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07 Sep 2019
Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan to contend Promotion Final
Late Hungary strike sends Kazakhs into Promotion Final while Azerbaijan qualify from Group 1
Azerbaijan swept aside Czech Republic to regain hope of playing in Division A again next season, while Kazakhstan have their Hungarian group mates to thank for their place in Sunday’s showdown.
Romania managed to beat a stubborn Estonia but it wasn’t enough to secure a second year in the final, as Greece, who looked all set for a triumphant return to the top league, underperformed against Hungary to open the door for a grateful Kazakh team.
Greece 2-3 Hungary (Group 2)
Greece were a win away from making Sunday’s Promotion Final and potentially regaining the Division A status they lost in 2017.
But Hungary struck first as Besenyei hit a deflected shot past Thomas and they managed to hang on until the first whistle with their slight advantage intact.
Kafantaris swiveled to stick an equalizer in at the near post but once again, Hungary weren’t far behind, this time gifted a goal with an error from Thomas on the goaline.
In the final period, captain Triantafyllidis calmly converted a penalty when his team really needed it. The Greeks were level with eight minutes to play, and with the momentum in their favour, they were playing as if they would go on and win this match.
But the winner never came for Gialesakis’ men, in fact, Rutai buried a long-range freekick to clinch the three points for Hungary, and the Kazakhstan squad in the stands celebrated wildly.
Disappointment for Greece, a bitter-sweet ending for Hungary and elation for Kazakhstan, who will meet with the Group 1 winners in tomorrow’s showdown for Division A status.
Goals: 0-1: Besenyei, min. 6 (1); 1-1: Kafantaris, min. 10 (2); 1-2: Rutai, min. 8 (2); 2-2: Triantafyllidis, min. 8 (3); 2-3: Rutai, min. 1 (3);
Azerbaijan 6-1 Czech Republic (Group 1)
Czech Republic hopes of promotion to Division A had been dashed but a win for Azerbaijan would see them retain their precious A-status.
Just as he had done the previous day, Sabir gave the men from the Land of Fire the lead, polishing off a quick one-two by rifling the ball into the top corner.
The second period saw them move up an attacking gear as Amid bagged two in a minute and then Ramil converted a penalty to make it four.
Another penalty in the final third was converted, this time by Vyhnal, to get the Czechs underway but goals from Ramil, a fine volley at the far post, and Abdul, a brilliant diving glanced header across the keeper, took the score to 6-1.
With such a mountain to climb, Czech heads dropped as the minutes ticked away, and by the time the final whistle went they were well-beaten and Azerbaijan take up a well-deserved place in Sunday’s Promotion Final.
Goals: 1-0: Sabir, min. 11 (1); 2-0: Amid, min. 10 (2); 3-0: Amid, min. 9 (2); 4-0: Ramil, min. 8 (2); 4-1: Vyhnal , min. 7 (3); 5-1: Ramil , min. 7 (3); 6-1: Abdul , min. 3 (3);
Georgia 4-6 Kazakhstan (Group 2)
Kazakhstan grasped their last points at stake in the last group matchday of the Promotion Final, following a consistent win over Georgia, and they equal Greece atop the standings in Group 2.
The Kazakhs will now need a +2 goal difference by Hungary over Greece to get into the Promotion Final decider.
Despite the first minutes being fairly balanced, with Kokoladze equalizing Perevyorton's opener, the Kazakhs took control of things before the first period was over, thanks to Abylay and Muralinov's efforts.
Azikhenov and Perevyorton, who bagged his second goal of the morning, widened the gap in the last period making the Georgian reaction impossible. Kokolade pulled one back for his side, only to find Muralinov restore the four-goal difference.
The latter two hits by Georgia fell short of a comeback, and the win and the three points went into Kazakh hands, who will now wait to see if everything goes their way in the game between Hungary and Greece.
Goals:0-1: Perevyorton, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Kokoladze, min 6(1); 1-2: Abylay, min. 2(1); 1-3: Muralinov, min. 1(1); 1-4: Azhikenov, min. 9(2); 1-5, Perevyorton, min. 8(2); 2-5: Kokoladze,min. 3 (3); 3-5: Makharadze ,min. 2 (3); 3-6: Muralinov, min. 1(3); 4-6: Ivaniadze, min. 0(3)
Romania 4-3 Estonia (Group 1)
There was still all to play for in Group 1, as each side had won once and lost once. However, Estonia had dropped a point after being taken to extra time by Azerbaijan and therefore were at a slight disadvantage to the rest.
Lepik got them off the mark midway through the first period, netting his fifth of the competition but Benciu drove in a shot to level up before the break.
The sides struggled to break through each other’s defensive lines, but Romanian keeper Neag found a way, by going over it, sending a rocket right past the Estonians to blast his side ahead.
In the dying moments of the second period, Benciu leapt on a rebounded save to scramble in a third for Romania, but a calm Palm penalty pulled Estonia back to 3-2 going into the final third.
Florea retook a two-goal lead for Daniel Petcu’s men with a freekick. However, they had a nervy final minute when Stuf pulled the difference back to just one but Romania rode the pressure out to take their group stage total to six points.
They now had to wait to see if they had done enough to make the Promotion Final.
Goals: 0-1: Lepik, min. 5 (1); 1-1: Benciu, min. 3 (1); 2-1: Neag, min. 4 (2); 3-1: Benciu, min. 2 (2); 3-2: Palm, min. 1 (2); 4-2: Florea, min. 10 (3); 4-3: Stuf, min. 0 (3);
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