The knock-out stage of the 2016 CONIFA World Football Cup began on Wednesday, with two games in Sukhum. Check out our full match wraps below.
Northern Cyprus 1 – 1 United Koreans of Japan (Northern Cyprus won 4-2 on penalties), Sukhum
There was heartbreak at Dinamo Stadium for the United Koreans of Japan, after they lost to tournament heavyweights Northern Cyprus on penalties. Despite being the better team for the latter part of the game, two saved spot-kicks consigned the Koreans to placement games while Northern Cyprus proceeded to the semi-final.
FC Korea midfielder On Songtae was distraught following the loss: “I am very disappointed. We had more chances than our opposition, and played much better than during our first two games of the tournament. But we just could not convert opportunities – that was our problem today.”
Northern Cyprus will now face Abkhazia in the second semi-final on Saturday.
Abkhazia 2 – 0 Sapmi, Sukhum
Abkhazia have affirmed their status as tournament favourites with another commanding win in Sukhum, putting two goals past Sapmi in the evening game. A goalkeeper error on a corner allowed Abkhazia in for the opener midway through the first-half, before a late penalty sealed the win.
Sapmi coach Morten Pedersen, who had a lengthy professional career across Europe, fronted the press following his side’s loss. “The atmosphere was perfect for such an important match,” Pedersen explained. “I was hoping we could keep the game level until half-time, and then the home side would start to feel some pressure, but they scored a lucky goal and the game got away from us.”
Pedersen’s side were given perhaps the toughest route to #Abkhazia2016 triumph after finishing second in their group. Asked whether he considered his side unfortunate to play hosts Abkhazia so early in the knock-out rounds, the coach did not look for excuses. “This is what happens when you do not win your group,” Pedersen continued. “I am glad we could play Abkhazia, in front of such a great audience, but I am very disappointed we were unable to hold them out and convert our chances.”
For Abkhazia coach Beslan Adjinjal, a third consecutive win only cemented his confidence in the team’s ability to secure the 2016 World Football Cup trophy. “We are absolutely confident of continuing our winning run,” he affirmed. “We are at home here, and everything is pushing us to victory.”
On Thursday 2 May, Kurdistan face Padania in the third quarter-final at 3pm local time (GMT+3). Panjab then tackle Western Armenia at 8pm local time to decide the last semi-final place. Both games are in Sukhum. Gagra then hosts two placement games: Chagos Islands v Somaliland (11am local time) and Szekely Land v Raetia (3pm local time). Watch all games live on SolidTango or follow match updates on MobStats. Also be sure to follow our tournament updates on social media: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.