Saturday will see the final three teams claim their tickets to Portugal in September
Hosts Moldova, Kazakhstan and Czech Republic won on Day 3 to join Estonia in the semi-finals of the Euro Beach Soccer League Division B Regular Stage in Chisinau.
The packed stadium was treated to a 3-1 victory for Moldova over Bulgaria, while Kazakhstan’s comfortable win against Greece saw them seal a place in the final four.
Czech star number ten Trampota moved ahead in the scoring chart, taking his total to six in three games, as his side beat Romania 4-1.
Moldova 3-1 Bulgaria (Group A)
The last match on Friday was a straight shootout for first place in Group A and a place at the Promotion Final.
It took just 3 minutes for Captain Cojocari to get the local crowd on their feet and cheering, as he drove through the defence to hit the first of the match.
Moldova controlled much of the opening section of play, but their slim lead was all that separated the teams at the break. After the restart, however, Negara powered a brilliant header across the box and in off the post to build a two-goal cushion.
Graur then found space to smash in number three from distance and the fans were beside themselves with joy in the stands. But Bulgaria were not to be underestimated, and Merazchiev pulled one back before the break to give Georgi Savov’s men hope.
They pressed as the final period ticked away but could not break through the defence of the men in blue, who held on for their second win to top the group, clinching a place in the last four and an all-important ticket to Figueira da Foz in September.
They will play Czech Republic in the semi-finals tomorrow.
Goals: 1-0: Cojocari, min. 9 (1); 2-0: Negara, min. 11 (2); 3-0: Graur, min. 9 (2); 3-1: Merazchiev, min. 3 (2);
Czech Republic 4-1 Romania (Group C)
Second place, after Estonia clinically wrapped up the Group C topspot, could be crucial in the fight to reach the Promotion Final, and today’s tie between Czech Republic and Romania was a straight shootout for the group runner-up place.
Nudging himself into the top scorer position, Trampota scrambled to poke home the opening goal of the game after five minutes, and after that the Czechs kept the dangerous Romanian strikers.
One of them, Boata, offered extra attacking power from between the sticks in an unorthodox tactical arrangement, and the number nine sent numerous long shots flying from his own penalty area, but was unable to add to his tournament tally. Trampota eventually scored again early in the third period, doubling the Czech advantage and then Vales made it three!
However, Boata couldn’t be kept out forever, and fired one directly in from the restart. Vales was there once more though, deftly shifting the ball away from the defender to complete his brace to take the final score to 4-1.
Czech Republic now have one foot already in the Promotion Final.
Goals: 1-0: Trampota, min. 7 (1); 2-0: Trampota, min. 11 (3); 3-0: Vales, min. 10 (3); 3-1: Boata, min. 10 (3); 4-1: Vales, min. 5 (3);
Greece 0-5 Kazakhstan (Group B)
Lithuania sat at the head of Group B on six points ahead of this encounter, and the Kazakhs could beat them to the topspot with a with over Greece, who had already lost to the group leaders.
It was the 2019 Promotion Finalists who were off the mark quicker, but it took almost the entire first 12 minutes to break down the Greek defence, when Azhikenov fired in the first goal of the game.
After the restart, Greece were more attacking, trying in vain to cut the deficit but striking the post and frustratingly high amount. The second period ended in the same fashion the first had, with Kazakhstan netted, this time through their top scorer Demeshko.
Yershin leapt onto a looping cross to head over the oncoming keeper and make it three in the final period of play. Late goals from Perevyortov and Azhikenov, his second of the match, saw Kazakhstan cruise to victory.
They go level with Lithuania on points, but finish the group stage in first position, securing a ticket to Figueira da Foz and the Promotion Final.
Goals: 0-1: Azhikenov, min. 0 (1); 0-2: Demeshko, min. 1 (2); 0-3: Yershin, min. 7 (3); 0-4: Azhikenov, min. 5 (3); 0-5: Perevyortov, min. 3 (3);
Estonia 4-0 Norway (Group C)
It was top versus bottom in Group C when the already-qualified Estonia took on Norway in the last round of the group stage. The Scandinavians were in desperate need of points to keep their hopes of a place at the Promotion Final alive.
Considering the distance between the two nations in terms of points, Norway held their backline firmly to shut out their Estonian attackers. Eventually, Er. Stuf managed to find the opener with a freekick at the match’s midway point.
The men in white tightened their grip on the match as the second period progressed, when Palm slid in at the back post to turn in a wayward shot and keeper Kotter hit one from range to make it three.
Remmelgas put the final nail in the coffin for Norway with a goal in the last third of the game, taking the result to 4-0, confirming the Vikings as fourth-place finishers.
Estonia will play in the semi-finals tomorrow, where they will no doubt be among the favourites to proceed to the final on Sunday.
Goals: 1-0: Er. Stuf, min. 6 (2); 2-0: Palm, min. 3 (2); 3-0: Kotter, min. 2 (2); 4-0: Remmelgas, min. 1 (3);
Lithuania 3-2 Sweden (Group B)
After having secured their first ever international win the previous day, Sweden’s next test was against Lithuania who, like all the teams in Group B, sat on three points ahead of this tie.
With such an open group, a win today was crucial, and Gustafsson put Sweden in front after five minutes. A slim lead intact, the leaders did well to hold off the Lithuanians who looked likely to equalise at any moment.
The score didn’t change until right at the end of the second period, when a well-worked goal from the men in yellow saw Palmen double the Scandinavian advantage.
But the third period had the Lithuanians suddenly rallying and they blew the Swedes away, as Meškinis, Smolkovas and Levonauskas netted in the space of just five minutes, turning the game on its head in dramatic style to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, all but securing a place in the Promotion Final.
The disheartened Swedes will now have to wait until the end of the day to see if they have done enough to remain in the running for a ticket to Portugal in September.
Goals: 0-1: Gustafsson, min. 7 (1); 0-2: Palmen, min. 0 (2); 1-2: Meškinis, min. 8 (3); 2-2: Smolkovas, min. 5 (3); 3-2: Levonauskas, min. 3 (3);
For full details on the Euro Beach Soccer League Moldova, including standings, fixtures, stats and results, head to beachsoccer.com.