group leaders in Nazaré
– Portugal edge thriller against Swiss to lead Group A
– Spain lead Group B as Nazaré stage ends
– Leo Martins hits nine to stay ahead in EBSL scoring
In a classic European beach soccer bout, the hosts came from behind to edge Switzerland in the last match of the 2022 Euro Beach Soccer League stage in Nazaré.
Leo Martins, who hit a hat-trick in all three matches, took home both the Top Scorer and the MVP trophies following his outstanding performance. Swiss keeper Eliott, claimed the Best Goalkeeper award.
Remember that you can rewatch all of the games on Recast – click here!
Magical Martins twins star in Portugal comeback
Neither side had lost a game so far in the 2022 Euro Beach Soccer League but the Swiss, fresh after a rest day on Saturday, struck first through a brilliant bicycle kick from Glenn Hodel.
With the score at 1-0, Portugal needed a reaction and it came from the tournament Top Scorer, Leo Martins, who struck twice to keep Narciso’s men in the match.
But Tobi Steinemann upset the home crowd once more as he snatched the lead before the break. Glenn Hodel then hit a wonder goal to see the Nati leading by two as the final third began.
It was in the final 12 minutes, however, that Portugal turned the match round, as Leo Martins hit his third – taking his 2022 EBSL tally to nine so far – and twin brother Bernardo capitalised on fouls and defensive error to snatch himself a hat-trick in the space of just two minutes, wrapping up the points and the leading position in Group A.
A fierce battle and a dramatic turnaround marked the end of the first stage of the European championships, and the EBSL will return in September, as the national teams head to Italy.
Spain top Group B with Day 3 win
It took almost the entire period for the deadlock to be broken between Spain and Azerbaijan in their last Group B match in Nazaré, but when Arias finally put away the opener, it sparked a flurry of goals before the break.
Antonio smashed in a bicycle kick to make it two, but a wonder goal from Mamadov, his third of the campaign, cut the gap to just one as the second period began.
There were more last-minute goals in the middle part, but they all found the Azerbaijani net, as La Roja built a comfortable 5-1 lead heading into the final third.
Mehtiyev, Jomard and Sabir gave the men from the Land of Fire hope in a late rally, but Eduard Suarez caught the keeper out with a long-range shot to seal the points, and the group leader title for Spain.
Mendez’s side will have the advantage when the action continues in Italy this September.
Azzurri hold off Ukraine for maximum points in Nazaré
After a rest day yesterday, Del Duca’s men were fresh to face Ukraine, and Zurlo volleyed home the first of the match. A blistering cross-field strike from keeper Nerush pulled Ukraine back into the tie though.
The second period began with the nations level pegging, until Gori saw a shot saved but then leapt quicker than the confused keeper to poke in Italy’s second, and his second of the tournament.
Shcherytsia found the net just seconds after the restart in the third period but Gori converted a well-worked team goal, and then assisted another, to have Italy in a 4-3 lead, following Borsuk’s scrambled finish with just three minutes left.
The seconds ticked away as Ukraine furiously tried to get level once more, desperately needing points. They swapped keeper for attacker, but this left the door open for Genovali to put away a fifth for the Azzurri, who will host the next stage still undefeated.
Poland take two points in Extra Time against France
Captain Pietrasiak starred in the final Euro Beach Soccer League matchday in Nazaré, as Poland made it two wins in two in Group A, setting themselves up with a positive run in the next stage in Italy.
It was Les Bleus who took the initial lead though, as Varrel hit an overhead to see France leading at the break. Two stunning long-range strikes from Gac and Pietrasiak took the lead for Poland in the second period. The captain hit his second but France veteran Basquaise smashed in a low shot to keep the difference at just one goal.
Varrel wasn’t finished though, as he equalised and then bundled the ball over the line to retake the lead, only for keeper Karolak to force extra time with a rocket with only 15 seconds to go.
It was the inevitable Pietrasiak who won the match in the end, with his extra time goal seize a dramatic two points, meaning the Poland will arrive at the next round in Sardinia undefeated, while France suffer a third defeat.
For full details on the Euro Beach Soccer League 2022, including fixtures, results and standings, head to beachsoccer.com.