South Americans soar, Egyptians extend lead
Brazil and Argentina put in commanding performances
Egypt retain top spot after exciting battle with Iraq
SVK 0-4 ARG | IRQ 2-3 EGY | BRA 4-0 IRN | RUS 10-4 SOL
THE DAY REPLAYED - After a fourth matchday notable for its impressive level of play, Brazil, Egypt, Argentina and Russia all showed they were serious contenders for a semi-final spot at the Men’s Youth Olympic Futsal Tournament Buenos Aires 2018.
In the Main Futsal Hall, another sell-out crowd bore witness to La Albiceleste bouncing back from their difficult opening game by putting Slovakia to the sword, at times in arresting fashion. Boosted by the availability of Santiago Rufino, back after recovering from an injury to his right arm, the Argentinians enjoyed more penetration up front, and their early breakthrough – Alan De Candia opened the scoring in the third minute – helped to calm their nerves.
At the same time in the CeNARD Hall, Brazil were seeing off the tough challenge of Iran. It was a fiery encounter from start to finish, during which the home fans could be heard exchanging chants in the stands with the Brazilian supporters. On the court, the South American champions slowly turned up the heat, their talent – perfectly demonstrated by Neguinho’s inspired back-heel finish for the third goal – proving too much for the Asians in the end.
In the second Group A fixture, Egypt confirmed that they are a force to be reckoned with in a fantastic match versus a tireless and talented Iraqi side. The Pharaohs built up a solid 2-0 lead, but just like in their duels with Argentina and Panama, they subsequently allowed their opponents right back into the game.
Egypt would eventually run out 3-2 winners, but they suffered an almighty scare in the penultimate minute, when goalkeeper Abdelrahman Algarwany pulled off a superb save to stop an effort from the second penalty mark. To compound the Iraqis' misery, the ensuing rebound struck the post and bounced clear.
Back in Group B, Russia disposed of the Solomon Islands 10-4, in a match dominated by the brilliance of Danil Karpiuk. Solomon Islands wing Raphael Leai, who found the net four times on the night, now leads the tournament scoring charts with seven goals.
Group A pacesetters Egypt now have seven points (from three matches played), with Argentina (two matches) and Iraq (three matches) sitting behind them on four points. In Group B, Brazil (two matches) and Russia (three matches) are joint leaders with six points.
Did you know?
There are 13,800 kilometres between Tehran and Buenos Aires, but that did not prevent an Iranian radio station from sending sport journalists to CeNARD Hall to provide live commentary on their nation’s match with Brazil.
The moment Santiago Rufino scored Argentina’s fourth goal against Slovakia, he ran to hug his unfortunate team-mate, Mathias Coronel, who suffered a cruciate ligament injury in his right knee in a training session leading up to the match.
What’s next (11 October) Brazil-Costa Rica, Group B, Main Futsal Hall Slovakia-Panama, Group A, Main Futsal Hall
Brazil will aim to do the business against Costa Rica as they hunt down the points that will guarantee them a place in the last four, while Slovakia and Panama will go in search of their first victory of the tournament.