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June 2, 2018

WFC 2018 Recap – Day 2 (June 2)

Barawa - Cascadia

Barawa 1-2 Cascadia

Barawa, fresh from their win against Tamil Eelam on the opening day of the 2018 World Football Cup, faced Cascadia, who lost their first-ever match on the same day at Carshalton Athletic’s War Memorial Sports Ground before a decent crowd on Saturday 2nd June afternoon.

Both teams started brightly, but it was Barawa who took the lead after 10 minutes through Mohammed Betiamer, when he headed in a perfect cross from the right by the impressive Gianni Critchlow; Betiamer beat Cascadia keeper Will Marment at the far post.

Barawa looked dangerous going forward, but Cascadia had the better chances as the half wore on with Joshua Doughty, Matthieu Breen and Calum Ferguson coming close. The north Americans eventually drew level after 35 minutes, when Doughty delightfully stroked in Charlie Gregory’s pinpoint low cross, beating King on his right-hand side.

Cascadia moved in front during first-half injury time; Maxwell Oldham’s corner from the right was prodded in to the net by Hector Morales, with the Barawa defence looking on.

The start of the second half was bad-tempered at times, though the warm conditions began to sap the aggression out of the players. Shaquille Ismail had a chance for Barawa, and Oldham was almost played through for Cascadia, but Zakariah Bachi foiled him superbly, thwarting his run.

A spate of substitutions followed as the conditions began to take their toll, with both teams visibly wilting. Barawa’s claims for a penalty when Shaun Lucien was tackled on the left-hand side of the box with 10 minutes left were waved away. Keaton Lerock and Gregory tried their luck from distance for Cascadia, and Jordan Wilson’s header bounced just wide as the game came to a close.

Despite the best efforts of an increasingly vocal Barawan support, the game finished with Cascadia 2-1 winners, achieving their first-ever World Football Cup points, though the drama was not yet over. A mass melée broke out immediately after the final whistle, which saw Doughty (Cascadia) and Tajbakhsh red-carded. It was a sorry end to an entertaining game.

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Abkhazia - Karpatalya

Abkhazia 0-2 Karpatalya

Karpatalya took the upper hand in Group B on 2nd June with a well-earned victory against holders Abkhazia, settled by a goal in each half.

For the second consecutive game, Karpatalya demonstrated that they could be the surprise package of the tournament, playing skillful, controlled football.

They opened the scoring after 11 minutes when Gajdos cut inside and saw his deflected shot from the edge of the area beat Aleksei Bondarenko.

Abkhazia responded with Akhvlediani’s volley threatening to level the score; and a header from Vladimir Argun that cleared the crossbar.

Karpatalya went close through István Sandor and Gajdos, the latter denied by Bondarenko.

The game opened up in the second period and Abkhazia almost levelled when Filatov’s powerful shot was acrobatically tipped over by Bela Fejer.

Karpatalya had the ball in the net when Gyorgy Toma headed home – but the referee ruled the effort out for offside. There were further let-offs for Abkhazia when Sandor struck the post after bringing the ball down well, and then Zoltan Baksa hit the crossbar with a superb long-range shot.

Abkhazia had their chances, notably when Akhulediani stooped to meet a cross to the far post, only for Fejer to save. And in the 90th minute, the Karpatalya keeper got in the way of a close-range shot by Malanya.

Karpatalya were not finished, however, and in the seventh minute of added time, the impressive Sandor netted with a spectacular long-range shot to secure a 2-0 win and put Karpatalya on the brink of a quarter-final spot.

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Székely Land - Matabeleland

Székely Land 5-0 Matabeleland

Székely Land continued their fine start to their World Football Cup campaign with a 5-0 win over 10-man Matabeleland.

An early sending-off for Matabeleland’s goalkeeper, Thandazani Mdlongwa, made it a difficult afternoon for Justin Walley’s side in a sunny encounter at Haringey.

First-half goals from Istvan Tulip, Arthur Gyorgyi and Szilard Magyari put Székely Land firmly on the front foot, before Magyari netted for the second time in the second half with a fine looping header. The game was put beyond doubt with a last-minute goal from Laszlo Hodgyai.

However, it was the fans who stole the headlines, with both Matabeleland and Székely Land contributing to an electric atmosphere at Coles Park Stadium.

Székely Land forward Magyari looked destined to score the opener, but was hacked down by Matabeleland stopper Mdlongwa. The goalkeeper was shown a straight red card to make it a long afternoon for the African side.

Minutes later, Székely Land attacked again. Fullop wriggled his way into the penalty area before being brought down by a Matabeleland defender. The forward stepped up and converted the penalty calmly.

With the smoke from Székely fans’ flares still clearing, they doubled their lead with a fine solo effort. Gyorgi received the ball on the edge of the area and curled it into the bottom corner.

Matabeleland’s task was then made more difficult when Hodgyai latched on to a delightful through ball to coolly slot one home before the break.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s former coach, and ex-Romanian international, Laszlo Boloni watched on as Magyari doubled his tally for the afternoon.

Matabeleland tried to claw something out of the game, but their attacking style in the dying moments allowed Hodgyai to score Székely Land’s fifth of the afternoon.

Székely Land now look strong contenders for a quarter-final place, winning their first two games.

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United Koreans in Japan - Kabylia

United Koreans in Japan 0-0 Kabylia

Stunning weather and a passionate crowd awaited the two teams for today’s Group D match between the United Koreans in Japan and Kabylia.

Around 200 fans filled the stands and there was a rousing reception as the two teams lined up for the anthems, with both teams visibly moved by the big day.

In the 10th minute, a heavy challenge saw Kabylia’s Ahmed Simonoub stretchered off and a seven-minute delay. The match restarted with Hocine Mohamedi brought on for Simonoub.

The 25th minute saw impressive build-up on the right side and an outstanding left-footed shot which went just wide of the goal by UKIJ’s Yonghak An, who was a commanding presence in midfield.

Kabilya’s ability to manage the relentless pressing by the United Koreans in Japan was rewarded with their first breakthrough – a 35th-minute shot that goes just wide of the red goal.

UKIJ looked like they’d won the hearts of the neutral supporters amongst the local crowd who loudly cheered them on; but they were not to be outdone by a wonderfully animated group of Kabilyan fans.

The second half saw a fluid match, with the United Koreans in Japan continuing to press hard for a goal, but without a breakthrough. After several late chances went unfinished by UKIJ, the match finished scoreless.

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Ellan Vannin - Tamil Eelam

Ellan Vannin 2-0 Tamil Eelam

Ellan Vannin continued their winning start to this year’s World Football Cup with a hard-earned 2-0 victory against Tamil Eelam in the second of the day’s double-header at the War Memorial Sports Ground in Carshalton.

The Manxmen suffered a blow after just 18 seconds when Darren Cain suffered a head injury in a collision with an opponent, and had to be substituted. Daniel Simpson had the game’s first real chance after 5 minutes, but his shot sailed over the bar. An incredible double save by Tamil Eelam goalkeeper Robert Osman was the highlight of the first half; having dived to his right to save the first goalbound shot, the ball came out to Ciarán McNulty, whose shot was fisted over the bar by Osman, who was already diving the wrong way.

Osman had an inspired first half against a dominant Ellan Vannin side, and he and his side held firm until the break. Around a minute into the second half, all of their good work came to naught when Ellen Vannin took the lead through Frank Jones, whose calm shot from the right-hand side of the box just evaded Osman and nestled in the bottom left-hand corner.

Quinthan Navaneethakrishan almost equalised with a delectable lob over the onrushing Dean Kearn, but his shot hit the base of the post and rolled away to safety.

Ellan Vannin moved further in front in the 55th minute, when a precise Joe Quayle pass found Darren Cain on almost exactly the same spot Jones scored from a few minutes earlier; like Jones, Cain made no mistake with a drive into the bottom left-hand corner. Sub Furo Davies was one of a number of Ellan Vannin players who missed chances in the second half.

Tamil Eelam made a raft of substitutions to try and force a change in proceedings as the game entered its later stages, but despite a fine shot from Chelliah after a cross from Caliston Calistus and another chance late on, they were unable to penetrate the Ellan Vannin defence. A good three points for the team from the Isle of Man, although Tamil Eelam will be heartened by a stubborn display against one of the tournament favourites.

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Northern Cyprus - Tibet

Northern Cyprus 3-1 Tibet

Northern Cyprus produced a late flourish to secure their first win of the tournament against plucky Tibet in front of a bumper and very noisy crowd.

For the second successive game, Northern Cyprus threatened to overrun their opponents in the early stages, but were unable to maintain their blistering pace. It took them less than two minutes to open the scoring, Halil Turan rifling home a fierce shot on the run.

Tibet were under great pressure from the start and Ugor Gok almost added a second with a diving header. He also had another effort ruled out for offside.

Despite the pressure, Tibet’s defence held firm and were quick to deprive Northern Cyprus of space in the penalty area. Turan found plenty of room, however, when he dived to meet a cross, his header just inches wide.

Two minutes from the interval, Tibet stunned Northern Cyprus with an equaliser, Kalsang Topgyal applying the finishing touch to send the crowd wild.

Topgyal almost put Tibet ahead early in the second half, but his lob was just wide of target.

Tibet’s equaliser changed the shape of the game and Northern Cyprus struggled to regain control. They almost gained the upper hand again when a glancing header by Adil Ucar struck the top of the crossbar.

They had better luck in the 66th minute when Halil Turan received the ball inside the area and from an acute angle, shot into the net via the goalkeeper’s gloves.

Northern Cyprus extended their lead after 74 minutes, Gok sending a deft chip wide of Tibet goalkeeper Tenzin Bhakdo to make it 3-1.

In the end, strength and fitness told, and Northern Cyprus were good value for their victory. Tibet, though, won many friends with their determination and spirit.

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Padania - Tuvalu

Padania 8-0 Tuvalu

Padania confirmed their place in the World Football Cup knockout stages with an 8-0 win over Tuvalu.

A first-half hat-trick from Federico Corno set the tempo in a half that saw six goals for the side.

Padania were dominant in the opening exchanges and took the lead early on through Corno. Tuvalu barely had chance to catch breath before the ball was in the back of the net again, Corno getting the better of his marker and finishing calmly under pressure.

Tuvalu tried to get themselves back in the game with the crowd willing them on, but overcommitted and Padania grabbed their third within the opening 20 minutes. Riccardio Rivasi latched on to a delightful cross and finished with a deft header.

It was soon four for Padania, with winger Valente getting in on the act. A defensive mix-up allowed the forward to roll the ball into an open net.

Corno soon had his hat-trick and Padania’s fifth, with a well-taken goal at the near post; while Valente rounded off the scoring in a frantic first half as Tuvalu looked shell-shocked.

In the second half, Padania played the ball around nicely and grabbed their seventh with a well-taken volley.

But, two green cards were shown in one of the game’s biggest talking points. The first was for a Tuvalu midfielder and the second was for Padania’s Stefano Baldan. The green card means that the player is sent off, but can be replaced by a substitution. The rule comes into effect if, for example, a player dives or shows verbal misconduct.

In the final minutes of the game, Padania extended their lead further. Valente got on the end of a cross and fired it in. This means Padania will progress to the knockout stages whilst Tuvalu will not make it out of the group stage.

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Panjab - Western Armenia

Panjab 0-1 Western Armenia

A physical, often bad-tempered game saw Western Armenia emerge deserved winners against a Panjab team that failed to build any consistent attacking threat.

The two teams, evenly matched on paper, clashed from the start, with Panjab’s Jhai Dhillon – often their biggest threat – scythed down by David Hovsepian within the first minute.

Western Armenia started the stronger team, and no number of fouls could prevent the stubborn Hiratch Yagan marauding down the right wing, creating most of the team’s chances.

Their bright start was rewarded with a goal after 14 minutes, when the lanky Vahagn Militosyan lanced the ball past the helpless Butt.

Panjab were rattled, and their somewhat tame response was met by the Western Armenian defence – once again led by the unpredictable Yagan – which was too strong for them.

Militosyan remained a real threat throughout the first half, combining with Yagan to gift Hovsepian a chance – narrowly missed – before forcing a save from Butt moments later, after he stormed past the Panjab defence unchecked.

The action subsided somewhat in the second half, but tempers were still fierce as the two teams traded fouls and free kicks. Unfortunately for Panjab, those set pieces were their only real threat, with their best coming when Kasparov was forced to make an exceptional save from a direct free kick on the 79th minute.

Late in the game, Militosyan and Yedigaryan combined nicely, but failed to create a chance; all Panjab could muster on the counterattack was another foul and another free-kick.

Panjab will be frustrated that they failed to build on the storming 8-0 victory in their first game. They now need a win against United Koreans of Japan to guarantee qualification. Despite this, both teams left the field to rapturous applause.

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By Robin Toal

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