A fighting performance by Chinese Taipei - and two goals scored - sent the crowd home happy as the hosts bowed out of FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004. A relaxed Ukraine side progress to the second group stage knowing there are tougher assignments to come.
The host's Belgian coach Daniel Knabben was so pleased with his blue-shirted charges he was offering to sing afterwards: "It's a historic moment for futsal in Chinese Taipei. These were our first two goals in the World Cup and I think we deserved them because the players gave all they had."
At the start, the mathematics were straightforward for Ukraine - they had to win and win big. If Egypt were to beat Spain they would need at least a 12 goal winning margin to reach the second round. For Chinese Taipei the game was all about continuing on the steep learning curve for their young team.
The Europeans had chosen seven players from Shakhtar Donetsk including skipper Olexandr Kosenko but the real heartbeat of the team is Sergiy Koridze, scorer of two priceless goals against Egypt. Chinese Taipei began with captain Hsien Chung Yeh in goal after their creditable 10-0 defeat against World Champions Spain.
There has been a calmness about Ukraine's set-up and they brought that to the game. News of two quick goals for Spain probably eased any nerves but they had the look of a side who knew that goals were only a matter of time. After six minutes of controlled possession the first one came when Fedir Pylypiv fed Ramis Mansurov to blast home.
Ukraine effectively put the game out of sight with two goals in four minutes - first Sergiy Koridze nicked the ball and played a defence splitting one-two with Igor Moskvychov to give himself an easy tap-in. Then Oleg Shaytanov took Vitaliy Brunko's pass and toe-poked past Yeh.
Then it happened. To a crescendo of cheering, Chia Ho Chen got Chinese Taipei's first goal of the tournament, benefiting from a deflection off Vitaliy Nesteruk. This visibly lifted the hosts, giving their players the appearance of playing on fast forward. "Obviously, we would like to finally score a goal," the host's coach Damien Knabben had said before the game. At last he had his wish.
Ukraine hit back with two goals before the break, Shaytanov driving in a free-kick and Mansurov forcing Koridze's goalbound shot over the line.
It seemed impossible, but Knabben's men lifted the tempo still further in the second period. To the disbelief of the crowd, Chien Ying Chang exchanged passes with Chi Cheng Wang and smuggled the ball under Kostyantyn Vlasenko to make it 5-2.
While Yeh's half-time replacement Yung Sheng Chen continued to have plenty of chances to display his athleticism at one end, Chinese Taipei did create chances - Fu Hsiang Chang blazing wastefully over the bar after good work by Kun Shan Chen. Ukraine restored their four goal cushion after a period of sustained pressure, Brunko chipping in cleverly after a goalmouth scramble. Koridze hit the seventh from the spot before Chen was forced to give way to Hsien Chung Yeh after one flying block too many.
We have achieved our aim in qualification and now we know it's going to get much harder," said Ukraine coach Gennadiy Lisenchuk. "Our goal is still to get to the semi-final."