Portual, Tahiti, and Russia all win their first matches to go along with an Egyptian victory over the hosts
Tahiti diligent in handling Iran on opening day
The 4-2 victory for Tahiti over Iran was just how the Oceanic team planned. Well minus not getting a shut-out, of course. Coming into the match, both teams knew that goals would be hard to come by, nearly eight in every beach soccer match, because they have two stunningly talented goalies. Tahiti hit their stride first and basically never looked back. The game was filled with acrobatic saves and smart goalie play, which limited the offensive chances, but the goals that did come were textbook beach soccer goals; passing, bicycles kicks, no-look passes, and one-timers. Tahiti was steady in their offense and defense and they fought through a very competitive Iranian side to earn the points in their tough group. Tahiti will next face Mexico on Wednesday, looking to seize control of Group B. Iran will hope for a rebound and their first win on Wednesday, against Portugal.
Iran and Tahiti are both two of the best teams in the world and they have offensive strikers to prove it but more importantly, their goal stoppers are arguable the two best on the sand. Jo and Hosseini, of Tahiti and Iran, respectively, were able to keep the score even in the early going of the match, and not through soft saves, they were needed to make their signature tough stops. The Tahitian was eventually able to break through, just past the midway point in the frame but they were not finished there as they tacked on another, to take a 2-0 lead into the second period. The defenses maintained a strong influence on the match, with the score sitting at 2-0 going into the final minutes of the middle frame, but that is when the Tiki Toa found pay dirt again. The goal from Bennett was brilliantly orchestrated as the Tahitians used aerial passing and ball control to move down the field, which was capitalized by their captain with an overhead kick that would be tough for a literal wall to have stopped. Tahiti confidently headed into the final break, up by a score of 3-0.
Three goals nothing to come back from in beach soccer and Iran set out to prove that. The Lions of the Atlas scored first in the closing period and cut the lead to 3-1, while also eliminating Jo’s shot at his first shut-out in the Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup Dubai. The consolation for the Tahitian goalkeeper was that his teammates had is back, so to speak, and scored quickly to maintain the three goal advantage. Iran made things interesting late when they added another goal to get back to within two goals, but the Tahitian National Selection was not easily rattled and they were able to settle into a safe defense and hold on for the 4-2 win.
Goals: 1-0: Taiarui, min. 5 (1); 2-0: Labaste, min. 3 (1); 3-0: Bennett, min. 4 (2); 3-1: M. Ahmadzadeh, min. 11 (3); 4-1: Bennett, min. 10 (3); 4-2: M. Ahmadzadeh, min. 1 (3).
Russia marches way to opening victory
The 5-1 win for Russia over Argentina was a display of Russian power as they were in control throughout the match. Argentina matched the early intensity of the Russian side despite an almost instantaneous goal from Russia. The score stayed at 1-0 until the final minutes of the period, when Russia added another goal to take the 2-0 lead. Once again, Argentina did well to keep Russia from tallying many goals, but it always seemed as though Russia could score when they needed it, which happened again, three more times over the final 24 minutes. To go along with one goal from Argentina, the 5-1 match was perfect for Russia to try and regain the Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup. Russia will take on Egypt on day two of the event, while Argentina will look for their first win against the UAE.
Russia has been around the block and they know how to start a match, as well as finish it, but the opening period in this one was all Russia, and played at their speed. The Big Red Beach Machine scored first in the period, and only a kick on the restart could have come sooner, but Argentina shored up their defense and were ready to get on the board. That did not happen, in the first period, and the Russians added a late goal in the first 12 minutes, to go up 2-0 heading into the first break. The second period saw Argentina increase their offensive output but it did not affect the immediate score and the score sat at 2-0 for the European side, going into the last minutes of the period. The frame seemed destined for the final frame with the score 2-0 but the Russians made sure that they added to their lead and the score was 3-0 going into the last frame.
The Albiceleste were not done yet and they got back into the match when they netted their first goal of the day in the opening minute of the closing frame. The Russians then tried to further attack the Argentine Selection but the goal may have rattled them a bit as they missed two very good chances which could have all but put away the South American side. The score stayed at 3-1 going into the heart of the period. Russia settled their nerves and focused on a more defensive strategy and it worked, as the score stayed the same, 3-1 going into the final minutes of the match. Argentina pressed and got good looks at goal but it was the Russian who was able to keep the Argentineans from getting any closer. In fact, it was the Russian offense who took over again, finishing the game with another two goals, leaving them up 5-1 when the final whistle was blown.
Goals: 1-0: Makarov, min. 11 (1); 2-0: Shishin, min. 3 (1); 3-0: Krash, min. 0 (2); 3-1: Minici, min. 11 (3); 4-1: Gorchinskiy, min. 1 (3); 5-1:Makarov, min. 0 (3).
Egypt strikes late to upend hosts
The 3-2 win for Egypt over the UAE was tight from whistle to whistle and even in the end, neither side was able to definitively assert themselves. The Egyptians struck first on a timely strike to end the opening period, but a scoreless second period meant that the hosts could use a dramatic final 12 minutes to try and secure the victory but it was the visitors who came up biggest at the last moments. The final period was when the Emirati struck, going up by one over the Pharaohs, but the Egyptians scored the last two goals to earn three points. The win gives Egypt their first win in Dubai and the three points will be needed as they try and advance out of their group with Russia and Argentina. The UAE will take on Argentina on Wednesday. The loss for the UAE was a necessary one as they have been riding high coming into this event, and they will look to continue this stretch against Russia on Wednesday.
A loud fan base for the hosts did not slow the Egyptians as they scored first to silence the crowd and give them the needed confidence to push through the UAE. The hosts hit back but not after the rest of the first period went scoreless, leaving the Egyptians up 1-0 after the first. The second period started exactly how the Emirati wanted and needed, with a quick goal. With the score level at 1-1, the game was back to the back-and-forth struggle that made the drama even better for the fans. The goalies made sure that they did not lose the match for their side and they stopped all of the remaining shots, meaning the score stayed at 1-1 going into the last period.
The hosts tried to ignite their fan base, which they did, with their go-ahead goal and it was their first lead of the match, going up 2-1. The lead did not last long as the offenses had come alive and the African side scored the equalizer and that seemed to calm down the Egyptians. With the game knotted again, Egypt put their game plans back in place and that lead directly to the final goal of the match, putting them up 3-2. All three of the final goals came within five minutes of each other and the end of the match. The referees signaled the end of the match and it was the guests who secured the 3-2 win.
Goals: 0-1: A. Aboserie, min. 0 (1); 1-1: Ali Karim, min. 11 (2); 2-1: Walid, min. 5 (3); 2-2: M. Gamal, min. 1 (3); 2-3: M. Gamal, min. 0 (3).
World champions Portugal continue unprecedented run with win
The 5-3 win for Portugal over Mexico was not as close as the final score indicates but the current FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup title holders did pull away just enough to secure the win and the first three points of the Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup Dubai 2015. The first period was not as quick as the Portuguese normally like to play but the tempo fit the Mexicans’ style just fine The European side eventually used big pushes in the second and third frames to pull away. The win gives Portugal an opening win as they are well on their way to another finals appearance and perhaps win in 2015. Mexico played well in stretches but they will need to pick up the pace and piece together an entire match as they look forward to their Wednesday clash against Tahiti. Portugal will next play Iran in the days’ finale on Wednesday.
Mexico started with a stout defense and were able to keep the Portuguese side down for much of the first period but late in the frame, things changes. Portugal opened up the scoring and delighted the fans with an excellent goal from Torres and the strike put the score at 1-0. The remainder of the first 12 minutes were played to a draw and Portugal held the 1-0 lead going into the middle frame. The second period began with the World Cup champions flexing their muscles and scoring their second goal, this one from Belchior, and early in the frame. Two more strikes hit the back of the net but only one was for the leaders, the last goal of the frame was for the Tri Coloe and it put the score at 3-1 for Portugal as the final break rolled around.
Portugal did not feel safe with the slim two goal lead, so they leaned on their leader, Madjer, to bring the lead back up to three goals, at 4-1. Portugal tacked on another goal to create their biggest gap of the day at 4-1, but it was far from over at that point. The North American squad showed spirit and started their comeback march. First with a single goal, then another and all the while they were quieting the Portugal Selection. The score sat at 5-3 late in the match, but it would not be enough to get the win for Mexico and when the final buzzer sounded, the score remained 5-3 for Portugal.
Goals: 1-0: Torres, min. 4 (1); 2-0: Belchior, min. 10 (2); 3-0: Coimbra, min. 8 (2); 3-1: Gomez, min. 3 (2); 4-1: Madjer, min. 10 (3); 5-1: Belchior, min. 9 (3);5-2: Ch. Hernandez, min. 3 (3); 5-3: G. Gomez, min. 3 (3).
SAMSUNG BEACH SOCCER INTERCONTINENTAL CUP DUBAI 2015
16:15 – Portugal 5-3 Mexico (Group B)
17:30 – UAE 2-3 Egypt (Group A)
18:45 – Russia 5-1 Argentina (Group A)
20:00 – Tahiti 4-2 Iran (Group B)
16:15 – Mexico vs. Tahiti (Group B)
17:30 – Argentina vs. UAE (Group A)
18:45 – Egypt vs. Russia (Group A)
20:00 – Iran vs. Portugal (Group B)