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20 Dec 2015
Cote d'Ivoire dismantles competition for 2nd consecutive title
The hosts finished strong to earn second place while Lebanon and England round out the top 4 in Lagos
Nigeria ends tournament on high-note and in second place overall
The 7-4 victory for Nigeria over Lebanon had tension throughout but calmer nerves prevailed for the hosts as they used a big second period to roll to victory. The Nigerians struck first but there was a resiliency to the Lebanese side that many teams do not have. Lebanon responded with their own rally to take a 3-2 lead but it was then the Sand Eagles turn to shift the tables, taking a lead at 4-3 which they would not relinquish. Lebanon kept things interesting throughout and in the final minutes they scored again to keep Nigeria on their toes, but that would not be enough to change their fate. Nigeria was able to hold off most of the attacks and earn their second win of the weekend. The triumph for Nigeria gives them six points as well and leaves them in second place at the BSWW Tour Copa Lagos. Lebanon won their opening match in Lagos but were not able to earn another win, however they did finish in the thick of things, in third place, among some great teams.
Nigeria knew they could not return as champions this year but they had their fans behind them and they had played a great overall tournament, so it was no surprise when the Sand Eagles scored first, sending the crowd into a frenzy. The home crowd joy did not last long as the Cedars quickly gathered themselves and replied with two quick goals of their own, leaving the score at 2-1 for the Asian side as the period approached the midway point. The scoring never seemed to end and all of the crowd, as well as the players, were excited for the action. Facing another one goal deficit, the Nigerians replied with two more of their own goals to take a 3-2 lead but despite two goals from Tale, the hosts could not contain M. Merhi for Lebanon who also had two first period strikes. The tug-of-war match continued until the first period ended with Nigeria up by a score of 4-3. Nigeria started the second period on a tear and took the biggest lead of the day for either team, at three goals as the Sand Eagles took a 6-3 advantage, heading into the heart of the match. The teams' scoring rampage slowed and the score would not change, staying at 6-3, going into the final break.
The second period was a perfect 12 minutes for Nigeria as they scored, albeit twice, and shut out the visiting side, which is no small feat considering the Cedars of Lebanon had just tallied three goals in the first quarter alone. The final period was a little bit of the same and a little bit different, but still unique, like every beach soccer period. Nigeria continued to impress with their defense but they did have a slip-up when Lebanon scored their fourth of the match to breathe life into their side. The score stayed at 6-4 for Nigeria, as the game went into the all dramatic final minutes. The drama and fairy tale comeback ended and fell short when the final whistle signaled the 7-4 Nigerian win.
Goals: 1-0: Abu, min. 11 (1); 1-1: A. Garada, min. 8 (1); 1-2: M. Merhi, min. 7 (1); 2-2: Tale, min. 3 (1); 3-2: Tale, min. 2 (3); 3-3: M. Merhi, min. 2 (1); 4-3: Ifeanyi, min. 1 (1); 5-3: Abu, min. 10 (2); 6-3: Abu, min. 9 (2); 6-4 : H. Adullah, min. 6 (3); 7-4: Abu, min. 0 (3).
Cote d'Ivoire guts out win to finish unbeaten
The 6-4 win for the Cote d'Ivoire over England included the expected, unexpected, goals, misses and saves as well as drama. The game also hinged upon an age-old debate, whether or not to take a red card in your own penalty area to prevent an immediate goal from being scored. Analytically, it is the correct call because as slim as the chances are, a missed penalty kick is possible. This happened to England in the middle 12 minutes, cutting the Sand Elephants deficit to one goal and that ended up shifting all remaining momentum to the defending BSWW Tour Copa Lagos champion African side. The win was the third in three chances for the Ivory Coast and leaves them as the only undefeated side in this years' event. England was unable to get a win over the weekend but they impressed, and spectacularly at moments, in their three games. England finished fourth in the tournament and Cote d'Ivoire repeats as champion.
The Ivory Coast already had two wins in two matches and they wanted to make sure and finish the Copa Lagos with the maximum possible nine points. England was determined in each match and though they were not able to capitalize on all their attempts, they were still a dangerous team. Cote d'Ivoire started with the first goal, which could have been predicted, but the English quickly responded on a direct kick, low and bobbling, from Day, to level the score at 1-1, before the midway point in the period. If there is one thing you can expect from England, it is a goal from Day and he made sure not to disappoint when he scored again, shouldering the scoring load for the Three Lions, and putting the score at 2-1 for the Europeans. Clarke then added another goal, which he is well-known for also, to push the lead to 3-1 going into the final minutes of the frame. The score would not change and the period ended with England up 3-1. Goals were almost as abundant in the middle frame but the Elephants scored twice compared to England's one, to finish the frame with a score of 4-3 for England.
The English side still held the lead over the African team but all the momentum belonged to the Cote d'Ivoire as the final period opened. The momentum did not matter, or no one told the English as the score remained the same, 4-3 to the good, for England going into the last half of the period. England gave up many chances in the first two periods but the Ivory Coast was not able to capitalize on all of them, giving England the chance to build their lead, but as the third period progressed, those quality chances were being stopped. Just because the chances slowed for the Elephants did not mean that they were not able to score, just that they were making better use of the opportunities and after tying and taking the lead for the first time since the opening minutes of the opening frame, they hung on for the 6-4 win.
Goals: 1-0: Ballo, min. 10 (1); 1-1: Day, min. 7 (1); 1-2: Day, min. 5 (1); 1-3: Clarke, min. 4 (1); 2-3: Daniel, min. 11 (2); 2-4: Clarke, min. 9 (2); 3-4: Daniel, min. 4 (2); 4-4: Kablan, min. 4 (3); 5-4: Djedjed, min. 3 (3); 6-4: Kablan, min. 1 (3).
BSWW TOUR COPA LAGOS 2015
12:45 - Kano Pillars 3-8 Shooting Stars (Exhibition)
14:00 – FC Barcelona 9-2 Pespi FA (Exhibitiion)
15:15 - Cote d'Ivoire 6-4 England
16:30 - Nigeria 7-4 Lebanon
Winner: Cote d'Ivoire
Third Place: Lebanon
Fourth Place: England
Best Goalkeeper: Oladepo (Nigeria)
Top-Scorer: M. Mehri (Lebanon)
MVP: Kablan (Cote d'Ivoire)