Results
 

FC Tpaktop (USSR)

1

V

1

Epsilon Rovers (Eng)

FC Maroon (Eng)

0

V

0

Maresmex (Spa)

AFC Basemen (Eng)

2

V

3

FC Tpaktop (USSR)

Epsilon Rovers (Eng)

0

V

3

Maresmex (Spa)

FC Maroon (Eng)

3

V

2

AFC Basemen (Eng)

 

Group A was shaping up very nicely and all the teams were looking well-matched. We'd had three draws and two wins by a 1 goal margin. This group was up for grabs and any of the 5 teams could still qualify for the Cup.

Up next was FC Tpaktop versus Epsilon Rovers. Epsilon Rovers were now 9 games unbeaten in our tournaments and currently sat joint top of the Group A table. A win here would make them odds on favourites to qualify for the Cup in search of that second title win.

In keeping with the Group A games so far the first half proved to be an evenly matched contest. As we changed ends for half-time, both goalkeepers were still on their way to a clean sheet.

FC Tapktop had looked good today but they had made life difficult for themselves as they had conceded the opening goal in both previous games. In this game though they managed to strike the first blow. Petr Tolmanov was the man with the goal and he brought out the somersault celebration not something we see very often at our tournaments. Could FC Tpaktop hold on to the lead? Epsilon Rovers unbeaten record was under threat but Nick Petrou scored for the second game running to salvage a 1-1 draw for his team. It was a fine result and took that unbeaten record into double figures.

 
 
 

The next match on Pitch A in Group A was a similar scenario to the last game. It was one of our leaders (Maresmex) against a team who had to win to keep their Cup qualification hopes alive (FC Maroon). If FC Maroon could win then there would be just 3 points covering all 5 teams. If Maresmex could win they would open up a 2 point lead at the top.

We've seen earlier in this report that this was FC Maroon's 3rd appearance at the Barcelona Fives. It was also their 9th eurofootballfives.com appearance in total having also toured Lisbon, Budapest, Riga, Mallorca, Gdansk and Warsaw. Most recently, at the 2020 Warsaw Tournament, FC Maroon reached the Cup competition following a second placed finish in their group (2 wins, 1 draw, 1 defeat). They were up against Yac Club for a berth in their first Cup Final but were held 0-0 in normal time. Penalties were to be their downfall for the third year in a row as Yac Club progressed 3-2 on spot kicks.

It showed the quality of this group that they were currently in 5th but more than holding their own against a team who were joint top at the half-way stage. Another incredibly close fixture would end goal-less. We now had the top 2 on 5 points, with 3rd -5th level on 2 points. All teams still had a shot at the Cup.

 
 
 

AFC Basemen were the final team to play their third fixture. If they could pull off victory they would move from the cluster at the bottom on 2 points to the cluster at the top on 5 points. They were up against FC Tpaktop who would be playing their final group game. For the Soviet team to qualify for the Cup they had to win this and hope for other results to go their way.

It didn't look good for FC Tpaktop early on as they fell behind to a Chris Maydom goal. It was AFC Basemen's first goal of the day but they were unbeaten such was their defensive strength. Things got even better for the English team when they forced a second goal as FC Tpaktop put through their own net for 2-0.

FC Tpaktop were up against it in the second half. They had to win and for that they needed at least 3 goals but they were up against a team who were yet to concede in the tournament. This game turned on its head though. Petr Tolmanov scored for the second consecutive game to bring the men in yellow & black back into this game. From a position of comfort AFC Basemen were back in a battle. They returned the own goal favour as FC Tpaktop were back level at 2-2.

Momentum was fully with the Russian team now. They were jubilant and could sense the game was there for the taking. AFC Basemen in contrast were fighting to stem the tide. FC Tpaktop completed their second half blitz with a third goal in a very short space of time. Artiom Vlasov scoring the pivotal goal to win it 3-2 for FC Tpaktop. It was a sensational comeback from them. It was a crushing blow for AFC Basement.

 
 
 

8 games completed, 2 to go. We would soon have our Group A winners confirmed and it would come down to the result of games 9. We had three teams locked together on 5 points, one of those FC Tpaktop had completed their games. The other two teams were now set to do battle against each other. Those two teams were Epsilon Rovers and Maresmex. Maresmex were our current league leaders on goal difference so they just needed to avoid defeat. Epsilon Rovers needed the victory to win Group A. On the other side of the coin, defeat for either of these teams could mean slipping out of the Cup qualification places and into the Plate competition.

For footballing historians , this game could conjure up memories of t he "Disgrace of Gijón" when West Germany and Austria met in a final group game at the 1982 World Cup. A win by one or two goals for West Germany would result in both West Germany and Austria qualifying. West Germany took the lead after 10 minutes and then the two teams ran the clock down for 80 minutes. A draw between Epsilon Rovers and Maresmex would see both of them qualify here in Barcelona. Although the first half ended 0-0 there was no question of these teams settling for a point. Both teams remained true to the sport and were playing for a win. The team that would be most grateful were FC Tpaktop who knew they would not suffer the fate of Algeria in 1982.

In the second half of this game Luis Fernando Lavilla broke the deadlock to give the Spanish team the lead. As time ran out, two late goals made the score-line look a bit more comprehensive as Alejandro Mediano and Enric Rosos both tapped in from close range after good team moves. Maresmex ended up 3-0 winners and clinched the Group A title.

The result was a desperate one for Epsilon Rovers their first defeat in our tournaments but a costly one. It meant they slipped into third position on goal difference with FC Tpaktop moving above them to claim the second Cup berth.

 
 
 

We went into Game 10 of Group B with the top 3 spots in the table decided. FC Maroon were due to host AFC Basemen to settle the final positions. The two teams found themselves with identical records in terms of points, goal difference and goals scored. It meant that if this game ended in a draw we would need a penalty shoot-out to decide who would finish 4th and who would finish 5th. Why should this matter? Well, at stake was a place in the Plate competition for the winners of this tie whereas the losers would compete in the Wooden Spoon play-off.

With the action underway it was AFC Basemen who took the lead for the second game in a row. Liam O'Doherty was the man to open his personal account for the day. The lead did not last long as an Ed Cotter goal restored parity for FC Maroon. Liam O'Doherty regained the lead for AFC Basemen but they were to be pegged back again. Ed Cotter was on target for the second time to ensure FC Maroon were level at half-time, 2-2.

AFC Basemen had a two goal lead last time out and found themselves 3-2 down at the final whistle. Here, they took the lead twice but still found themselves 3-2 down at the final reckoning. Ed Cotter completed his hat-trick in the second half to ensure all 3 points went to FC Maroon. The result meant that FC Maroon actually climbed to 3rd position on goal difference as they qualified for the Plate.

AFC Basemen can consider themselves unfortunate to have finished in fifth position but that's where they found themselves. The Wooden Spoon match awaited them.

 
 
 
Table
 
Team
Pld
Won
Drawn
Lost
For
Agst
Pts

Maresmex (Spa)

4

2

2

0

5

1

8

FC Tpaktop (USSR)

4

1

2

1

6

6

5

FC Maroon (Eng)

4

1

2

1

5

5

5

Epsilon Rovers (Eng)

4

1

2

1

3

5

5

AFC Basemen (Eng)

4

0

2

2

4

6

2

 
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