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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Jordan-inspired Portugal hold off Egypt fightback to reach Intercontinental Cup semi-finals

Leading 5-1 after the first period, Portugal then trailed 6-5 with less than a minute to go before sealing the victory on penalties. 

Portugal, red, will face Russia in the semi-finals of the Intercontinental Cup in Dubai after their penalty shootout win over Egypt. Manuel Queimadelos Alonso
Portugal, red, will face Russia in the semi-finals of the Intercontinental Cup in Dubai after their penalty shootout win over Egypt. Manuel Queimadelos Alonso

Egypt narrowly missed out on completing a stirring comeback victory against Portugal in the Intercontinental Cup beach soccer tournament yesterday, only to be denied in the penalty shootout.

Trailing 1-5 at the end of the first period at the Marasi Business Bay in Dubai, Egypt’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals appeared all but over.

However, former world champions Portugal lost their concentration to allow Egypt to come storming back into the contest.

Egypt then led 6-5 with just over a minute of the match remaining before Jordan Santos scored a late equaliser to force extra-time.

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After that ended goalless, it was left to a penalty shootout to decide who would join Group A winners Brazil in the last-four.

When Elshahat Mohamed saw his spot kick saved, Jordan again stepped up to be Portugal’s hero, with his winning penalty sending his side through.

It was Egypt who took the lead when Hassane Hussein headed home the opener, only for Portugal to open up a healthy lead with goals from Jordan, Bruno Torres and goalkeeper Elinton Andrade in quick succession.

Jordan added his second late in the period, with Madjer netting the fifth before the break.

Mohamed Gamal got Egypt’s comeback underway shortly after the restart, with Elhusseini Aly and a quickfire double from Mohamed Hassan levelling the score.

Hosaniy then edged the North Africans in front before Jordan’s third.

In the other games, the world champion Brazilproved their pedigree with a convincing 15-4 win over the UAE to stretch their winning run to 45 games in all competitions.

Brazil will head into the semi-finals full of confidence after setting a new record for goals scored in a single match at the competition, with four-goal Ze Lucas among the key players in a one-sided contest.

Paraguay picked up their first points an enthralling 5-4 win against Mexico but it was too late and too little to earn a place in the semi-finals

After a see-saw game, third-period goals from Paraguay's Carlos Carballo and Edgar Barreto ensured their side finished third in Group B.

Carballo twice put Paraguay in the lead but Erick Samano, then Jose Maldonado levelled for Mexico.

Mexico led for the first time shortly after the interval when Ulises Torres prodded home his side’s third under the onrushing Anibel Arguello before Maldonado extended their lead.

Jesus Rolon closed the gap for Paraguay after the restart and Carballo’s close-range header levelled the scores before Barreto drilled home the winner in from a set-piece.

Russia edged out Iran 4-3 in extra time to top Group B and set up a semi-final clash with Portugal. Iran face Brazil in the other semi-final encounter.

The annual beach soccer competition will remain in Dubai for at least the next three years, following the signing of an agreement by Saeed Hareb, general secretary of the Dubai Sports Council, and Joan Cusco, BSWW executive vice-president yesterday.

“This event was born here in Dubai and we at DSC are really pleased to extend our partnership with Beach Soccer Worldwide and keep this tournament here until 2020,” said Hareb.