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June 9, 2018

WFC 2018 Recap – Day 6 (June 9)

Click the links below or scroll down to view the Day 4 Match Reports:


Karpatalya - Northern Cyprus

Karpatalya 0 (3)-(2) 0 Northern Cyprus

There was a lively, celebratory atmosphere at Enfield’s evocative Art Deco ground. Fans were assembling on the grassy banks surrounding the stadium in spite of the June drizzle, eager to get a glimpse of this most unique of finals.

Or perhaps they were perched there to avoid the Karpatalyan fans, who let off a steady stream of flares, coloured in the red-white-green of the Hungarian flag. Northern Cyprus had their own response: their kit man, his hair dyed in the national colours, ran around the pitch, goading the massed Karpatalyan ranks.

The two sides had already met in the group stage, playing out a 1-1 draw that gave us no clues for the final. What we did know is that Karpatalya had been shorn of goalscorers Zsolt Gajdos and György Sándor through injury, who had helped them past Abkhazia and Cascadia earlier in the tournament. Northern Cyprus, meanwhile, had a full-strength team to call upon.

The final started as many do: cagey and reserved, with plenty of clumsy challenges – mostly from Northern Cyprus – and few clear-cut chances. Mark Clattenburg, taking time out from his retirement to officiate the final, kept the game flowing.

Karpatalya started the better team. Their robust defence soaked up Northern Cypriot pressure, but they failed to produce a chance of their own until ten minutes in, when Milan Laszik glanced a powerful header narrowly wide.

After this, Northern Cyprus seized the initiative, with the lively Yasin Kurt troubling the Karpatalyan defence. Kurt used his pace to cut in from the right, threading incisive through balls towards striker Tansel Ekingen. Ekingen made little of these chances, outmuscled by the likes of Alex Svedjuk.

Kurt had his own chances, and it took Svedjuk again to deny him a shot from one of his marauding runs into the box.

But it was Karpatalya who had the best chances of the half. A Gergely Gyurki corner was barely scrambled away by the defence, and shortly afterwards Istvan Sandor sent a brave long-distance effort just over the crossbar – a good effort, but not enough to trouble the scoreline.

The two teams were clearly suffering under the weight of the occasion. Northern Cyprus were robust, but were unable to use that strength to muscle past the more skillful Karpatalyans. For all that skill, though, their own attempts were confined to Istvan Sandor hitting-and-hoping.

Kenan Oshan was brought on just past the hour to provide Northern Cyprus’ attacks with more impetus. The wasteful Ekingen was switched out later, and it was the introduction of Arif Uysal that provided the Northern Cypriots with a much-needed burst of energy.

This was too much for the tiring Karpatalyans. Usal and Gajri Kiral, surging down the wings, created a slew of excellent chances.

But Billy Mehmet struggled to cover these chances: latching on to a cross from Unal Kaya, Mehmet slammed his shot into the crossbar, before Halil Turan put a header inches wide after more good creative work by Uysal. Uysal himself called for a penalty after falling in the box, but Mark Clattenburg wasn’t interested.

Northern Cyprus came alive too late. They would rue these final wasted chances, and the match would have to be decided by the dreaded penalty shoot-out – the pouring rain giving it an added sense of foreboding.

Two poorly taken penalties by Billy Mehmet and Yasin Kurt gave Karpatalya the advantage. They nearly wasted this, sending one of their shots against the post, before a heroic save from Bela Fejer denied Halil Turan, ensuring Alex Svedjuk’s penalty was the winner.

Torrential rain did nothing to dampen the Karpatalya celebrations, as their flag-bearing players ran towards their loyal support, and towards their richly deserved trophy.

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3rd/4th FINAL

Padania - Székely Land

Padania 0 (5)-(4) 0 Székely Land

Padania sealed third place at the CONIFA Paddy Power World Football Cup with a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Székely Land.

The Hungarian fans, with their flare displays and singing, provided the best entertainment of the afternoon in a drab encounter in Enfield.

Padania were the favourites, having won the Group C encounter between the sides 3-1 six days previously.

The game began slowly, which was perhaps unsurprising given the amount of football played by the sides over the previous nine days.

Laszlo Szocs was a threat for Székely Land, as they had the best of the early running. He drilled wide following a mazy run and blazed over moments later with the goal at his mercy.

Much of Padania’s good work came through playmaker Giacomo Innocenti, who caused constant problems on the left-hand side, shooting straight at the keeper and attempting an audacious chip, which was easily saved.

Szilard Magyari couldn’t keep his shot on target just before half-time, after Padania’s defence failed to clear.

As the second half wore on, it always looked destined to end goalless, as players tired and became less accurate in their passing. Half-chances came and went for Riccardo Ravasi of Padania and Szocs of Székely Land, who struck just wide after a promising run.

Both teams appeared to accept that penalties would decide the encounter, and so this proved.

Székely Land took the lead in the shootout when William Rosset’s penalty for Padania was saved. However, Szocs missed his chance to win it for his side, and Padania keeper Marco Murriero became the hero, saving from Balazs Csiszer to end the tournament on a high note for the Italians.

The Székely Land fans remained in good voice after the full-time whistle, with a great atmosphere at the ground preceding the grand final.

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5th/6th FINAL

Panjab - Cascadia

Panjab 3 (4)-(3) 3 Cascadia

Cascadia came within an inch of a stunning turnaround, but couldn’t do enough to avoid penalties as Panjab came through to claim fifth place.

Rajpal Virk put Panjab ahead early with a well-taken goal, before Nathan Minhas added two more in quick succession.

Cascadia got their first taste of hope just before half time, thanks to Hector Morales.

Calum Ferguson was the hero of the second half, completing the comeback with two goals in under 10 minutes.

Cascadian spirits were raised – but they were unable to find a winner and Panjab held on to take the match to penalties.

Both teams looked nervous, and the first four penalties were poorly taken. But Panjab finally rediscovered the character they lost with their three-goal lead, and held their nerve to emerge victors.

Photo Gallery coming soon

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7th/8th FINAL

Barawa - Western Armenia

Barawa 0-7 Western Armenia

Western Armenia finished their CONIFA Paddy Power World Football Cup in style as they overturned Barawa 7-0 at Parkside.

It was an open affair at Aveley, as Western Armenia scored three crisp first-half goals to set the tempo.

A Barawa side weakened by injury were commendable in their approach and fashioned a few half-chances throughout the game.

Western Armenia had the Midas touch in front of goal, however, scoring a further four second-half goals to put the game beyond Barawa.

The result means Barawa finish in eighth place, whilst Western Armenia finish seventh in the CONIFA World Football Cup.

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9th/10th FINAL

Kabylia - Abkhazia

Kabylia 0-2 Abkhazia

Kabylia and Abkhazia headed to a sunny Coles Park to battle out for 9th place in the CONIFA Paddy Power World Football Cup; a position the holders did not expect to find themselves in.

From the first moments of the game, it was obvious that both teams were tired; the tournament was in its final day, and the teams had played plenty of football. But the loyal Abkhazian fans had turned out in force at Coles Park to cheer their team on, and Kabylia and Abkhazia were able to put on a good show for their supporters.

The first half saw plenty of attempts on goal from both sides. Idir Lamhene and Idir Bouali for Kabylia were putting in plenty of effort and making foraging runs, but not enough to finish their attempts successfully. On the Abkhazian side, Alan Khugaev and Ruslan Akhvlediani went close a few times, but thanks to Kabylian goalkeeper Murad Koulougli, they were also profligate – until the 29th minute when Shabat Logua swept in the first goal.

Second half started off quickly: 11 minutes after the re-start, Georgii Zhanaa added to Abkhazia’s total. In reply, Kabylia’s Sami Boudia made a great run and looked certain to score. But Alan Khugaev stepped in and Abkhazia kept a clean sheet, finishing 9th in the tournament.

Photo Gallery coming soon

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11th/12th FINAL

Tibet - United Koreans in Japan

Tibet 1 (1)-(4) 1 United Koreans in Japan

Despite a spirited display, it was heartbreak for Tibet as a late own-goal saw them defeated on penalties to a profligate United Koreans in Japan side.

Both teams started sluggishly. A week of matches had clearly taken its toll, and the first 15 minutes saw scant chances from either side.

United Koreans in Japan stifled most Tibetan attacks, but their own players seemed unwilling to shoot, confined instead to lame long-range attempts from outside the box.

But Tibet grew in confidence as the half progressed: a fast turnaround from defence to attack revealed a keenness to score, spurred on by their typically vociferous fans.

Tibet finally gave their loyal support something to cheer about. On the 20th minute, a surging run by Kelsang Dhuntsok and a slip by Kelsang Topgay left Dhuntsok’s low cross into the box clear for Tenzing Yougyal to shoot past the goalkeeper.

For the first time in this year’s CONIFA World Football Cup, Tibet were ahead, much to the delight of their supporters.

For the rest of the half, Tibet were ceaselessly on the attack. Unlike previous matches, Tibet committed men forward, with the roving Pema Lhundup, Dhuntsok, Yougyal and Topgay constantly pressuring the disciplined United Korean defence.

Tibet went into half time much the better side, relatively untroubled by the Koreans’ profligacy, although some last-ditch defending by Donden was required after a fumble by the goalkeeper left the net empty for Yun Songi.

The second half started relatively quietly, and the United Koreans continued their record of wastefulness. They sent most of their shots into the side netting or straight into the hands of Sangay.

The United Koreans built up a head of steam, and late in the half they finally converted a chance, after Byun Yeongjang’s corner was turned in by Gelek – a Tibetan defender.

Tibet’s heroics weren’t enough as the match went to penalties. Two weak shots were saved easily by Lim Hyogeun, meaning four well-taken Korean attempts were enough to win the tie. Nonetheless, the Tibetan support remained fierce, and they cheered their team on with well-deserved applause.

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13th/14th FINAL

Tamil Eelam - Matabeleland

Tamil Eelam 0-1 Matabeleland

Matabeleland finished their CONIFA Paddy Power World Football Cup in style, with a 1-0 win over Tamil Eelam.

Thabiso Nollella scored the only goal of the game in the final ten minutes to spark great scenes of celebration for Justin Walley’s side.

The game had plenty of chances, but goals proved hard to come by, as both sides fought for the win in the Aveley sunshine.

Tamil Eelam played the ball nicely in phases and had plenty of chances to break the deadlock. However, their finishing was poor throughout and an opener could not be found.

Sawusani Mudimba impressed for Matabeleland and came close in the second half to put the African side ahead. A cross was missed by the Tamil Eelam defence and Mudimba profited. The midfielder’s effort however was blocked on the line.

The decisive strike was well-fashioned. A neat interchange on the edge of the area saw Nollella burst free in the area. The forward poked the ball beyond the onrushing Tamil Eelam goalkeeper to spark wild scenes.

The Matabeleland players enjoyed wild celebrations with their fans at the final whistle, embodying their spirit thoroughly the CONIFA World Football Cup.

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Tuvalu 6-1 Chagos Islands

Tuvalu – Chagos Islands

This match, played for the most part in glorious sunshine and sweltering temperatures, was originally billed as the play-off for 15th-16th place until Ellan Vannin’s withdrawal, and was downgraded to ‘friendly’ status.

Not that you would have noticed, judging by the enthusiasm and determination showed by both teams throughout the 90 minutes.

In a game littered with chances, Tuvalu took the lead after 8 minutes in farcical fashion. Okilani Tinilau chased Sosene Vailine’s through ball into the penalty area, which was reached first by Chagos goalkeeper Johncy Oranie, who attempted to blast it clear but the ball bulleted off the shin of the onrushing Tinilau and low into the Chagos net.

Tuvalu made it 2 in the 20th minute after a clever build-up which led to Tinilau sliding the ball to Matti Uaelesi on the left side of the area, and Uaelesi fired the ball into the far corner.

Jimmy Degrace then had a chance to reduce the arrears when he burst through on the right and rounded ‘keeper Kapetu Iosua, but Iosua recovered well and succeeded in turning Degrace’s shot away for a corner.

Taufaiva Ionatana found himself clear of the Chagossian defence, but instead of blasting the ball past Oranie elected to pass the ball forward to Uaelesi; he scored, but the goal was correctly disallowed for offside.

After Habsley Sagai came close with a shot which flew only just over Iosua’s bar, Tuvalu
moved further ahead on 26 minutes. Afelee Valoa’s goalbound header was headed on to the underside of the crossbar by Nicolas Oride, but the ball bounced over the line and into the goal.

The Chagossians pulled a goal back just two minutes later; Degrace was tripped in the box and Leonce stroked the penalty low past Iosua into the bottom corner.

Tuvalu had chances to increase their lead towards the end of the first half through Tonise, Lopati and Valoa, but failed to take them.

Moments after the re-start, Uaelesi missed a chance which would have easier to score when he snatched at a loose ball six yards out and blasted it wide.

But, they did get their fourth goal midway through the second half after a foul in midfield from Ionatana, which was ignored by the referee. The ball was eventually played to Okilani Tinilau who slid the ball past Oranie.

Chagos Islands’ Dylan Digobert protested the decision a tad too vigorously and was shown a red card.

A delightful fifth goal for Tuvalu followed with twenty minutes left as they broke again from midfield. Uaelesi showed a clean pair of heels to the Chagossian defence and cross-heeled the ball to Sosene Vailine, who was running up hard on his left. With the minimum of fuss, Vailine gently sidefooted the ball into the net from fifteen yards.

After a raft of substitutions from both teams, Uaelesi made it 6-1 in the 81st minute with a thumping finish after a flowing move on the right.

Hansley Sagai got his free-kick for Chagos Islands on target in injury time, but Iosua got down to save at the second attempt before the referee called an end to proceedings.

The Chagos Islands team deserve much credit for getting a team together at such short notice, and for a performance which was much better than the scoreline suggests.

But it was the perfect end to the tournament for Tuvalu, who had suffered a couple of heavy defeats during the tournament as well as the heartbreak of an injury-time capitulation against Tamil Eelam in their previous match. Manager Soseala Tinilau said that his team didn’t want to return home empty-handed, and they got their wish with a result – and a performance – which will give cheer to their compatriots back home and delight the many friends they have made during this Football World Cup.

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By Robin Toal

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