Dubai: Waleed Beshr was the hero of the day as the UAE completed a hat-trick of third places at the 2019 Dubai Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup that concluded at Jumeirah’s Kite Beach late on Saturday.
Pitted against former three-time champions Russia, the home side dug in deep for a consolation 2-1 extra-time win with Beshr scoring both goals and along with it handing out a third sport for the third time in the nine-year history of this annual competition.
The match started on a rather slow and drab note with Russia enjoying superiority in possession while the hosts preferred to lie back and mount their attacks. After a couple of missed chances from Ahmad Beshr and Abbas Ali the home team took the lead when a clever Waleed Beshr pounced on a back pass meant for goalkeeper Denis Parkhomenko and banged home midway through the opening period.
After that lone goal, the UAE boys defended their narrow lead with much gusto. However, they let their guard down with 0.7 seconds left for the final whistle for Boris Nikonorov to volley home the equaliser and send the match into extra-time for the fifth successive time for the hosts.
Thrown into extra-time for the fifth successive time in as many days, it was the older of the Beshr brothers sending in a long distance free kick with just 1.26 minutes remaining for the extra-time to end.
In their two previous appearances here, Asian champions Japan had only managed a couple of seventh places. But on Saturday, they handed out a 7-2 drubbing to Egypt to take a consolation fifth spot. Skipper Ozu Moreira blasted in the first after four minutes and then Shusei Yamauchi and Masanori Okuyama pushed the lead to 3-0 heading into the second period.
Egypt tried to fight back with Moustafa Shaaban’s brace bringing things alive but Japan clamped down in their defence and two quick strikes from Kosuke Matsuda and Takaaki Oba ensured an easy win for Ruy Ramos’ Samurai.
In an earlier match, Emmanuele Zurlo scored a brace as Italy brushed aside Mexico 3-2 to take seventh place as the South Americans ended at the bottom of the eight-team standings.
Mexico 2-3 Italy (7th place play-off)
Japan 7-2 Egypt (5th place)
Russia 1 UAE 2 extra-time (3rd place)
Spain vs Iran (Final)