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13 Jul 2014
Russia completes turnaround and wins stage!
Defending European kings head now for Superfinal, together with Spain and Belarus, as Estonia and Azerbaijan secure Promotion final
The 4-1 win for Russia over Spain was a replay of the last FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup final and the three goal difference gave the Russians first place in the group. Spain came out quick and fast but could not get more than the one early goal. Russia remained confident in their abilities and used a dominant final period to put the Spaniards away. The Russians needed a win to advance to the Superfinal with good sensations, which they did, and they needed to do it comfortably to earn the top spot in the stage as a Russian win left Spain, Belarus, and the hosts, all with six points on the weekend. The loss was the first for Spain over the weekend, though they are already secured in the Superfinal. Both teams will not play in the EBSL again until the Superfinal as they both finished their second stage on the season.
Two of the best keepers in the world showed exactly why they are titled as such because their performances in the opening period of this pivotal match kept both teams off the scoreboard. Neither of these teams could be shut down for long and the Spanish were the first to score, making the most of an awkward bounce off the Russian keeper's chest to net the rebound for the 1-0 lead. The Russians, with the home crowd boosting them, scored two goals, back-to-back to give the hosts their first lead of the date at 2-1, which is how the first period would end. The intensity in the second period only escalated thought the Spanish keeper, Dona, was asked to do much more than his Russian counterpart early in the frame. The possession and chances were still in favour of the Russians as the final minutes ticked away in the second but neither side had changed the score and the game was just as tight as ever going into the final break with Russia still up 2-1.
The final period began with Spain upping their chances of scoring by going on the attack and getting better looks at goal. Russia restored the order they had established in the opening periods with another goal to give them the two goal lead before the midway point of the final period. The Tsars began to pile on the goals and added another late goal to give them the three goal lead. La Roja tried to rally with some incredible looks at goal but were unable to make the most of those chances and the Russian maintained their comfortable lead to secure the 4-1 win.
Goals: 0-1: Kuman, min. 6 (1); 1-1: Makarov, min. 2 (1); 2-1: Peremitin, min. 1 (1); 3-1: Krash, min. 8 (3); 4-1: Krash, min. 4 (3).
Belarus holds off big rally to earn Superfinal berth
The 6-5 win for Belarus over Greece was a winner take all match as both teams had the opportunity to make the Superfinal but the loser would get nothing. The game began very tight and the teams exchanged early leads and were tied early in the second period but the Belarusians rode the huge middle frame to take the lead and extend their advantage before holding off a furious comeback by the Greeks in the final period. Greece were playing in their first Euro Beach Soccer League Division A season, they were in Division B last year, and began strong in their opening stage in Sopot, but they were unable to build on that early and surprising momentum. Greece is safe from the Promotion Final but will surely build on this and look to be favourites to earn a spot in the Superfinal in 2015. Belarus began this stage with only one win and could have very well been playing in the Promotion Final, but now, after defeating the two-time defending World Champions Russia, and Greece, they will be heading to the Superfinal.
Belarus began the match playing tentatively and relying on their stifling defense to keep things level, but the Belarusians were the first to score on a ferocious shot from the goalkeeper to take the 1-0 lead. The advantage would not last long as the Greek star, Bertsias, scored on a great shot, from a very acute angle, to end a prolonged Greek scoring drought and tie the game at one. The Hellenic were spurred by their goal and added another goal to take their first lead of the game, though Belarus scored in the final minute to level the score at 2, which is how the period would end. The Belarus National Team took their second lead of the game in the opening minutes of the middle frame and used that confidence to score again to earn the biggest the lead of the match of two goals, early in the period. The scoring continued for Belarus and they added another quick goal, three in three minutes, to take the 5-2 lead into the middle of the second period. Both teams added one more goal and Belarus took a comfortable 6-3 lead into the final break.
The Greeks were malcontent with the score and began the final frame with a flurry of goals and very good shots but the chances did not pay immediate dividends. The Hellenic defense was unable to limit the offensive opportunities for Belarus, though their rearguard bent but did not break as they kept a clean sheet going into the final minutes of the period. Greece methodically marched down the field and calmly headed in another goal to pull to within two goals at 6-4. The excitement was only beginning as the Mediterranean put the ball in the net again to make the score 6-5, just past the midpoint of the period. The shots were non-stop in the final few minutes, and not just from the Greeks, but the score did not change going into the final minute. Greece's defense played spectacularly in the final period, allowing zero goals, however, in the end, the four goal deficit proved to be too much to overcome and the whistle sounded with them down 6-5.
Goals: 1-0: Makarevich, min. 8 (1); 1-1: Bertsias, min. 5 (1); 1-2: Karakasis, min. 1 (1); 2-2: Kanstantsinau, min. 1 (1); 3-2: Bokach, min. 10 (2): 4-2: Bryshtsel, min. 10 (2); 5-2: Slavutsin, min. 9 (2); 6-2: Bryshtsel, min. 6 (2); 6-3: Bertsias, min. 0 (2); 6-4: Triantafyllidis, min. 6 (3); 6-5: Papastathopoulos, min. 5 (3).
Azerbaijan shakes off Moldova for Promotion Final saving win
Azerbaijan played fantastic in a 4-2 win over Moldova that gets them securing a spot at the Promotion Final in Torredembarra in August. Azerbaijan jumped out to an early lead and even held a 3-0 advantage at one point but two quick goals in less than a minute from Moldova gave life to the improbable comeback. The final minutes of the final frame were frantic for both teams but Azerbaijan scored a very late goal to help stop the Moldovan rally. This was the second win for the Azeri, which makes them runner-ups in this Euro Beach Soccer League Moscow 2014 and, consequently, gets them Promotion Final ticket, while Moldova will be on the outside looking in, having earned three points with their lone win coming against Kazakhstan on Saturday.
Shots were fast and furious in the opening period and Azerbaijan, the team from the Land of Fire, struck first midway through the period on a rocket of a volley from Asif. Azerbaijan built on their early momentum and maintained the advantage in possession and shots and were able to add to their lead late with a direct kick goal in the final minutes. The first twelve minutes of action ended with Azerbaijan up 2-0. Very precise passing and distribution were evident in the middle frame and those skills created more and more scoring opportunities that eventually turned into another goal for Azerbaijan, giving them a three goal lead. Moldova was not short on chances but the goals were not coming as Azerbaijan was flying around the ball and employing a suffocating defense. The defense held together and the score stayed the same going into the final break, 3-0 to Azerbaijan.
The Moldovan side were far from finished and in the first few minutes of the final period, they were getting good looks at the goal and taking quality shots but as was the theme throughout, they could not find the back of the net. Everything changed after the initial onslaught of shots, Moldova scored two quick goals to pull within one and put a big scare into the Azerbaijan side. At the midway point of the period, that score remained 3-2 in the favour of Azerbaijan but players were leaving everything on the pitch, diving in front of shots, making desperate tackles, and controlling shots on goal. The intensity grew from both sides as the clock winded down but the Moldavians could not find the equalizer they so desperately needed. Azerbaijan ended the Moldovan hopes for a Promotion Final appearance with a late goal, earning them the 4-2 win after a very late goal.
Goals: 0-1: Asif, min. 6 (1); 0-2: Orkhan, min. 1 (1); 0-3: Amid, min. 8 (2); 1-3: Podlesnov, min. 9 (3); 2-3: Baesu, min. 9 (3); 2-4: Sabir, min. 1 (3).
Kazakhstan shocks Estonia in penalties for 1st ever EBSL win
The 2(3)-2(2) penalties win for Kazakhstan was action-packed with an almost instant opening minute goal from the big underdogs, Kazakhstan, playing in their first every EBSL season. The previous two matches in Moscow had ended in defeat for Kazakhstan while Estonia earned six points and had already secured first place in the group with a head-to-head victory over fellow six-point earners Azerbaijan. Estonia will still be heading to the Promotion Final in Torredembarra in August but now their seeding will be significantly lower. Kazakhstan played tough in every match and deservedly got their first win in their last match against the heavily favored Estonians.
Kazakhstan began the match with emotion and intensity. The energy for The Snow Leopards was a leading reason they scored the first goal in under a minute to take the early 1-0 lead. The opening goal was no fluke as Kazakhstan continued to put shots on goal and even struck the goal post, narrowly missing the chance to add to their lead. At the end of the first period, the equalizer was never found, nor an addition to the lead for Kazakhstan and the period ended 1-0, advantage the Kazakhstan side. The middle frame began much like the first period with efforts coming in from all directions from Kazakhstan, however unlike the first period there was not an early goal. The Blues did a great job of stopping the shots on goal and making sure they did not surrender any more goals. On the flip side, Estonia was not creating many chances of their own and going into the final few minutes of the second period the score had not changed, and the period ended how the first one did, Kazakhstan up 1-0.
The final frame saw Estonia almost immediately knot the score at one but Kazakhstan used a beautiful individual effort from their own Abdrassilov give them the lead once again. The Estonians, having seemed to have finally awoken, quickly responded to score the second equalizer to tie the game at 2, still with over 10 minutes remaining in the match. As the pendulum of momentum continued to swing from one side to another, both sides eyed another goal but midway through the frame, neither side had added to their tally. The Snow Leopards played the more aggressive side going into the final minutes and were putting constant pressure on the Estonians but could not find the decisive final goal, neither could Estonia and the game headed to overtime. The two squads exchanged chances on goal but could not score and the game went into the penalty shoot-out, where the misses by Marmor and Aniko were decisive.
Goals: 1-0: Yerokhnovich, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Tammevali, min. 11 (3); 2-1: Abdrassilov, min. 10 (3); 2-2: Anton, min. 10 (3).
Penalties: Marmor: saved, Abdrassilov: goal, Rump: goal, Yerokhnovich: saved, Tammo: goal, Bogomolov: goal, Saharov: saved, Orazov: saved, Aniko: saved, Alshaxin: goal.
EURO BEACH SOCCER LEAGUE MOSCOW 2014
16:45 – Estonia7-3 Moldova (Division B)
18:00 – Azerbaijan 3-1 Kazakhstan (Division B)
19:15 – Spain 4-1 Belarus (Division A)
20:30 – Greece 0-7 Russia (Division A)
16:45 – Estonia 2-1 Azerbaijan (Division B)
18:00 – Kazakhstan 3-5 Moldova (Division B)
19:15 – Spain 6-0 Greece (Division A)
20:30 – Russia 2-4 Belarus (Division A)
15:45 – Moldova 2-4 Azerbaijan (Division B)
17:00 – Kazakhstan 2(3)-2(2). Estonia (Division B)
18:15 – Belarus 6-5 Greece (Division A)
19:30 – Russia 4-1 Spain (Division A)
Winner Division A: Russia
Winner Division B: Estonia
MVP: Alexey Makarov (RUS)
Top Scorer: Alexey Makarov (RUS) and Ihar Bryshtsel (BLR)
Best goalkeeper: Dona (ESP)