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19 May 2019
Mexico claim Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship in Puerto Vallarta!
The hosts mount comeback to defeat USA in the final as El Salvador claim third place with victory over Panama
The Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship in Mexico has come to an end with the hosts coming from behind against USA to be crowned kings of Puerto Vallarta.
In the third-place play-off, El Salvador breezed past plucky Panama to claim bronze as a small consolation after being knocked out of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup qualifier on Saturday.
Among the celebrations there was time to recognize the individual brilliance of the players who lit up the tournament with their abilities.
The MVP went to Mexican Ramon Maldonado, while a grand total of 13 goals saw the USA’s Nick Perera take the trophy for being the Top Scorer.
Following a blistering performance in the final, the undeniable winner of the Best Goalkeeper award was Mexico’s Diego Villaseñor.
The Fair Play award went to Panama, and the Young Player award was presented to Exon Perdomo, El Salvador’s top scorer.
This is how the hosts remained undefeated in their home event to lift the trophy as the continent’s champions…
Mexico v USA
Even though both teams had achieved the goal they had set out to achieve – qualification to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2019 in Paraguay – there was still the small matter of deciding the Concacaf champions.
The battle for the continental crown got underway at a subdued pace, with so much defensive talent on the pitch cancelling out the attacks of the other team.
It was always going to be a near-impossible job to keep out the two top scorer of the Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship Puerto Vallarta 2019, and after a neck-and-neck first 11 minutes, the stalemate was broken seconds from the first break when Nick Perera powered in a brilliant overhead.
Ramon Raya gave his men a passionate team talk in the few minutes of rest, and they returned to the sand asking more questions of the United States defense, but were still unable to draw level.
One player in the Mexican ranks who looked most likely to score was the goalkeeper, Villaseñor, having netted a couple of times already in this competition, but the USA piled bodies into the defense to keep his long-range missiles at bay.
In the final period, the big Mexican number one leapt an incredible height to keep the score at just 0-1 and the stands breathed an audible sigh of relief.
The breakthrough came for Mexico not long after, when Mosco converted to draw Raya’s men level.
From then on, it was one-way traffic…
The dam had burst, and Mexico scored five goals in five minutes to leave the USA totally bewildered!
Hernandez scored a seemingly impossible set piece to snatch the lead and then Maldonado met a long throw from Villaseñor on his head to guide the ball over the approaching Toth for number three. Aleman then controlled the ball and spun to shoot - four.
They were gifted number five when Dos Santos illegally intercepted a freekick which was supposed to be direct, and the US were punished with a calmly struck Maldonado penalty. Soon after Aleman saw Toth off his line and hit a long shot to complete the incredible comeback.
A late Nick Perera freekick wasn’t enough to stop the marauding Mexicans, who couldn’t be contained and with the support of the crowd behind them they steadily saw the game out until the very last whistle of the Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship Puerto Vallarta.
The hosts were crowned on home sand, as the US take second. For both teams, their attention will now turn to the big one – the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Paraguay!
Goals: 0-1: Perera, min. 0 (1); 1-1: Mosco, min. 7 (3); 2-1: Hernández, min. 6 (3); 3-1: Maldonado, min. 5 (3); 4-1: Aleman, min. 4 (3); 5-1: Maldonado, min. 3 (3); 5-2: Perera, min. 2 (3); 6-2: Aleman, min. 1 (3);
Panama v El Salvador
After crashing out of the running for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in heartbreaking fashion yesterday, the chance to finish the competition in Puerto Vallarta in third place was the final consolation that these teams could potentially take from the Concacaf qualifiers.
Penalties cruelly knocked out El Salvador the previous day, but they started brightly against Panama on the final day, with Ruiz netting after just three minutes of play.
They maintained the pressure and towards the end of the period Velasquez added a second and El Salvador continued to dominate the possession until the first whistle
Panama looked to be on the back foot going into the second 12 minutes but against the run of play Rafael Garcia netted almost immediately after the restart from a freekick.
However, the goal was disallowed by the referee and the celebrations were cut short. The freekick had to be retaken but the nerves didn’t get to the number nine as he kept his cool to convert the retake bring Panama back into the match.
They were just one behind, but after scoring three against the USA the previous day, Perdomo continued his prolific run to put away a set piece, and then set up a second for Frank Velasquez.
A matter of minutes later, Velasquez secured his hat-trick and Batres pounded in number six and out of nowhere, Panama were trailing by five goals. El Salvador were looking unstoppable.
Their momentum was broken up a little when Perdomo scored at the wrong end after a corner deflected off his body into the net, and then Eliecer Garcia turned in a throw to take it to 3-7.
There was still a substantial gap between the sides going into the final 12 minutes, and the gap was made even wider when an unstoppable overhead was put away by Ramos.
The match ended at 3-8 as Panama just couldn’t hit back against such strong opposition, as EL Salvador claim third place on the final day in Puerto Vallarta.
Goals: 0-1: Ruiz, min. 9 (1); 0-2: Velasquez, min. 2 (1); 1-2: R. Garcia, min. 11 (2); 1-3: Perdomo, min. 8 (2); 1-4: Velasquez, min. 8 (2); 1-5: Velasquez, min. 5 (2); 1-6: Batres, min. 4 (2); 1-7: Ruiz, min. 2 (2); 2-7: Perdomo (OG), min. 2 (2); 3-7: E. Garcia, min. 0 (2); 3-8: Ramos, min. 7 (3);
Saturday 18th May
16:45 – USA 3(5)-(4)3 El Salvador (Semi-final)
18:00 – Mexico 3-0 Panama (Semi-final)
Sunday 19th May
14:15 – Panama 3-8 El Salvador (Third-place play-off)
15:30 - Mexico 2-6 USA (FINAL)