Six goals saw the hosts overrun Slovakia in their opening match to go top of Group A
Victories for Moldova, Estonia and Greece see them top the groups after Day 1 in Chisinau, while Czech Republic and Kazakhstan also won for three points, but sit just behind their group mates.
It was the perfect start for Moldova in their opening match of the Euro Beach Soccer League Division B Regular Stage in Chisinau, as they hit six and claimed the only clean sheet of the day.
Estonia scored the most goals, putting eight past Norway in the first game of the day, and their captain Kristian Marmor leads the scoring charts after his hat-trick on Day 1.
Slovakia 0-6 Moldova (Group A)
The hosts welcomed Slovakia to their state-of-the-art beach soccer stadium in their opening match of the EBSL Moldova on Wednesday.
The Moldovan keepers may have been the busier of the two in the opening period, and they took the lead through star striker Ignat, who rose brilliantly to nod in a long throw, provoking a raucous applause from the stands.
Having crowds back in the stadium – of course following the regulations and advice of the local government and health organisations – made all the difference to the local side, as every shot and save was greeted with cheers of delight.
In the second period, captain Cojocari smashed in two brilliant goals to have the fans on their feet twice more before the second whistle and Slovakia, after having started strongly, were very much on the back foot.
They hit the woodwork on several occasions but the breakthrough never came, and Podlesnov slotted in a fourth for the rampant Moldova. Negara and Gurjui took Moldova’s final score to 6-0, a perfect start for the host team, who go top of Group A.
Goals: 0-1: Ignat, min. 3 (1); 0-2: Cojocari, min. 9 (2); 0-3: Cojocari, min. 6 (2); 0-4: Podlesnov, min. 3 (3); 0-5: Negara, min. 3 (3); 0-6: Gurjui, min. 1 (3);
Romania 3-8 Estonia (Group C)
The Euro Beach Soccer League Division B Regular stage got underway in Moldova when two sides who had met in the group stage of the European Qualifier for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup went head to head in the opening match.
Estonia had edged that meeting just over a month ago with an extra time winner, and they were off the mark quicker in this match too, as captain Marmor struck from distance with just seconds of the opening period left.
Stuf slotted away a freekick as soon as the next period began and Romania, who had made it all the way to the Promotion Final in 2018 only to lose on penalties against Germany, found themselves trailing by three goals going into the final period after Marmor smashed in his second.
The Tricolorii rallied in the last 12 minutes, with Boata, Voica and Andrescu finding the net but defensive errors at the other end saw Sooaluste, Alavali, Rahnik, Nommiko and a third from Marmor take the match beyond a Romanian comeback.
With eight goals in the final third, the match finished 3-8 as Estonia clinch an opening three points to see them move to top of Group C ahead of Norway and Czech Republic’s game later in the day.
Goals: 0-1: Marmor, min. 0 (1); 0-2: Stuf, min. 11 (2); 0-3: Marmor, min. 2 (2); 0-4: Marmor, min. 10 (3); 1-4: Boata, min. 5 (3); 1-5: Sooaluste, min. 5 (3); 2-5: Voica, min. 4 (3); 2-6: Alavali, min. 3 (3); 2-7: Rahnik, min. 2 (3); 3-7: Andrescu, min. 2 (3); 3-8: Nommiko, min. 1 (3);
Kazakhstan 4-3 Lithuania (Group B)
Group B’s opening match took no time at all to burst into brilliant beach soccer life, despite the almost 40 degree heat, as the Kazakh talisman Demeshko fired in the first goal after just seconds of play.
Novickov equalised midway through the period and then goals from Navickas and Makazhanov kept the scores tied until the final seconds of the period where Levonauskas hit a brilliant strike to snatch the lead before the first whistle.
Perevyortov’s goals was the only one of the second period, but it was crucial for Bulat Alynov’s Kazakhstan as they found themselves level going into the last period. After a rampant opening section of play, the flow of goals stopped and a stalemate ensued between the closely-matched nations.
Eventually a sumptuous finish from Makazhanov saw the Kazakh number 15 curl his second of the match into the top corner of the Lithuanian net and clinch an essential three points on Day 1.
Goals: 1-0: Demeshko, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Novickov, min. 5 (1); 1-2: Navickas, min. 2 (1); 2-2: Makazhanov, min. 1 (1); 2-3: Levonauskas, min. 0 (1); 3-3: Perevyortov, min. 1 (2); 4-3: Makazhanov, min. 4 (3);
Norway 1-6 Czech Republic (Group C)
The most northerly country at the Euro Beach Soccer League Moldova suffered in the near 40-degree heat on Day 1 in Chisinau, and neither they nor their Czech rivals were able to break the deadlock in the opening period, as the goalkeepers kept the nets undisturbed.
But who else to break the deadlock than Czech captain Thomas Hurab, who beat the goalkeeper to a loose ball and turn it home to take the lead in the second period.
Vales doubled the advantage two minutes later, and then Jerabek hit a brilliant overhead which rattled in off the post, and in a matter of minutes the Norwegians found themselves trailing by three.
A Trampota double in the final period put the game well out of Viking reach, but there was still time for last-minute goals from Vales and, a small consolation for the Scandinavians, a bobbling strike from captain Elverum.
Martin Dlouhy’s men took the win though, and they go level on points with Estonia in Group C.
Goals: 0-1: Hurab, min. 5 (2); 0-2: Vales, min. 3 (2); 0-3: Jerabek, min. 0 (2); 0-4: Trampota, min. 5 (3); 0-5: Trampota, min. 2 (3); 0-6: Vales, min. 0 (3); 1-6: Elverum, min. 0 (3);
Sweden 1-4 Greece (Group B)
Sweden, who had made their international debut at the European Qualifiers for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup just last month, went up against Greece in their opening game in Moldova.
A veteran EBSL nation, Stefano Soilemes’ men went ahead at the period’s midway point through a stunning, box-to-box strike from captain Triantafyllidis. Sweden did well to keep the men in white out and went close to equalising on several occasions.
Their lack of finishing ability cost them when Mikelatos poked in a second for Greece from close range, but at 2-0 Sweden were still in the game.
The third period saw Katsoulis net two fantastic goals, the second a looping header from a seemingly-impossible angle, while Grandberg managed to pull one back for the Swedes by way of a consolation.
A tight match, but Greece hung on to the lead to go level with their Kazakh groupmates on points, but top the group after Day 1 on goal difference.
Goals: 0-1: Triantafyllidis, min. 6 (1); 0-2: Mikelatos, min. 6 (2); 0-3: Katsoulis, min. 3 (3); 1-3: Grandberg, min. 0 (3); 1-4: Katsoulis, min. 0 (3);
For full details on the Euro Beach Soccer League Moldova, including standings, fixtures, stats and results, head to beachsoccer.com.