Results
 

JNJ Russia A (Rus)

9

V

2

S & OP FC (Eng)

JNJ Russia B (Rus)

2*

V

1

JNJ Middle East (UAE)

* JNJ Russia B won via Golden Goal.

 

We were down to our final 4 teams in the Plate competition with 3 nations represented England and for the first time at this level Middle East and Russia (twice).

 

The first Semi-Final would see JNJ Russia A take on S & OP FC of England. It would have been a big surprise to many to see JNJ Russia A in the Plate rather than the Cup and how would they respond to the disappointment of not making the Cup and not being able to defend their crown? We had seen in our public tournaments a team called Olympic Phil Babb win the first 4 tournaments they played in. In the fifth, they qualified for the Plate and such was their dejection they lost in the Quarter-Finals to a team who often won Wooden Spoons.

 

JNJ Russia A needed to summon their resolve to avoid a similar fate. The other thing to consider is they were only 1 minute away from the Cup before a late JNJ Serbia equalizer. S & OP FC also needed to bounce back after a good performance in Group B they ended the group phase on the wrong end of a 6-0 scoreline.

 

Facing JNJ Russia A was scant reward for qualifying for the Plate and S & OP FC felt the full force of a backlash against the team from Moscow. JNJ Russia A lead 4-1 at half-time and 9-2 at the final whistle. The Russia team were resurgent whereas the English team (by their own admission at the Post Tournament Social) had seen the energy drained from them. This was, perhaps, a game too far.

 

For the record, Rustam Kechurukov scored a hat-trick, Lev Mikheev and Pavel Makarov both scored doubles and there were strikes for Vladimir Doroshenkov and Stanislav Martynov.

 

For S & OP FC there was a European goal for Michael McGoran and George Lazaro ended a fine day for him personally with his sixth goal of the competition.

 
 
 

The second Semi-Final was an encounter between JNJ Russia B and JNJ Middle East as 3rd in Group B played 4th in Group A. The prospect of a JNJ Russia Plate Final was still very much a possibility could JNJ Middle East prevent it?

 

If the first Semi-Final was a bit one-sided then this was a much more even and much closer contest. In fact, there was very little between the two teams and it was maybe no surprise that we reached half-time all level at 0-0.

 

JNJ Russia B drew first blood in the second half when (who else?) Gaspar Arutyunov scored his 9th of the tournament. It was not to be a winning goal though as Bulent Kotan scored his 2 nd of the tournament to make it 1-1. Then, just before the end of full-time Matthijs Van Schagen pulled off a fine double save to preserve parity and the game finished 1-1.

 

We would now have Golden Goal extra time and potentially a penalty shoot-out if required. Bulent Kotan had the first significant effort in extra time as he forced Anton Smirnov in the Russian goal to produce a spectacular save to tip the ball round the post. At the other end, Alexander Betin missed a good opportunity to seal it for his team.

 

Sometimes extra time can be cagey but this was far from it. This was end to end stuff and either team good win it. In a flash one team could be celebrating a place in the Final whilst the other team would have to contemplate a sudden exit from the tournament. That moment came not long before the half-time whistle was due and it was Maxim Yurevich who sparked wild Russian celebrations and caused heartache to the JNJ Middle East players.

 

It was a tough way for JNJ Middle East to go out but they could now take a well-earned rest after a superb debut in the tournament. As the team who had travelled the furthest to the event we would like to thank them for their efforts and we look forward to seeing them again on a future European adventure.

 
 
 
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