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11 Dec 2018
Senegal and Morocco claim last places in the semis
Eight finally becomes four in the CAF Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations as group stages end
The semi-finals are to be fought between Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal and Morocco, as the last day of group matches decide the final two places.
A decisive victory over Libya saw the defending African champions, Senegal, join their Group B rivals Nigeria in the semi-finals, while Morocco held off a stubborn Madagascar to qualify alongside hosts Egypt in Group A.
Senegal 10-1 Libya
There was a lot at stake in the final match in Group B. The winner of this bout between Senegal and Libya would see a place in the semi-finals confirmed, joining the already qualified Nigerians, as well as hosts, Egypt from Group A.
It was the defending champions who struck the first blow, as a hypnotic piece of team play saw the ball zig-zag across the sand before it was poked home at the far post by Diange. A few minutes later Oumar Sylla’s men saw a fine penalty saved, but Diatta made up for it by grabbing his team’s second.
The number two then completed his brace with three minutes of the period remaining and Senegal, after mounting a few more dangerous attacks, were enjoying a heathy 3-0 lead at the first break.
The second period got underway where the last had left off, with Libya looking vulnerable and the Senegalese showing no signs of stopping the offensive. When they were awarded a freekick, Fall drove home to take the tally to 4-0.
It was another freekick that made it five, when Diouf was fouled near the touchline and showed incredible accuracy to drive the shot into the top corner. As the game past the halfway point, the defending African champs already had one foot in the semi-finals.
To round off the period, Diange claimed a brace of his own by controlling a long throw from his keeper on the chest, and volleying past Hesham in the Libyan net. Then Bleck made it seven just seconds before the second whistle blew.
Diassy got himself on the scoresheet in the third period, after the Libyan defense were caught in possession. Within the space of just a minute, Ndoye made it nine and Raoul hit the tenth, and with less than half of the final period left there was no way back for Ben Mustafa’s Libya, even when Aburaghiga managed to pull one back, taking the score to 10-1.
Senegal join their old rivals Nigeria, as well as hosts Egypt, in the semi-finals for the eighth year running. They would now have to wait for the results from the day’s other deciding matchup between Madagascar and Morocco, to find out who would be the fourth team joining them…
Goals: 1-0: Diange, min. 7 (1); 2-0: Diatta, min. 3 (1); 3-0: Diatta, min. 2 (1); 4-0: Fall, min. 8 (2); 5-0: Diouf, min. 6 (2); 6-0: Diange, min. 1 (2); 7-0: Bleck, min. 0 (2); 8-0: Diassy, min. 7 (3); 9-0: Ndoye, min. 6 (3); 10-0: Raoul, min. 5 (3); 10-1: Aburaghiga, min. 9 (3);
Morocco 6-4 Madagascar
The last group match for both of these teams was an everything-or-nothing match. A win here would see one of them join Nigeria, Senegal and Egypt in the next round, and the other going home.
Despite having all the makings of a tight match, it started off very one-sided. The score was opened very quickly by Iazal, who pounced on a loose ball to grab the lead for Morocco. Not long after, Elkhdym stepped up to double the advantage. Madagascar were looking shaky at the back and would have to come up with something soon if they wanted to keep this tie alive.
But an unstoppable overhead from El Hamidy made it three and when Nassim finished off a great piece of teamwork, the score sat a 4-0, and the Madagascans looked overwhelmed and beaten already.
But there was still time for a comeback, and as the second period began they were playing a different game than they had been in the first. They conceded another early on, but then two quick-fire goals from Angeluc – one being a sublime bicycle kick – saw the deficit cut back to three.
The score was 5-2 and suddenly the 2015 champions didn’t seem so far behind. Another goal for each team, saw the difference stay at just three, and Madagascar were keeping pace with their north African rivals. In the dying seconds of the period, Marcel struck to bring Madagascar within two goals of Morocco.
With just a 12-minute period left, this match was turning into a much closer affair than it first appeared, and the team that lead were on the backfoot for much of the time, but still managed to defiantly hang on to their two-goal advantage until the very end.
The fourth and final spot in the semi-finals went to Morocco, who celebrated wildly, as the Madagascans sunk to the sand in disappointment.
The semi-final matches will be played tomorrow (12th) and Thursday (13th).
Goals: 1-0: Iazal, min. 11 (1); 2-0: Elkhdym, min. 8 (1); 3-0: El Hamidy, min. 4 (1); 4-0: Nassim, min. 2 (1); 5-0: Kerroum, min. 10 (2); 5-1: Angeluc, min. 9 (2); 5-2: Angeluc, min. 9 (2); 6-2: El Hamidy, min. 6 (2); 6-3: Fitana, min. 3 (2); 6-4: Marcel, min. 0 (2);
Egypt 10-3 Côte d’Ivoire
The final match in Group A had little resting on it in terms of making the semi-finals, as the hosts were already qualified after winning their opening two games, and Côte d’Ivoire were already out after losing theirs.
But leaving Sharm El Sheikh with some points would be the prize for victory today for the Ivorians, and at the same time, Egypt were clearly keen to remain unbeaten.
Samir, who had captained the Egyptian side in the Intercontinental Cup in Dubai in the absence of goalkeeper, Fawzy, opened the scoring after just two minutes and the fans cheered their heroes on as they had done so passionately throughout the tournament. But, by way of goal-scoring, that was all the tie offered in the first period, with the pace off the game slowing right down, and speculative long shots being preferred to driving runs.
Mohamad Fawzy between the Egyptian posts was called into action a few times and did well to maintain his side’s slim advantage into the second period. At the restart, H. Taha scored almost immediately, hitting a low shot which took a deflection to double the lead for Egypt.
A minute later he struck again, taking the tally to three and Côte d’Ivoire were falling behind. But the men in white kept fighting and did their best to fight back at their hosts. As the period drew on, each side put away a set piece to maintain the three-goal difference, but the Ivorians were off the mark.
A third from Taha gave Egypt a fifth and one minute later, Kbatsho got himself onto the scoresheet to with a close-range overhead. The hosts showed no courtesy to their guests and were running away with the game.
The third period saw Egypt sustain the pressure, forcing Cocou, the Côte d’Ivoire keeper, into action several times to keep the score unchanged. But eventually, a strike from Mohamed made it 7-1 and a swiveling shot from Costa gave the Ivorian keeper no chance.
Out of nowhere and against the run of play, Djedjed grabbed a brace for Côte d’Ivoire, taking the score to 8-3, but they had left it late to mount a comeback, as the clock showed just one minute of time remaining.
It was time enough, however, for Mohamed to grab a spectacular ninth for the hosts, slamming an overhead home and for Abdoo to follow up a rebound to make it ten.
Unbeaten, and with another ten goals under their belts, Egypt look well-prepared for the semi-finals. Can they do even better than their third-place finish in the 2016 edition?
Goals: 1-0: Samir, min. 9 (1); 2-0: H. Taha, min. 11 (2); 3-0: H. Taha, min. 10 (2); 4-0: Costa, min. 4 (2); 4-1: Aka, min. 3 (2); 5-1: H. Taha, min. 2 (2); 6-1: Kbatsho, min. 2 (2); 7-1: Mohamed, min. 4 (3); 8-1: Costa, min. 3 (3); 8-2: Djedjed, min. 2 (3); 8-3: Djedjed, min. 1 (3); 9-3: Mohamed, min. 1 (3); 10-3: Abdoo, min. 0 (3);
Stay up to date with the results, fixtures and standing of the CAF Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations here.