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June 6, 2019

Artsakh 2 – 1 Szekely Land

Image credit: Karo Sahakyan

In Martuni, Artsakh and Szekley Land played out their placement game at the CONIFA European Cup 2019. Artsakh were looking to get back into winning ways – even if it was just to go through to fight for 5th place – in front of their home supporters. Szekley Land wanted to find their first win of the tournament. All of this was played out in front of a large crowd on a sweltering afternoon.

The first half started slowly, with Artsakh creating a chance after few seconds… but the shot flew wide. The rhythm of the game was a laboured in the heat with Szekely Land having the best chance of the half with a low cross from the right. The ball was deflected and hit the post, from where Barna shot. The keeper made a great save, and a second later saved again from Botona’s attempted tap in. And that was it until half time, with both teams without much in the way of chances.

The second half began quickly with a decent attempt for Artsakh. Shakhkeledyan made a solo run against the keeper, but was brought down by Norbert, who was promptly booked. The deadlock was finally broken in the 62nd minute; Barna collected a deep ball, got into the area and shot from the side. This time Khatchatryan could do nothing and Szekley Land took the lead.

There was an immediate reaction from Artsakh. After some decent chances for the home team, they are awarded a penalty… which was coolly converted to make it 1-1.

In the 78th minute, Szekley Land went down to 10 men after Attila’s high elbow saw him get sent off. And with the last chance of the game, Artsakh scored. A cross from the right was swept in, the ball was controlled by Danielyan and his take was strong enough to beat the keeper. 2-1 and Artsakh go on to play for 5th place on Saturday 8 June.

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By Robin Toal

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