Image credit: Gevorg Ghazaryan
In the last game of their group, South Ossetia faced Szekely Land at Askeran. The sides were in two very different places; South Ossetia needed to win to secure a place in the semi finals; Szekely Land, after losing the first two games, only now have the placement matches to look forward to. The team, which hasn’t scored a single goal so far in the tournament, and has shipped 9, was looking to finish the European Football Cup 2019 with a win.
In the first moments, South Ossetia took control of the game but it was Szekley Land who got close to opening the scoring: in the 20th minute, Balint collected a ball at the edge of the area, but his shot went inches wide. Five minutes later, South Ossetia get close to breaking the deadlock. The Szekely Land keeper failed to collect an easy cross, and the ball landed at Beteev’s feet… who incredibly misses the target.
On the counter, Szkely Land almost made it 1-0 – but the ball was saved on the line. And the first half finished with a shot from long range by Djudjoev, which ends up a few inches away from the goal, leaving the match poised at 0-0.
Only seven minutes after the second half begins, and Szekely Land score. Right back Ghinea dribbles past three South Ossetia players before delivering the ball into the area. Vekas receives the ball and shoots: 1-0 for Szekely Land.
The response from South Ossetia arrived in the 63rd minute. A shot deflected becames an assist for Beteev. The striker incredibly misses the target, and the ball flies over the crossbar. Two minutes later, Szekely Land had two big chances to double the lead. First the volley shot from Benko-Biro hits the crossbar, and one minute later, the South Ossetia keeper is called on to make a miracle save on a shot from inside the box.
With 72 minutes on the clock, South Ossetia finally gets the equaliser. A cross comes in from the right which finds Gurtsiev; his header is precise enough to beat the keeper and level the score.
The goal enlivens South Ossetia, which creates a couple of chances but the players are not able to convert them. Surprisingly, Szekely Land go ahead again. On a counter attack, the men in blue attack, the keeper saves – but Kovacs is able to tap it in. The team’s 2-1 lead lasts only a matter of seconds as Gurtsiev finds himself in front of the keeper and makes it 2-2 in the 83rd minute.
The final minutes of the game saw both sides trying to find the winner. But it’s not enough; the match ends 2-2.