Players of Oman and the UAE in action during their Neom Beach Soccer Cup match in Saudi Arabia on Thursday.
The Egyptian National team landed at this Neom Beach Soccer Cup in full strength, as they proved today with a big 7-0 win over China in their first game in the competition.
Moustafa Sasa, with a hat-trick, lead the attacking operations for a Pharaohs team that jumps straight to the top of the table in Group A.
Egypt are one of teams having led a more consistent growth during recent years, and which was clearly on display in their match against the Chinese national team. The Pharaohs controlled the game all throughout, almost deciding when and how to do harm on their opponent.
Shika and Sasa, swept the African side 2-0 ahead six minutes into the game. Without letting the team Dragon react, two more goals, again by Thursday’s main protagonist Sasa and Kbatsho, doubled the distance, making it 4-0 by the end of the second leg.
Things would not get better for China in the last period, either. Three more hits by Egypt confirmed the comfortable win for the Pharaohs, who will fight hosts Saudi Arabia for a place in the final.
Earlier, Oman secured two points after making debut at the event.
Sami Al Bulushi was in hand for the Omani against the UAE, and with four goals became Thalib Hilal’s most efficient weapon.
As could be expected in a clash facing two of the best teams in the whole Asian continent, the match was a fiercely contested battle all throughout, and none of the teams managed to build a significant lead.
Bulushi put Oman ahead just seconds into the game, having UAE trailing for most of the period. Ahmed Beshr could equalise before the end of the period, but things would happen exactly the same way as the second period unfolded: another goal by Bulushi, and Oman increasing the lead 2-0.
The UAE reaction was more intense this way, as Abbas and Humaid not only equalized the score but got the Emirati ahead for the first (and last) time in the game. Before that second leg was over, Bulushi would punish UAE’s nets for the third time to leave things three apiece.
Just as it had happened in the previous two periods, Oman took an early advantage in the third, thanks to Bulushi again. This time, minutes went by, and it seemed that Oman would clinch the three points, but in the last minute of the game, Ali Kozad sent the game onto extra time with a dramatic equaliser.
In that supplementary period, though, Mushel and Eid took the scoring baton Bulushi had brought for the whole game, and secured the win for the Omani side.
Six team including Argentina, England, China, Egypt, UAE and hosts Saudi Arabia are competing in the inaugural beach soccer competition.
The event promises to be a pioneering step into Saudi beach soccer, and one that will hopefully return to the rapidly developing city for many years.
Meanwhile, the last qualifying event for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay began in Moscow with opening ceremony at the Luzhniki Stadium.
The 16-team line-up for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019 will be completed in Russia.
20 teams, split into five groups of four, will contest a group phase, with the top three teams in each section and the best fourth-placed side advancing to a knockout round.
The eight survivors from that round will be divided into two groups of four. The top-side in each group will go through to the final, while the two runners-up will play off for third place. These four countries and the winners of the match for fifth place will advance to the World Cup.
Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Russia and Italy are the pick of the pack and were the five top seeds in the draw. Of the 15 other countries, only France (four appearances), Ukraine (three) and Poland (two) know what it means to play in a Beach Soccer World Cup. Meanwhile, Belarus, Germany, Hungary and Turkey are four sides capable of giving anyone a fight. The quartet have shown sustained improvement, though they have enjoyed contrasting fortunes against the game’s big guns and have yet to appear at the World Cup.
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