Iran and UAE steal thunder at Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup Dubai

Russia and Switzerland end up on losing side in finals

Iran and hosts UAE stole the thunder at the Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup held in Dubai when outsmarted their more illustrious European rivals on Saturday night.

UAE came from behind to pull off a spectacular 8-7 win in the third place tie which was a perfect prelude to the final which saw Iran dethrone two-time defending Intercontinental Cup champions Russia 4-3.

Mexico began the evening with a 3-2 win over Morocco to gain seventh place while Brazil stepped up the tempo with a 7-5 extra time win over Italy in the fifth place encounter.

Switzerland went in front through two early goals by Ott who also converted a penalty and were 3-1 up  after the second period with Hasan Ali finding the net for UAE.

The hosts found their bearings in the final period when Hassan Ali and Beshr converted two penalties in quick succession to draw parity.

It was a thrilling see-saw contest thereafter with UAE fighting back tenaciously drawing level at 4-4 and 7-7 before Ali Karim headed home the winner with a minute remaining in the contest.

Iranian fans literally brought the roof down at the Dubai International Marine Club complex which was packed to capacity long before the final began.

Iran struck first on a magnificent delivery, from one of the best keepers of the tournament, P. Hosseini, to M. Ahmadzadeh who used a flick header to get the shot past the Russian keeper.

The energy was almost too much to handle as both sides were feeding off of the excited and loud fans in the jam-packed stadium.

Iran maintained the one goal lead going into the middle of the first frame despite Russia having more chances on goal.

That changed when another great delivery from a goalie led to the next goal, this time it was Russia, with Bukhlitskiy feeding Peremitin for the equaliser. The period came to an end with no more goals and a score of 1-1.

Excitement was non-stop in the opening minutes of the middle frame though neither team could crack the other's defence.

The first goal of the period came in the final minutes on a direct kick by the Iranians because of a costly error by the Russia keeper who held the ball for too long.

The two-time defending World Cup champions took advantage of an Iranian error only a minute later to tie the game again. The period ended tied, 2-2.

Ahmadzadeh, who was later adjudged the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, brought the Iranian fans roaring back when he netted from the kick-off with a bullet kick. Ali Naderi added another for a two-goal cushion when he tapped in a simple cross from the left flank.

However, in the final minutes, Iran made a big mistake with an own goal that put Russia right back in the mix.

Iran continued to attack and saw many more scoring chances but were unable to add to their slim one goal lead.

The final minute was full of relentless action and with 15 seconds left a penalty was awarded to Russia after an Iranian hand ball, but Shishin unexpectedly kicked the penalty wide.

The 4-3 victory over Russia for Iran gives them their first Intercontinental Cup title.

Russia had not lost a single match at the Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup until this third edition and now they have lost two, both to Iran.

Results:

Morocco 2-3 Mexico (7th Place Match)
Brazil 7-5 (aet) Italy (5th Place Match)
UAE 8-7 Switzerland (3rd Place Match)
Iran 4-3 Russia (Final)

Final Standings:
1. Iran
2. Russia
3. UAE
4. Switzerland
5. Brazil
6. Italy
7. Mexico
8. Morocco

Individual Awards:
Best Goalkeeper: Andrey Bukhlitskiy (Russia)
Top Goal Scorer: Dejan Stankovic (Switzerland)
MVP: M. Ahmadzadeh (Iran)

 

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