UAE oust Italy to stay in hunt; Spain down Japan, Iran post win - GulfToday

UAE oust Italy to stay in hunt; Spain down Japan, Iran post win

UAE oust Italy to stay in hunt; Spain down Japan, Iran post win

UAE players celebrate after winning their Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup match against Italy in Dubai on Wednesday.

UAE knocked Italy out of the Intercontinental Cup with two extra time goals to keep their own hopes of glory in Dubai alive.

Italy had been shaken by their shock defeat to Japan yesterday, while UAE had looked confident against La Roja. But with neither having scored any points, both were in real need of a win.

The Emirati players possibly smelt blood after witnessing Japan put six past the Azzurri in Friday’s match, and pressed throughout the opening section of play and eventually broke the deadlock when Ahmed Beshr and the captain Walid powered two past Del Mestre in the space of one minute.

The Italians found themselves on the backfoot as the second period started, and things got worse for them as Kamal blasted in number three. In the end, it was luck that gifted Italy their opener as Ramacciotti’s weak shot bounced on the sand to loop over the committed keeper.

Giordani put away a freekick and it looked as if the Italians had turned the momentum around, but Ali converted to restore the two-goal cushion going into the final period.

The minutes ticked by and just when it seemed that hope was lost for the 2018 European champions, Percia Montani blasted in two sublime strikes within seconds of each other to make it 4-4. But yet again, the locals didn’t lose faith and both Ahmed Beshr and Ali Mohammad netted a second goal each to inflict a second 6-4 loss on Italy in as many days.

Del Duca’s men are now out of the running for the Intercontinental Cup with hopes are still alive for Mohamed Al Mazmi’s men.

Meanwhile, Spain just managed to hold on to their lead until the final whistle to overtake Japan in the group at the Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup  on Wednesday.

The first day of the Intercontinental Cup saw Japan down Italy to many people’s surprise, and it was Ruy Ramos’ men who struck first against another European powerhouse on day two.

Matsuda rifled in an overhead from close-range midway through the opening period but Chiky burst down the left flank to slot a low effort home, leveling up just before the break. Score remained untouched in the second period as shots bounced off posts and gloves at both ends.

The game went into the final period with the sides still tensely tied but a cool Javi Torres finish finally broke the deadlock. Minutes late David Ardil joined his brother Salvador (Chiky) on the scoresheet, volleying in from inside the box to make it three. A late surge from Japan saw Oba bag his third of the tournament, but it was nothing more than a consolation as Spain held on to their slim lead to go above Japan with four points.

In another match, the defending champions proved clinical in front of goal as they held off their Mexican rivals to bag an early three points.

Iran kicked off their seventh consecutive appearance at the Intercontinental Cup against Mexico, with title retention in their sights.

It was the 2018 champions who scored first when captain Ahmadzadeh hit a rebounding save past the outstretched Villaseñor. Mexico hit back through Maldonado and soon after Vizcarra put them ahead with a confident finish.

Mokhtari leveled up before the break and then turned the match around to give Iran the lead not long after the restart. The looming figure of Akbari powered in number four to give the Persians a two-goal cushion going into the third and final period.

Masoumi and Ahmadzadeh took hope of a late comeback away from the Mexicans with late goals but there was just time for El Tri keeper Villaseñor to have the final say in the tie, taking the score to 7-4 with a freekick from his penalty box, despite the points going to the reigning champions.

Earlier, Russia come from behind to grab three points after falling behind twice in the first period, Russia overturned Egypt to take their first win in Dubai.

The three-time winners of the Intercontinental Cup in Dubai took on Egypt in the first match in Group B and judging by their past success, the Russians were another of the favourite going into the 2019 edition.

It was, however, the Egyptians who struck first when Shika glided in from the flank to smash a volley past Chuzhkov but a very similar goal saw the giant figure of Raskin level up for Russia.

Mohamed powered in a brilliant overhead to make it 2-1 but like clockwork the action was copied by the Russian number three, Novikov. With literally one second of the opening period left, Raskin pounced on a defensive error to snatch the lead for the Russians.

The former world champions seemed to have warmed up by the beginning of the second period, as Pavlenko rifled in a set piece and two minutes later Viktor Kryshanov hit number four for Ilya Leonov’s side.

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