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22 Jun 2018
Wins for Ukraine, Portugal, Italy and Azerbaijan in Day One
The hosts, Azerbaijan, prove too strong for the French and Ukraine see off Switzerland in a tight opening game.
The Euro Beach Soccer League is finally here! Day one in Baku saw four normal time wins, with four teams still looking to pick up their first points in tomorrow fixtures as well as one player marking the tournament's opening game as his 300th international match.
The first game kicked off at 14:45 local time, when the Swiss met Ukraine…
Switzerland v Ukraine
It was a special day for the Swiss today, as they met Ukraine on the Azerbaijani sand. Their number nine, Stankovic, marked his 300th cap for his country and before the game started he was presented with a commemorative shirt, with the number 300 printed on the back.
Within three minutes, Korniichuk managed to get on the end of a through ball to poke Ukraine ahead, and suddenly the Swiss were trailing. They created some strong chances in an attempt to close the gap but it took until the last minute for them to find a reply, when Borer scored a brace within a matter of seconds.
The second goal came after a bizarre misjudgement by the keeper, on which the Swiss number three pounced, giving his team the lead before the first whistle. The pace of the game continued into the second period and after equalising through Medved, Ukraine found themselves leading once again when Korniichuk completed a brace of his own. The second whistle blew and the score stood at 3-3 with everything to play for in the third period.
Makeiev got just enough of a touch on a throw from his own goalkeeper to put off the Swiss opposite number, Valentin, and nudge the Ukraine ahead in the third period. A third from Korniichuk to complete his hat-trick put the finishing touches to a strong Ukrainian performance, and the Swiss, despite pulling one back in the final minute, were just edged out by a single goal.
Goals: 0-1: Korniichuk, min. 9 (1); 1-1: Borer, min. 0 (1); 2-1: Borer, min. 0 (1); 2-2: Medved, min. 9 (2); 2-3: Korniichuk, min. 6 (2); 3-3: Ott, min. 4 (2); 3-4: Makeiev, min. 7 (3); 3-5: Korniichuk, min. 2 (3); 4-5: Ott, min. 1 (3);
Portugal v Belarus
Today's second match saw a thrilling contest between two teams that look on top of their game. There was just one goal in it in the end, and Portugal get their first three points of the Euro Beach Soccer League 2018.
The first period started with Chaikouski nicking an early advantage for Belarus in the eighth minute, but Portugal were quick to respond through Coimbra. However, the Mario Narciso's men were on the back foot once more as the Belarusian captain, Bryshtsel, saw his overhead shot turn into an assist as Savic poked it in at the far post.
Going into the first break with a 2-1 lead, Nicolas Alvarado was the happier of the two coaches. Despite some good chances at both ends of the pitch, the scoreline remained unchanged until four minutes before the second whistle when Coimbra found the net for a second time to draw Portugal level. Makarevick pulled off a fine stop with just seconds to go to keep Belarus on level terms going into the third period.
But, with just seven seconds of the third period gone, Leo Martins got on the end of a sublime piece of Portuguese team work to slot his shot through the keeper's legs and put them ahead. They fought hard to maintain this lead, and Andrade was in inspired form between the sticks, as the last period stretched on. Although they came close, Belarus just couldn't get past a solid defence and keeper combination and Portugal managed to clinch all three points.
Goals: 0-1: Chaikouski, min. 8 (1); 1-1: Coimbra, min. 5 (1); 1-2: Savic, min. 4 (1); 2-2: Coimbra, min. 4 (2); 3-2: Leo Martins, min. 11 (3);
Germany v Italy
The Euro Beach Soccer League started well for Italy as they breezed past Germany to victory. The day's third fixture started slowly, neither team willing to commit to full blown attack and the goalkeepers were very involved in build-up play rather than shot stopping. The end of the first period saw the score board still reading 0-0 and the teams went into the first break with everything still to play for.
But when Gori won a freekick within thirty seconds of the second period, he made no mistake in despatching it, with the hard and low strike deflecting into the net off the post. It seemed that this inspired his team to drive on, as Dario Ramacciotti smashed in a volley from a corner, just a minute later.
Germany suddenly found themselves two behind and in need of a decent response to stay in the game but, as the second period ticked on, Zurlo also grabbed himself a goal for Italy. The Italians were running away with the game and went into the second break with a 3-0 advantage.
It would have taken an inspired performance from Matteo Marucci's men in the third period to bring this fixture back, but unfortunately for them they just didn't have it in them. Germany will have to wait until tomorrow for their next chance of picking up some points.
Goals: 0-1: Gori, min. 11 (2); 0-2: Ramacciotti, min. 10 (2); 0-3: Zurlo, min. 2 (2);
France v Azerbaijan
The host proved too much for France who wasted some good chances but were outplayed by their superior opposition. After mounting persistent attacks, the host nation kicked us off with a volleyed rocket of a goal from Asif, in the fifth minute. The first period finished with Azerbaijan enjoying a slender lead on home sand, as well as the support of the spectators.
They took another step closer to victory as Abdul floated a side-footed volley over Cianni in the French goal, to double the advantage in the seventh minute of the second period. The French kept on pressing but they weren't as clinical in front of goal as their challengers, which cost them in the second period.
Eventually, Gerard Sergent's team found the net through Barbotti. The number ten scrambled in a corner at the back post and the French were back in the game with eight minutes to go.
Then, a few seconds after the restart, a blatant handball from Ilkin earned a yellow card for him, and a dangerously close-range freekick for France. It looked like they were about to draw level but Barbotti couldn't convert, and another chance was wasted. Pressing their advantage, Asif helped himself to a brace at the other end with a close-range header, and then went on to make it a hat-trick with three minutes to go, putting a comeback beyond the French.
Three points are in the bag for Azerbaijan on home sand, whilst the French will have to try again in tomorrow's match up against Portugal.
Goals: 0-1: Asif, min. 5 (1); 0-2: Abdul, min. 7 (2); 1-2: Barbotti, min. 8 (3); 1-3: Asif, min. 5 (3); 1-4: Asif, min. 3 (3);
To see the standings, results and fixtures of the Euro Beach Soccer League, click here.
Remember that you can watch all of the Euro Beach Soccer League Baku 2018 games LIVE on the Beach Soccer Worldwide website.