Match 8: Azerbaijan vs England, Division B, Sunday, July 19
FINAL SCORE: Azerbaijan 4 x 3 England
Azerbaijan will join Romania in Vila Real’s Promotion final as they edged a tough England 4-3 and see themselves crowned as Division B Champions in Minehead.
It wasn’t until 3 minutes had past that Player Manager Jamie O’Rourke had the first real effort on goal. This was followed by a great tackle from captain Terry Bowes to save a golden scoring opportunity for Vitaliy. However it was England’s Mitch day that was first to hit the back of the net as he found himself pull away from his marker to slot past the keeper.
It was predictably a tight affair with so much riding on the final result and with shots from Hikmat and Bowes which just went wide of the posts at both ends of the pitch gave the game a good tempo.
The second period saw Azerbaijan start very brightly and immediately the shot from the centre kick was tipped onto the post from England keeper Reading. This was followed by a fantastic chance for Vitaliy who had the whole goal to aim at but blazed horribly over the goal. England had to adjust to the pace of the game and Mitch Day tried to lift his team with an overhead kick that hit the post.
It was Elshad that who levelled the score for the guests as he took advantage of an unlucky bobble in front of keeper Reading to easily find the back of the net.
Both teams played with a sense of urgency and O’Rourke’s free kick lead to a hand ball which set up England’s dead ball specialist Seabrook to send the keeper the wrong way. Azerbaijan replied emphatically though with a goal straight from the centre kick and it was Elnur who put the guests in front minutes later to give them a one-goal advantage going into the last period.
With only one goal separating the two teams it was all to play for. England started the strongest out of the two teams with Day again going narrowly wide with an acrobatic overhead kick and O’Callaghan hitting the post from a corner. The crowd was desperately trying to get behind their team but another blow came when Azerbaijan’s player of the match Vitaliy sprinted down the left wing and volleyed past Webb.
England were not finished though and Bowes set up a nail biting 3 and half minutes after he slotted in to the back of the net from inside the area.
It wasn’t to be for England though and Azerbaijan celebrated at the final whistle like they just won the World Cup.
1st Carlos Frazao (POR)
2nd Sofien Benchabane (FRA)
3rd Ergene (TUR)
4th Juan Lopez Lopez (ESP)
Quote from Jamie O’Rourke (England Player/Coach)
"Yes it was very hard to take. We came into the game with a lot of confidence after yesterday’s win against Germany but its hard to get the momentum back after going down by two goals which were unfortunately caused by two England errors. All credit to the England players though, we stuck to our game plan but they took their chances and we didn’t."