Beach Soccer Worldwide – DUBAI, The final day of the group stages saw a third win for Brazil and Iran as Egypt take the last qualification place.
Iran against Russia was one of the day’s more competitive games as neither had lost and a winning streak was at stake. On top of that, both of these teams were previous winners of the tournament and had already qualified for the next round.
It took a while for the sides to break the stalemate and it was obvious from the kick off that neither wanted to blink first in this clash of beach soccer giants.
The 2013 competition winners, Iran, drew first blood as Akbari knocked the ball home from a corner with just a minute of the first period to go. The Russians mounted aggressive attacks in response but almost immediately after the first came a second Iran goal when Piramoun also got on the scoresheet.
The second period began with the Russian trailing and with a task on their hands to get back into the tie. The prolific Russians that had scored so many in the previous games could not break through. It wasn’t until the third period when Romanov pounced to cut the deadlock to just one that Russians came alive.
Then, who else but Zemskov – scoring his eighth goal of the tournament! – equalised and the Russian supporters exploded in celebration.
However, the level-pegging didn’t last long as the Iranian men in red found their champion in Behzadpour, who netted what would be the winner, and the other half of the stands, with just four minutes to go, started a party of their own.
Russia thought they’d equalised late on when Zemskov scored again but the referee, deeming that he had pushed the goalkeeper to the ground in the build-up, discounted it, and Iran, after having a goal of their own disallowed earlier on, were saved.
The Persians top the group as Russia finish in second.