The 2016 CONIFA World Football Cup began in style on Sunday, with four action-packed games providing plenty of excitement for local and visiting fans. Check out our full match wraps below.
Padania 1 – 2 Northern Cyprus, Gagra
Two heavyweight teams offered an excellent advertisement for the CONIFA World Football Cup, with Northern Cyprus overturning a first-half deficit with two quick goals to beat Padania in the opening game.
Padania manager Arturo Merlo explained following the match: “We come here as the European Champions of CONIFA. I was pleased with the initial performance, but we could not find an equaliser. Tomorrow we need a win.”
Kurdistan 3 – 0 Székely Land, Sukhum
Kurdistan opened their account at the CONIFA World Football Cup in impressive form, defeating a spirited Székely Land in Sukhum. After an even first-half, the physically fitter Kurds overwhelmed their Szeklers opponents to take victory at the Dinamo Stadium.
Farhang Wirya, Farhan Shokor and Huner Ahmed each scored a goal apiece in the win, cementing Kurdistan’s position as one of the tournament favourites.
Somaliland 0 – 5 Sapmi, Gagra
Sapmi showed their footballing class in Gagra, running out 5-0 winners over Somaliland. Sapmi coach Morten Pedersen, who had a lengthy playing career in the Bundesliga and with Norwegian side Tromso, said: “We scored some really nice goals today. We tried to stretch them and make them tired, and our plan worked.”
Despite the result, Somaliland centre-back Guiled Aden spoke highly of his time so far in Abkhazia. “We are very disappointed to lose our first game,” he said. “For most of us this is our first game playing together, and to lose our goalkeeper to injury at 0-1 was challenging. But we are loving the country and the people, and having a great time.”
Abkhazia 9 – 0 Chagos Islands, Sukhum
Host team Abkhazia recorded a dominant victory over the Chagos Islands in front of a packed local crowd in Sukhum. After creating some early chances, the Chagossians conceded a penalty and had a player sent off. This opened the goal-scoring floodgates for Abkhazia, who proceeded to control the remainder of the game.
In a heart-warming conclusion to the game, the Chagos Islands team were cheered off the pitch by the local Abkhazian fans.
On Monday 30 May, Székely Land tackle the United Koreans of Japan, the Chagos Islands face Western Armenia, Padania and Raetia clash while Panjab squares off against Sapmi. Watch live on SolidTango or follow match updates on MobStats.