Greivin Pacheco (pictured) celebrates after scoring one of his three goals in Costa Rica's win over Canada in the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship match on February 26, 2017, in Nassau, Bahamas. (Photo: Straffon Images)
NASSAU, Bahamas --Panama won its first CONCACAF Beach Championship with a 4-2 win over defending-champion Mexico on Sunday at the Malcolm Park Beach Soccer Facility.
Both sides will represent the Confederation -- along with the host Bahamas -- at the 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, which launches on April 27.
Justo Arrocha netted a brace, while Alfonso Maquensi and Rafael Garcia contributed with a goal each in a victorious effort.
Mexico - which had won its previous two CBSC final appearances in 2011 and 2015 -- saw the competition’s joint-top scorer Jose Ramon Maldonado Alonso struck for two goals.
Despite what was at stake, both sides began in fast fashion, three-time champion Mexico edged proceedings as it rattled the crossbar, before Maldonado Alonso forced a great save from Eder Patino.
Maldonado Alonso, however, would not be kept quiet for long, with the midfielder glancing Diego Villasenor’s throw into the Panama goal with two remaining in the first period to give Mexico a 1-0 lead.
Jose Carlos Moreno spurn a glorious chance to double the advantage as Panama defended with their lives.
That miss was punished as Arrocha equalized with Panama’s first clear-cut chance eight minutes into the middle frame.
Arrocha almost had a second soon after, coming close to capitalizing on a poor back pass from Diego Rodriguez, but the defender remained in the thick of things and was on target when he glanced in Ricardo Obregon’s cross with two minutes left in the second period.
Maldonado Alonso was the man to bring the sides back on level terms a minute later, drawing him equal with joint-top scorer Belize's Marlon Meza on 12 goals.
Panama went ahead for good three minutes into the second period, when Maquensi lobbed Diego Villasenor with precision from out wide.
A wonderful, instinctive save from Jose Victoria kept Panama in front, beforeGarcia found the bottom corner with two minutes left on the clock for an insurance goal.
Goals: 0-1: Alonso, min. 2 (1); 1-1: Arrocha, min. 4 (2); 2-1: Arrocha, min. 2 (3); 2-2: Alonso, min. 1 (2); 3-2: Maquensi, min. 9 (3); 4-2: Rafael Garcia, min. 2 (3)
Match for Fifth Place
The United States completed its CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship schedule on a bright note, defeating the host Bahamas, 4-2.
Despite the fervent home support, the Bahamas couldn't prevent the influential Nicolas Perera - returning from suspension - from getting on the U.S. scoresheet along with Oscar Reyes, Alessandro Canale and Christopher Toth.
Despite a rare off-night, the Bahamas have done more than enough to build enthusiasm for the sport ahead of the 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, which it will host starting on April 27.
On strikes by Reyes and Canale, the U.S. held a 2-0 at the end of the first period.
The Bahamians were a much improved after the restart. High-scoring Lesly St. Fleur fired over with the goal at his mercy, before he halved the deficit from the penalty spot seconds before the end of the second period to set up an enthralling final frame.
Perera took the wind out of the Bahamas' sails somewhat when he skilfully lobbed goalkeeper Torin Ferguson two minutes after the kick-off to make it 3-1.
Captain Gavin Christie provided the Bahamas' response swiftly seconds later, but it couldn't capitalize on a man advantage after Lewie Valentine's ejection.
U.S. goalkeeper Toth punctuated the scoreline with four minutes left on the clock
Goals: 1-0: Reyes, min. 8 (1); 2-0: Canale, min. 3 (1); 2-1: St. Fleur, min. 0 (2) 3-1: Perera, min. 10 (3); 3-2: Christie, min. 10 (3); 4-2: Toth, min. 4 (3)
Match for Fifth Place
El Salvador salvaged a third-place finish from its 2017 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship campaign with a 7-2 win over Guadeloupe.
The champion, which still hasn't finished below third since 2007, would have been tipped by many to contest Sunday’s final, but Rudis Gallo’s men bounced back from a semifinal loss to Panama with the help of a Jose Ruben Batres brace.
There were just four seconds left on the first-period clock, when Sylrick Phirmis gave Guadeloupe a 1-0 lead. The Salvadorans, however leveled at 1-1 as Jose Roberto Membreno found the top corner with a delicious strike from distance.
Theo Gelas - hat-trick hero against Bahamas in the quarterfinal - headed in Guadeloupe’s second shortly afterwards, only for Agustin Ruiz equalize from a set-piece and then Melvin Alexis Segovia put El Salvador in front for the first time midway through the second period.
Batres seized on a lapse in concentration at the back to extend El Salvador’s lead and the physical forward added to that soon after with another clever finish to effectively kill off the contest.
Batres came within a post’s width of a third with another powerful strike, although Darwin Daniel Ramirez and Rafael Rizo would maintain El Salvador’s momentum.
The scoreline could have proved more flattering for El Salvador were it not for a string of wonderful stops from Jordan Sennoaj and indeed his fellow Guadeloupe goalkeeper Cedric Julan.
Goals: 0-1: Phirmis, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Membreno, min. 5 (1); 1-2: Gelas, min. 4 (1); 2-2: Ruiz, min. 1 (1); 3-2: Segovia, min. 6 (2); 4-2: Batres, min. 10 (3); 5-2: Batres, min. 9 (3); 6-2: Ramirez, min. 2 (3); 7-2: Rizo, min. 0 (3)
Captain Greivin Pacheco hat-trick helped Costa Rica edge Canada 6-5 after extra time and secure ninth place at the 2017 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship on Sunday, the competition’s final day of play.
The Ticos led 4-1 midway through the second period after Pacheco’s first two goals, but Canada battled back with a quick-fire double from Jacob Orellana and Danilo Pessoa early in the third.
Danny Johnson gave Costa Rica a 5-4 lead with 5:32 left in the third period, only for Milos Scepanovic to level less than two minutes later. Ultimately, it fell to Pacheco to clinch win with his third goal of the match with 2:14 left in extra time.
Elvis Thomas and Omarie Daniel scored three goals each as Antigua & Barbuda finished ninth thanks to an 8-6 win over Guyana, which got braces from Jamal Haynes and Deshawn Joseph.
Belize hit the goal trail in their 13th-place playoff success against Turks & Caicos Islands, earning a 9-4 win. In an impressive performance, Marlon Meza scored four goals, while Jeremy James and Alexander Jones added two each.
In the first game of the final day, Barbados fought from a goal down to beat US Virgin Islands, 3-1, in the match for 15th place. Vincent Schulz got USVI off to a strong start with the opening goal, but Barbados claimed the victory on goals from Andre Pinder, Elvin Griffith and Ramon Manning.
More to follow throughout the evening…
Sunday -- February 26, 2017
Barbados 3, US Virgin Islands 1
Belize 9, Turks & Caicos Islands 4
Antigua & Barbuda 8, Guyana 6
Canada 5, Costa Rica 6 (aet)
Jamaica 3, Trinidad & Tobago 9
El Salvador 7, Guadeloupe 2
Bahamas 2, USA 4
Panama 4, Mexico 2