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28 Mar 2015
Oman become new Asian Champions!!
The Omani side upset Japan in the final of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2015 – AFC Qualifier Qatar to claim their first-ever continental crown
This night will be stuck for long in the memories of all players, coaches and supporters of the Oman Beach Soccer National Team… And so it will, unfortunately for them, in the Japanese’s one, after Goto saw Haitham deny his penalty kick attempt, as well as their chances to get the crown back.
With that much at stake, Japan and Oman chose a more conservative approach, sitting back and protecting their goal with as much spirit as they could. Hani’s opener, only two minutes into the game, seemed to anticipate a busy evening for the goalkeepers, but the truth is that it took Japan a real while to equalize the score. It was not until the end of the second period that Ozu, the tournament’s MVP, managed to balance things back.
Both contenders seemed to tight even a bit more their defensive line, acknowledging that one single goal could block their way to the cup. And despite both of them were already qualified to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, they did not want to miss the chance of getting on top of the Asian Beach Soccer.
Minutes went by and Oman seemed closer to the goal, even hitting the wood with a long-range attempt by Yahya, but seconds ticked down and the score remained untouched. The three minutes of extra time were not enough to discern who would be the new Asian kings, either, and only the penalty kick shootout was left. From the 9-meters line, the Omani stayed perfect to write a golden page in their history, clinching the cup in this FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2015 – AFC Qualifier Doha.
Goals: 1-0: Hani, min. 10 (1); 1-1: Ozu, min. 0 (2)
Penalty kick shootout: Hani, in; Ozu, in; Mandhar, in; Makino, in; Yahya, in; Goto, saved by Haitham.
Iran ecstatic for World Cup after 3rd place win
The 8-3 win for Iran over Lebanon was never really in doubt, but the Lebanese side was never too far out and refused to give in. Iran raced to the early lead and never looked back. Lebanon crawled back into the match on multiple occasions but every time they did, Iran was prepared for a counter and had all the right answers. Both teams knew that a win would send them to the World Cup and the energy, not just from the crowd, but from the teams as well, seemed make matter that much more tense and fun at the same time. The big victory gives Iran 3rd place and sends them to Portugal for the 2015 World Cup. Lebanon surprised some with how far they made it, but their improved play and fitness shows that they are a team to be reckoned with in the future. Lebanon finishes the Qualifier in 4th place.
If there was any disappointment from the Lebanese and Iranian semi-final losses on Friday, you could not see it on the pitch because for all the heartbreak, they both still knew a win would put them into the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015 in July. The Cedars of Lebanon were asking all the questions early, but lucky for the Princes of Persia, they have one of the Worlds’ best goalkeepers in P. Hosseini, who kept things level at 0 going into the final minutes of the period. Another thing going for Iran was that they have players that can score from anywhere on the pitch and a great chip that unfortunately touched a Lebanese player just before going in, gave Iran the 1-0 lead. A last minute goal from the Iranians gave them a 2-0 lead going into the second period. The middle frame added even more excitement with the Princes of Persia doubled their lead but the Lebanese clawed back and got to within three on a long distance shot from the goalie that put the score at 4-1 for Iran. Lebanon added one more, drawing to within two goals, before Iran closed the period with another goal and a 5-2 lead.
The match was far from over and Lebanon began the final frame just as they would have liked, with an early to pull back to within two goals, at 5-3. The scare pushed the Iranians to attack that much more, and they used the third goal from Ahmadzadeh to restore a comfortable three goal lead. To make sure the Lebanese did not dream of a big comeback, the Iranians then scored on a penalty to get back to their biggest lead of the day, four goals, at 7-3. The Cedars of Lebanon scratched and clawed and tried to get back in the match, but they were unable to close the gap and they match ended with Iran gleefully claiming the 8-3 win.
Goals: 0-1: H. El Jaafil (o.g.), min. 3 (1); 0-2: M. Mokhtari, min. 0 (1); 0-3: A. Naderi, min. 11 (2); 0-4: M. Ahmadzadeh, min. 9 (2); 1-4: M. Choker, min. 7 (2); 2-4: H. Fattal, min. 4 (2); 2-5: M. Ahmadzadeh, min. 3 (2); 3-5: M. Merhi, min. 10 (3); 3-6: M. Ahmadzadeh, min. 8 (3); 3-7: A. Naderi, min. 7 (3); 3-8: M. Ahmadzadeh, min. 3 (3).
The UAE safely navigates to 5th place over China
The 5-1 win for the UAE over China was very convincing after a quick opening period, then a very sound defensive strategy that nearly shut-out the Dragons. Three quick goals sent the Chinese reeling in the opening frame, but only one goal in second period for the Falcons left the game just in sight, albeit far, for China. The Emirati did not let up, however, and still pressed and did their best to keep China from mounting any sort of big comeback. The win gives the UAE 5th place in the qualifier, which will be taken into account in the BSWW Overall World Rankings, however they will not be heading to Portugal for the next FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. China nearly turned this tournament into a big coming out party for their selection, but some bad bounces, coupled with close losses leaves them in 6th place. In such a spectacular gathering of Asian and World powers in beach soccer, making it through to the quarterfinals is a tremendous feat.
As with most great rivalries, China and the UAE push each other to be better, and the early minutes of this match was different. The Emirati struck early and twice, to take the 2-0 lead, however the resiliency of China was evident when they began pushing back and were it not for a couple bounces and saves off the line, they would have tied the game, almost immediately. A last second turnover by the Chinese put the UAE up 3-0 going into the first break. The second began much like first, with the Falcons looking comfortable and on the attack. Momentum and confidence grew for the United Arab Emirates as they notched a 4th goal on a spectacular finish from M. Alzaabi, leaving the score at 4-0 going into the heart of the match. The score remained the same as both teams settled a little more and headed to the final period with the UAE up 4-0.
The Dragons needed to get back into proceedings and a slew of early saves from their goalie made it seem like they could, but the Chinese could not withstand all of the splendid attacks, eventually conceding the fifth goal of the match. The long and arduous comeback trail began for China a few minutes later when Fu X J slotted home a shot that pulled China to within 5-1. Giving up the goal seemed to irritate the UAE and they tried to tighten their hold on the match, but it did not lead to more goals, but it created for some great defense and acrobatic saves. When the final whistle sounded, the UAE was up 5-1, securing 5th place.
Goals: 0-1: Ali Karim, min. 8 (1); 0-2: Haitham, min. 6 (1); 0-3: Haitham, min. 0 (1); 0-4: M. Alzaabi, min. 8 (2); 0-5: Haitham, min. 11 (3); 1-5: Fu X J, min. 7 (3).
Overtime needed to deem Bahrain 7th place
The 3-2 overtime win for Bahrain over Uzbekistan was thrilling and tightly contested from whistle to whistle. Uzbekistan jumped out front, twice, but Bahrain continued fighting and each time they leveled the score, with the 3rd period goal being very dramatic, sending the game to the extra frame. Overtime was a microcosm of the entire match, very back-and-forth, some great defense, and some unlucky misses and chances. With just over a minute left, the Bahraini went ahead for the first time all day and held on for the 3-2 win. The win gives Bahrain 7th place after a very respectable tournament from them. Uzbekistan also impressed and finished in 8th place.
Uzbekistan and Bahrain both had overachieved in this FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2015 – AFC Qualifier, but at the same time, both could have very well qualified for the semi-finals with a little luck. The White Wolves and the Reds showed flashes and glimpses of the quality, and in the very least, the vast improvement of beach soccer on the continent. The match opened with the Uzbekistani turning a favourable bounce from shot that ricocheted of their own goal post, and turned it into a goal on the opposite end. The fortunes for the Bahraini changed when they used a great bounce to on a diving shot to level things at 1 apiece. Uzbekistan added another goal, a late strike from Irismetov, his second of the period, to give his team the 2-1 lead going into the first break. Defenses stepped up in the middle frame as it went scoreless, and the two sides headed into the final period with Uzbekistan up 2-1.
The crossbar proved to be an enemy of Bahrain as they had multiple shots hit off the frame and narrowly miss beating the Uzbekistan keeper. The score remained the same as the match progressed and tension built with each passing second. The Reds needed at least one goal to tie proceedings, however the White Wolves needed some insurance goals, at the minimum, 1, for a safety cushion. The equalizer came on a defensive mix-up, leading to a goal from Khaled, adding to the late game drama. Nothing could be settled in regular time and the remainder of the period was played to stalemate and the teams went into overtime tied at 2. Overtime was played at slow pace, but waiting for the perfect moment, Bahrain pushed and found their spot, using a last minute goal from Thani to secure the 3-2 overtime win for the Reds.
Goals: 1-0: Irismetov, min. 6 (1); 1-1: Mohamed, min. 4 (1); 2-1: Irismetov, min. 1 (1); 2-2: Khaled, min. 4 (3); 2-3: Thani, min. 1 (et).
FC Barcelona offers brilliant beach soccer display in Doha
Just before the final, the FC Barcelona beach soccer team delighted the local crowd in a game against the host Natioanla side, Qatar. The catalan giants brought on all their beach soccer magic in Doha, and ended up beating the Qatari side (11-1), in a match that showcased some truly excellent beac hsoccer.
FIFA BEACH SOCCER WORLD CUP 2015 – AFC QUALIFIER QATAR
15:00 –China 1-5 UAE (5th Place Match)
16:15 – Uzbekistan 2-3 (aet) Bahrain (7th Place Match)
17:30 – Lebanon vs. Iran (3rd Place Match)
18:45 – FC Barcelona 11-1 Qatar (Friendly)
20:00 - Oman 1(3-1(2). Japan (Final)
3rd place: Iran*
4th Place: Lebanon
*Qualified for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015
MVP: Ozu (JPN)
Top Scorer: Goto (JPN)
Best Gk: Hosseini (IRN)