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June 5, 2018

WFC 2018 Recap – Day 4 (June 5)

Upper Bracket (1st-8th)

Barawa 0-8 Northern Cyprus

Northern Cyprus ran riot against hosts Barawa in a one-sided encounter at Gander Green Lane in the World Football Cup quarter-finals.

The first few minutes of the action in Sutton offered a sign of things to come, as Barawa keeper Calvin King showed some early nerves, failing to catch a cross, and allowing a back-pass to run across his body.

Despite waves of first-half pressure, the Northern Cypriots only had one goal to show for it at half-time, after Ugur Naci Gok had followed in after King could only parry a Billy Mehmet shot.

Shawn Lucien provided some threat for Barawa late in the first half, but their forays forward were dealt with comfortably. They suffered a major blow when captain Omar Sufi was forced to come off.

Northern Cyprus wasted no time in extending their lead after the break, however, as Serhan Onet headed home from a free-kick. Minutes later, Gok headed in his second goal, and his team’s third.

The fourth came through an own goal. After good work down the right-hand side by Mehmet, his cross was turned into his own net by an unfortunate Ayuub Ali.

Halil Turan blasted in off the crossbar for Northern Cyprus’ fifth, before Gok and Mehmet added further salt to the Barawan wounds.

The rout was complete when Tansel Osman passed into the bottom corner, following a slick move which got the better of their tired opponents.
The performance is a major statement of intent by Northern Cyprus ahead of their semi-final on Thursday.

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Padania - Panjab

Padania 2-0 Panjab

A physical encounter was expected at Bracknell this afternoon between two pre-tournament favourites, Padania and Panjab, and it didn’t disappoint in that regard. Both teams showed their potential with some good football early on, particularly from the Padanians with several good runs down the flanks, but shots were few and far between.

Padania came close to opening the scoring after 28 minutes, when Giacomo Innocenti showed the Panjab defence a clean pair of heels, but goalkeeper Yousuf Butt spread himself well and saved the ball with his left foot.

Butt was called into action five minutes later, when he saved a Gabriele Piantoni shot following a one-two. There was a fracas on the Padanian byline following a foul by Nathan Minhas which threatened to develop into something more serious – but it was quickly defused by the match officials.

Padania came hurtling out of the blocks after the break with a couple of headers going wide, but Panjab began to press, playing some attractive football before Aaron Minhas cleared a Padania shot off the line. The Padanians claimed that the ball had crossed the line… but to no avail.

Padania were awarded a penalty after 59 minutes, following a foul on Stankevicius. Innocenti sent Butt the wrong way to put the Padanians in front.

The game became more physical as the second half wore on and tempers frayed; three Padanian players and a Panjab player were booked.

The Panjab team piled on the pressure in the latter stages, but were unable to find a way through the Padania defence despite some good play from Amar Purewal, amongst others; he was denied a header by the fist of Padania goalkeeper Murriero, who flapped the ball away from him.

Panjab were caught on the counter-attack when they lost the ball in the opposing penalty area; the ball fell to Innocenti, who ran with the ball all the way into the Panjab box. He slid the ball across to Nicolo Pavan, who gently stroked the ball into an empty net with Butt stranded to put Padania into Thursday’s semi-finals.

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Cascadia - Karpatalya

Cascadia 1-3 Karpatalya

Karpatalya moved into the semi-finals of the World Football Cup with a hard-fought victory over Cascadia.

The first half proved to be a cagey affair, with both sides seeking to suss out the other. Maxwell Oldham was a livewire down the Cascadian right-hand side, while Gyorgy Toma looked most likely for the Hungarians.

The best chance of the half fell to Patrick Wilson, who was denied from very close range by Karpatalya keeper Bela Fejer.

The game came alive soon after the break, as Karpatalya forward Gyurki followed in after Gyorgy Toma’s long-range shot was parried by Marment in the Cascadia goal.

They swiftly took control of the tie as Roland Takacs tapped in at the far post, before Csaba Peres very nearly made it three – only to see his effort tipped around the post by Marment.

Cascadia didn’t give up, and their attacks began to carry more promise. Half-time substitute Hamza Haddadi brought an injection of pace, darting through the Karpatalya defence to give the North Americans hope with 10 minutes remaining.

Oldham continued to be a threat, but his late cross was overhit, and proved to be Cascadia’s last chance of equalising.

With three minutes left, Karpatalya put the game to bed. Gajdos was felled in the box and stepped up to power home into the top-left corner, and end the Cascadians’ spirited challenge.

The win sets up an all-Hungarian semi-final in Carshalton on Thursday between Karpatalya and Szekely Land, with both seeking to reach their first ever World Football Cup final.

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Western Armenia - Székely Land

Western Armenia 0-4 Székely Land

Székely Land secured a semi-final place in the CONIFA World Football Cup after beating Western Armenia 4-0.

An early red card for Armenia set the precedent for a fiery encounter at Hayes Lane.

Raffi Kaya brought down Arthur Gyorgyi in the opening 10 minutes, and was sent off for being the last man.

Székely Land took full advantage of this early dismissal, with Tanko Zsolt slotting into the bottom corner to open the scoring.

Tempers flared and a Western Armenia coach was sent off after an altercation with a fan, as the game played out with pace and aggression.

Csaba Czismadia doubled Székely Land’s lead early in the second half with a fantastic header before yet another Western Armenian player was shown a red card.

This time it was Hirac Yayan; already substituted off the field of play and with an ice pack on his knee, his words to the referee warranted a red.

Székely Land made it three on the hour mark, with a nice finish from the edge of the area.

And it went from bad to worse for Western Armenia as a horrendous defensive mistake gifted Székely Land their fourth of the evening. Bama Bajko profited from a poor backpass and finished into the empty net to secure Székely Land a place in the semi-final.

It sparked great celebrations at the final whistle, with the Székely Land players shaking every one of their travelling supporters’ hands.

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Lower Bracket (9th-16th)

London Turkish Select - Tibet (friendly)

London Turkish Select 4-0 Tibet (friendly)

Tibet are still without a taste of victory as they lost 4-0 to London Turkish Select at Hayes Lane.

London Turkish Select joined the tournament today, following Ellan Vannin’s retirement from the World Football Cup this morning.

A hat-trick from Hassan Nalbant put the game beyond Tibet, whose fans were vocal throughout.

London Turkish Select’s first goal came in the opening minutes. Nalbant fired the ball into the roof of the net after good wing play.

Nalbant, who caused trouble all game with his physical presence, doubled the lead soon after with another well-taken goal.

Ali Uyar Avci then extended London Turkish Select’s lead. The ball dropped kindly for the forward in the Tibetan area, and he finished on the volley.

Tibet improved in the second half and perhaps could have levelled with half an hour remaining. A fantastic cross was met by a Tibet forward and his header flashed wide.

Tibet pushed for a consolation goal, but were victims of their own over-commitment and London Turkish Select sealed the victory.

The impressive Nalbant secured his hat-trick with another well-worked goal. The forward picked the ball up on the edge of the area and tricked his way past two Tibetan defenders before firing the ball home.

Tibet’s fans provided a fantastic atmosphere at Hayes Lane but could not inspire a goal and the game ended 4-0.

Thank you to London Turkish Select for standing in at such short notice, and providing an entertaining game at Bromley.

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Matabeleland 0-0 Kabylia

Matabeleland (3) 0-0 (4) Kabylia

Today’s match at Enfield Town FC’s Queen Elizabeth II stadium saw Matabeleland take on Kabylia.

The game started slowly, with both teams’ attacking prowess being nullified by stern defensive walls. Kabylia had the better of the opening exchanges though, with Elhadi Boukir being denied by the kind of goalkeeping acrobatics usually associated with the Matabeleland player/coach Bruce Grobbelaar.

The solid Kabylia side didn’t let up, throwing all they had at the Matabeleland defence, who stood strong despite a clear physical advantage to the Kabylians.

As the first half progressed, the Matabeleland team grew in confidence, with Professor Tshuma using his pace to break through the Kabylian back four. This tactic paid dividends, as Tshuma put the ball into the net close to half time, only for the goal to be disallowed for offside.

At half time, there wasn’t a whisker between either team.

The second half started with an energised Matabeleland coming out on the attack, with Mthulisi Mbizo going close with a long-range effort that was hooked over the bar by the Kabylian goalkeeper.

Midway through the second half, Kabylia had the ball in the back of the net from a corner, only for it too to be disallowed for offside.

As the game drew to a close, both teams defended hard as weary attackers tried to penetrate to secure a breakthrough. However, it wasn’t meant to be – and the match ended 0-0 and went to straight to penalties.

Matabeleland won the toss and decided to take the first penalty, with Praise Ndlovu converting the first spot kick. Idir Belasla scored Kabylia’s first penalty, and both teams went on to miss two to send the penalty shoot out to sudden death.

Heartbreakingly for the valiant Matabeleland team, Musa Stamburt missed their sixth penalty, and with Enzo Mezaib converting for Kabylia, it was the team from north Africa that were celebrating at the final whistle.

Both teams played some inspired football today – solid at the back and quick and combative in attack – but it was Kabylia who had the clinical touch that slammed the ball into the back of the net and sent the fans in Enfield wild.

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Tamil Eelam - Abkhazia

Tamil Eelam 0-6 Abkhazia

Although Abkhazia, the winners of the World Football Cup 2016, couldn’t get out of their group, the players did their absolute best at their game with Tamil Eelam at Aveley Stadium.

Straight away, Abkhazia made clear who was the dominant team: almost all of the first half saw the Abkhazian players attacking Tamil Eelam’s goal, and every couple of minutes they had good chances. However, attempts to net were not successful until Ruslan Akhvlediani scored the first goal in 40th minute.

Tamil Eelam also had couple of fortunate moments created by Gvinthan Navaneethakrishnan and Nirunthan Sivananthan, whose shot was saved by the Abkhazian goalkeeper. But still luck was not on the side of Tamil Eelam and they ended the first half without a goal.

In the second half, both teams returned to the field full of attacking vigour. Tamil Eelam demonstrated good control of the ball and again came close – but the Abkhazian defenders did their job well.

For Abkhazia, the second half was very productive: on the 63rd minute, Shabat Logua added a second goal to Abkhazia’s tally, then Ruslan Akhvlediani scored again on the 71st minute. Ruslan Shonia scored once more – and on the 83rd minute Astamur Tarba struck one in. Only a couple of minutes before the end of the match, Abkhazia netted another goal – a great attack was made again by Ruslan Shonia, and match finished 0-6.

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Tuvalu - United Koreans in Japan

Tuvalu 0-5 United Koreans in Japan

This match was the second to take place at Bracknell Town today, but unlike the first, the quarter-final between Padania and Punjab, it was a rather sedate, one-sided affair.

The United Koreans in Japan dominated the match from the start, with Tongsoung Lee and Ken Taniyama both coming close, the latter forcing Tuvalu goalkeeper Katepu Iosua into making a great save at full stretch after 16 minutes.

Two minutes later, Taniyama opened the scoring for UKIJ at the second attempt, forcing the ball past Iosua from close range.

UKIJ’s advantage was doubled just two minutes later, when Takiyama’s cross was met by Tongsoung Lee, and he made no mistake with a precise finish.

A third goal was not long in coming, and it had a hint of good fortune about it. A speculative shot from distance by Yongju Shin took an unfortunate deflection off a Tuvalu defender and went over Iosua into the net.

UKIJ kept coming, and Taniyama was causing the Tuvalu defence a lot of problems with his incisive runs and a willingness to shoot at will.

That is not to say that Tuvalu were penned back in their own half from start to finish; they attempted to break forward through Etimoni Timuani and Okilani Tinilau, to name but two, but more than often than not, lacked the necessary support to create something more meaningful.

The second half continued pretty much in the same way as the first, with Jihwang Ho forcing another good stop from Iosua, and Gwangyeon Choi missing the target from the edge of the area.

A fourth goal did come just before the hour mark, and it was the goal of the night; a cross from close to the corner flag was volleyed in with aplomb by Tongsoung Lee at the near post.

James Lepaio had Tuvalu’s first shot of the night on target shortly afterwards, when his free-kick parted the UKIJ defensive wall, forcing Hyogeun Lim to dive to his right and push the ball away with both hands.

Taniyama almost made it five a few minutes later, when his audacious shot from a Mincheol Son downward header ricocheted off the Tuvalu bar and behind.

Apart from another shot from Lepaio which troubled the pigeons sitting on the roof of the house behind Lim’s goal than it did the keeper, the action was virtually all taking place in the Tuvalu half, but a fifth goal only came in the 83rd minute, when Suhteon Mun ran on to a pass down the left, beat the defence and calmly slotted the ball to the right of Iosua.

Tuvalu’s Okilani Tinilau got into a good position on the right-hand side of the UKIJ area, but instead of shooting, tried to dribble past the defender and ended up losing the ball.

It was a brave effort from Tuvalu, but they were swamped by the previously goal-shy UKIJ team, who will now go into their next placement match in good heart and with a few more goals under their belts.

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By Robin Toal

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