Portugal overcome Spanish Challenge on first day of Sal Beach Soccer Cup
Photo credit: Lea Weil/beachsoccer.com
The reigning World Champions, who were without their key players came from behind to beat Spain 3-2 on Friday in the opening fixture of the Sal Beach Soccer Cup in cape Verde.
Portugal, who were weakened without the likes of Madder, Coimbra and Bruno Novo, as far as the starting minutes are concerned and, after a strong start, found themselves 2-0 down early in the third period due to a brace from Antonio of Spain.
However, before it could be seen as the result on scoreboard, Be Martins struck to give Portugal hope followed by an equalizer from captain Belchior to take the contest into extra time.
And the captain who had to be at his leading best, rode to Portugal’s rescue – tucking home the winner in dramatic circumstances as Spain were denied a win in cruel fashion.
Belchior was in the middle of things from the off – hitting the post three minutes in – before Dona produced a nimble save to deny him a goal.
The Portuguese goalkeeper, Andrade saved from Llorenç in Spain’s first hit at target while Santos had the final effort of the first period, edging over from close range.
After the restart, Spain took a surprise lead when Martin’s long ball found Antonio who nodded in the first goal of the competition.
After the lead, all Spain had to do was to stay firm and put pressure on the Portuguese team, which they did to go into the final period. In the final period, when play resumed, Be Martins was denied a one-on-one when he was felled in the final third but Dona was equal to the free-kick before the striker sent the rebound just wide.
After Llorenç rattled the crossbar the points seemed to be secure for Spain when Antonio arrowed in a free-kick from the right-hand side.
But Be Martins’ late strike offered hope and as Portugal pressed, Belchior weighed in with an equaliser from close range as the world champions demonstrated their relentlessness.
and then, Belchior, with time and space, struck the decisive effort in the dying stages to give Portugal the lead for the first time with just one-and-a-half minutes to go.
It proved enough for Portugal who, after a real scare, claimed their first points of the competition.
Goals: Antonio, min. 3 (2); Antonio, min. 9 (3); Leonardo Santos, min. 7 (3); Belchior, min. 0 (3); Belchior, min. 0 (et)