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05 Sep 2019
Estonia dent Azerbaijan hopes of Division A status retention
The Promotion Final gets underway with wins for Hungary, Romania, Greece and Estonia
The biggest victory of the day saw Hungary defeat Georgia by five goals to one to go top of Group 2, while Estonia damage Azerbaiajani plans of playing in Divison A next season.
Romania fought hard for their three points against Czech Republic and Greece hung on to deny a Kazakhstani comeback, bagging an early win, ending the day in second only to Hungary on goal difference.
Estonia 4-3 Azerbaijan (Group 1) *AET
This match saw the last-minute replacements of Bulgaria, Estonia, take on the Division A side, Azerbaijan, who were battling in the Promotion Final to keep that status going into next year.
The match was tight, worryingly so for Azerbaijan, and brilliant saves at both ends kept the scoreboard unchanged going into the first break.
In the second stage, defensive confusion in the box saw Lepik capitalise for Estonia, placing a shot into the roof of the net past the stranded defenders and keeper. Vagif made up for his earlier error by getting Azerbaijan back on level terms with long shot from between his own goalposts.
The tension rose as the match continued into the final period, with both teams clearly believing they could clinch the win here. It was the goalkeepers who were proving the more dangerous goal-scorers for Azerbaijan, and Elchin picked his spot to power in their number two to take the lead.
But before long, Lepik found himself in space on the wing to drive in a leveler for Estonia. Renat thought he’d won it when he looped a header in off the far post with a minute on the clock but straight from the restart, yet another equalizer came as captain Munskind pounded a volley between the defender and keeper guarding the Azerbaijani goal-line.
It was in extra time that a winner was finally chosen, when Lepik ghosted in at the far post to head in a corner, completed his hat-trick and win the game. Two points in the bag for Estonia, but disaster for Azerbaijan…
Goals: 1-0: Lepik, min. 10 (2); 1-1: Vagif, min. 5 (2); 1-2: Elchin, min. 9 (3); 2-2: Lepik, min. 7 (3); 2-3: Renat, min. 1 (3); 3-3: Munskind, min. 1 (3); 4-3: Lepik, min. 0 (ET);
Hungary 5-1 Georgia (Group 2)
The battle for a precious place among the big boys in Division A commenced in Figueira da Foz as Georgia faced Hungary who were, as of yet, unbeaten in the 2019 Euro Beach Soccer League.
Wirth smashed a close-range shot against the bar and an infortune rebound saw Georgian captain Todadze unable to avoid turning into his own net within the opening minute.
Rutai then powered in number two and just a minute later the overwhelmed Georgians found themselves three behind, as captain Fekete struck an unstoppable overhead. There was just time for Genczler to get his name on the scoresheet too before the first break.
Nikoloz Todadze’s Georgians increased the offensive but couldn’t find the net until the dying stages of the match when Tchvritidze drove a low shot home. However, Bartha had already hit number five for Hungary and, despite letting their clean sheet slip, the men in white took a vital early three points.
Goals: 1-0: Todadze, min. 11 (1); 2-0: Rutai, min. 6 (1); 3-0: Fekete, min. 5 (1); 4-0: Genczler, min. 2 (1); 5-0: Bartha, min. 4 (3); 5-1: Tchvritidze, min. 3 (3);
Czech Republic 2-4 Romania (Group 1)
The first game in the Promotion Final Group 1 saw last year’s finalists Romanian take on Czech Republic, who had enjoyed a particularly strong campaign to make it to Figueira da Foz.
The Czechs took the lead through Vales but before the first whistle the Romanians had turned the game round with sweet strikes from goalkeeper Neag and Zaharia.
Some scrambling and goal-line clearances kept Martin Dlouhy’s men in charge through into the second period but Czech Republic were only a goal behind and looked threatening. They deservedly drew level when Tomas Hurab sent a low freekick whizzing across the sand to make it 2-2.
Just before the second whistle sounded, Florea spun to turn in number three for Romania, snatching the lead back as the sides entered the final period. The number nine then hit another, this time a freekick from a dangerously close distance, beating Patrik Malina between the Czech sticks to seal the points.
Andrei-Paul Neag was in inspired form, not only scoring a goal but pulling off incredible saves, including a late penalty, to keep the three points safe until the final whistle.
Goals: 1-0: Vales, min. 5 (1); 1-1: Neag, min. 4 (1); 1-2: Zaharia, min. 2 (1); 2-2: Hurab, min. 9 (2); 2-3: Florea, min. 2 (2); 2-4: Florea, min. 3 (3);
Kazakhstan 3-5 Greece (Group 2)
Hungary had swept aside Georgia in Group 2’s first game, and now it was Kazakhstan or Greece’s turn to join them at the top of the group.
An open and closely fought first period almost ended goalless but Papastathop struck in the final stages to nick the lead just before the whistle.
Then, early in the second period, captain Triantafyllid picked the defender’s pocket to toe-poke number two into the net, doubling the advantage for Gialesakis’ men. Soon after, Kafantaris caught a long throw on the half-volley to make it three with a sweet strike.
Kazakhstan were being left behind as the clinical Greeks took a firmer grip on the tie, and a second volley from Kafantaris made it four going into the final period.
Perevyorto got Kazakhstan off the mark with a calm hit from the middle of the pitch, but they were still three behind until, that is, Demeshko found the top corner with a sublime effort and when Chornyy saves a penalty it looked as if the tide had turned…
Muralinov netted number three for the Kazakhs just seconds later, pulling them back to just a single goal behind! However, that man Kafantaris was on hand to quell the Kazakh comeback, scoring a brilliant goal to make it 3.5, and secure all three points.
Goals: 0-1: Papastathop, min. 3 (1); 0-2: Triantafyllid, min. 10 (2); 0-3: Kafantaris, min. 6 (2); 0-4: Kafantaris, min. 2 (2); 1-4: Perevyorto, min. 9 (3); 2-4: Demeshko, min. 6 (3); 3-4: Muralinov, min. 6 (3); 3-5: Kafantaris, min. 1 (3);
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