Italy beat Senegal in shoot-out
Italy secured their second successive penalty shoot-out victory at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, defeating Senegal 3-2 on penalties. A flurry of third period goals left the match knotted at 4-4, and with neither side able to find a breakthrough in extra time, goalkeeper Stefano Spada ensured two points for Italy when he denied Ndiaga Mbaye from the spot.
The hosts, who saw off Iran in their first match at these finals, came out the better side against Senegal and needed only 15 seconds to take the lead through Simone Feudi. An unorganised Senegal defence was again punished before the first period's close when Paolo Palmacci capitalised on poor goalkeeping.
While Italy maintained control of the match, goalkeeper Al Seyni Ndiaye redeemed himself, denying the hosts of several fine chances. Senegal, for their part, forced Simone Del Mestre to make two saves, forshadowing what was to come in the third period.
The Senegalese reduced arrears almost immediately as Mbaye bagged a brace to draw the scores level. The Italian defence was tiring, and against earlier odds, Pape Koupkapi headed Senegal into a 3-2 lead. Paolo Palmacci responded for Italy, but another header goal from Koupkapi left the Italians searching yet again. In an incredible close, Palmacci completed a hat-trick to send the match into extra time.
With neither side able to break the deadlock, the match went down to penalties and with Mbaye misfiring his attempt from the spot, Italy grabbed two points to go top of Group A. Italy will look to seal a quarter-finals place against Switzerland on Monday 5 September, while Senegal will face Iran.