Slovakia and Greece also claimed Promotion Final places on Saturday with playoff wins
Hosts Moldova won their semi-final tie to earn a match against the also-undefeated Estonia in the Euro Beach Soccer League Division B Regular Stage final on Sunday.
Chisinau enjoyed another spectacular show provided by the hosts, as they defeated Czech Republic in the semi-finals. Estonia also maintained their unbeaten run to reach the final on the last day in Moldova.
Kazakhstan and Czech Republic will play for third, but another top match will take place between Lithuania and Bulgaria, where one nation will claim the very last ticket to Portugal in September, and a place at the Promotion Final.
Terrific Trampota scored another on Saturday, despite the loss to the competition hosts, taking his tally to seven and still leading the scoring. Can he maintain the top spot until tomorrow?
Moldova 5-2 Czech Republic (Semi-final)
Moldova had been in inspired form so far in their home competition, winning each of their three games and giving the crowd a lot to cheer about.
However, they fell behind for the first time in this campaign to the Euro Beach Soccer League Moldova leading scorer Trampota. The Czech number ten converted a freekick from the halfway line to open the scoring but Negrara slotted away a penalty soon after.
This seemed to be the turning point in the match, as in the second period the Moldovan number five ran riot, scoring twice more to complete his hat-trick with half of the match still to play, and the comeback was on for the hosts! Podlesnov netted for consecutive games too, making it 4-1 as the final period began with Czech Republic trailing by three goals.
A glimmer of hope came when Vyhnal hit arguably the goal of the game in off the post from distance, but the captain Cojocari had the last laugh as he hit the fifth and final goal for the Ruslan Pernai’s men, who maintain their unbeaten run right to the final, where they will meet Estonia tomorrow.
Goals: 0-1: Trampota, min. 5 (1); 1-1: Negrara, min. 5 (1); 2-1: Negrara, min. 10 (2); 3-1: Negrara, min. 8 (2); 4-1: Podlesnov, min. 6 (2); 4-2: Vyhnal, min. 3 (3); 5-2: Cojocari, min. 1 (3);
Estonia 1-0 Kazakhstan (Semi-final)
The toppers of Groups B and C went head to head in the battle for a place in the final, after having both secured the all-important places at the Promotion Final in September.
Squandered chances were the talking points of the opening period, but credit should go to the keepers at both ends who kept out the dangermen, such as Kazakh Demeshko and Estonia’s captain Marmor, with brilliant saves.
The stalemate, however, was broken finally when – guess who – Marmor burst through the heart of the Kazakhstan team to fire in the opener.
From that point on, the Kazakhs ramped up the attack but Estonia, who still have not lost a game in this tournament, kept them at bay to see the game out with their narrow advantage intact.
Four games, four wins, and a place in the final; can Estonia challenge for promotion to Division A this year?
Goals: 1-0: Marmor, min. 6 (2);
Bulgaria 0-3 Greece (Playoffs for 5th)
Still very much in the race for Promotion Final places, Bulgaria and Greece met in the playoffs on Saturday to contest one of the remaining three tickets to Portugal.
The posts saw more of the ball than the nets in the first period of play, as great goalkeeping and the smallest of margins kept the score at 0-0. The second period was more of the same but Greece had more of the chances to take the lead.
The breakthrough finally came in the final 12 minutes as, in fantastic beach soccer fashion, Mikelatos jumped high to hit an overhead past Ivanov in the Bulgarian goal.
With the deadlock broken, Gkritzalis hit a quick-fire double to take the final score to 3-0, clinching the fifth available place in the Promotion Final for the Greeks.
Goals: 0-1: Mikelatos, min. 9 (3); 0-2: Gkritzalis, min. 8 (3); 0-2: Gkritzalis, min. 5 (3);
Lithuania 0-6 Slovakia (Playoffs for 5th)
The winners here would claim the sixth place at the Promotion Final in Figueira da Foz, and although it took a while for the goals to start flowing, when they did it was all in one direction…
With high stakes in this tie, both sides defended effectively for the first 11 minutes until Carnogursky confidently put away a freekick just before the first whistle.
Not long after the restart, Letko hit a shot on the turn to double the Slovakian lead. There was just time before the second break for Topor to poke in number three, and at the beginning of the next period, a Grey double – the second of which a truly spectacular bicycle kick! – put the match beyond the reach of Lithuania.
With a final score of 6-0, Slovakia’s first victory of the campaign will see them battle in Portugal for a place amongst the European Elite. Lithuania will have the chance to clinch the last place when they play Bulgaria for seventh place tomorrow
Goals: 0-1: Carnogursky, min. 1 (1); 0-2: Letko, min. 11 (2); 0-3: Topor, min. 0 (2); 0-4: Grey, min. 9 (3); 0-5: Grey, min. 7 (3); 0-6: Husty, min. 1 (3);
Sweden 3-2 Norway (Playoffs for 9th)
In Saturday’s Scandinavian derby, Jalland struck a low shot across goal to hand Norway an early lead in the playoffs for ninth place.
Captain Elverum hit another for Norway but a Turesson brace in the second period had the sides tantalizingly close going into the third passage of play.
The men in yellow completed the comeback in the last minute of the game when Granberg found space to put away the winner, taking the final score to 3-2.
Goals: 0-1: Jalland, min. 3 (1); 1-1: Turesson, min. 11 (2); 1-2: Elverum, min. 2 (2); 2-2: Turesson, min. 1 (2); 3-2: Granberg, min. 1 (3);
Romania 1(5)-(3)1 Norway (Playoffs for 9th)
In their second game of the day, Norway took on Romania in the battle to finish ninth, and the Tricolorii grabbed the lead through Voica just seconds before the first whistle.
Norway went into the second period trailing, but Jalland drove in a low shot to equalise not long after the restart. These were the only goals that the game would see in normal time, and the match spilled over into a goalless added three minutes, and then penalties…
The Romanians hit all of their penalties perfectly, beating Norway 5-3 from the spot, meaning that the Scandinavians finish the competition without a win.
Goals: 1-0: Voica, min. 0 (1); 1-1: Jalland, min. 8 (2);
PSO: 1-0: Ravi, scored; 1-1: Jalland, scored; 2-1: Andrescu, scored; 2-2: Elverum, scored; 3-2: Boata, scored; 3-2: Li, saved; 4-2: Bolat, scored; 4-3: Nilsen, scored; 5-3: Dumi, scored;
For full details on the Euro Beach Soccer League Moldova, including standings, fixtures, stats and results, head to beachsoccer.com.