Cruz Del Surely (Eng)

1

V

0

AFC Chorltonians (Eng)

Lacey Green FC (Eng)

1

v

1*

9 Nana Budds (Eng)

Cruz Del Sur (Eng)

1

v

0

RSC Andylecht (Eng)

L'Albiceleste (Fra)

3

V

0

FC Gymnasium (Por)

* 9 Nana Budds (Eng) won 5-4 on penalties. 
 
 

As the 2018 Algarve Open Cup Quarter-Finals were about to get underway we were down to the elite 8 teams in the tournament all gunning for tournament success.

We started on Pitch A with Cruz Del Surely versus AFC Chorltonians. If we had an award for the most improved team in the tournament it would be Cruz Del Surely. The second squad of the Cruz Del Sur party suffered 8 defeats in their 8 games. Today, they were 5 wins, 1 draw and just the 1 loss as they finished second in Group A.

AFC Chorltonians were on debut and performed well so far. They had 2 wins, 4 draws and also just the 1 defeat.

Cruz Del Surely would no doubt be favourites as their goal difference of 10-1 trumped AFC Chorltonians' 5-5 but it is never easy to compare groups directly as one may have been stronger than the other.

As it turned out the two teams were evenly matched but Cruz Del Surely had the edge. A first half goal from Nnamdi David secured their safe passage into the Semi-Finals.

 
 
 

Up next on Pitch B was Group B winners Lacey Green FC versus 9 Nana Budds which promised to be an intriguing game.

Lacey Green FC had won 5 of their 7 fixtures with a draw and just the one defeat. 9 Nana Budds had 3 wins, 1 draw and 3 defeats and had only qualified for the Cup in the very final round.

Both teams had featured in our Cup competitions before. 9 Nana Budds had reached the Cup on their first 3 tournaments then it had been Plate qualification on their past 2 appearances. They were back in the elite Cup competition for the first time since 2014. Lacey Green FC were also appearing in the Cup for the first time in a number of years since their debut (as 3 Lions FC) at the 2009 Barcelona Fives.

The match finished 1-1 in normal time with Steve Evans (Lacey Green FC) and Jack Kennedy (9 Nana Budds) goals cancelling each other out. A penalty shoot-out was required.

The first 6 penalties were exemplary. Mark Johnson, Steve Evans and Tony Shadbolt all scored for Lacey Green whilst Will Crowther, John Mastel and Rob Crowther were all on target for 9 Nana Budds. We were into sudden death and with the pressure cranked up James Taylor missed and so did Jack Kennedy so were still level at 3-3.

Two more successful spot kicks followed with Ryan Maguire and Alex Easter both on target. The sixth round of spot kicks was decisive. Tom Messenger saw his penalty saved by Tim Moore. The 9 Nana Budds goalkeeper then turned striker as his successful penalty won the shoot-out for his team. 9 Nana Budds were through to the Semi-Finals.

 
 
 

Quarter-Final three saw Cruz Del Sur take on RSC Andylecht. This would be a really tough one to call as there was just 1 point between the teams in the group phase.

Cruz Del Sur were a team on a mission. In recent years they had been getting closer and closer to a breakthrough tournament victory. At the 2016 Riga Tournament they had 5 wins from 5 in the group phase before a surprise Quarter-Final defeat to FC Dad. At the 2017 Lisbon Tournament they went a step further to the Cup Semi-Finals before meeting a very good Wonderleague side. Could this be their year to go all the way?

RSC Andylecht would obviously hope not. It was all the way back in their third game since they tasted defeat and they were doing well on debut. A record of 4 wins, 2 draws and 1 defeat with 9 scored and just 1 conceded suggested this would be a really tough match for Cruz Del Sur.

This was arguably the closest of all the games played in the Cup Quarter-Finals on paper. There was very little to choose between the two teams in reality and as a result we had another game decided by the odd goal. Liam Kenney scored a hat-trick in Cruz Del Sur's final group game and he was in the goal's again with the match winner that sent Cruz Del Sur through.

We had to say farewell to RSC Andylecht and we would like to thank them for making the journey to the Algarve Open.

 
 
 

The final Quarter-Final was L'Albiceleste versus FC Gymnasum. Both of these team had proved in the past they had what it takes to win a eurofootballfives.com tournament.

L'Albiceleste had won 3 tournaments before the 2013 Mallorca Fives, 2016 Riga Tournament and 2017 Barcelona Fives. They were bidding for a record fourth title that would put them level with Olympic Phil Babb and CIS Committee as the most decorated teams in our history. FC Gymnasium were successful here in 2015 when they won the Algarve Open under the name Futeboladas.

As with all the previous Quarter-Finals this was a close game for the first half at least. The teams changed ends at 0-0. The second half was a different story and was the Cedric Castarede story. He bagged a second half hat-trick and sent the French team into the Semi-Finals in style.

It was farewell to FC Gymnasium who we hope we will see again on our return to the Algarve next summer.

 
 
 
 
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