Baku, September 23, AZERTAC
Azerbaijan reached the quarter-finals of the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016 after an enthralling 13-8 extra-time victory over Thailand in their Round of 16 clash on Thursday.
Led by five goals from Fineo, who will be suspended for the last-eight stage, the Azeris had enough left in the tank by extra time to overcome the Thais in what was a pulsating goal fest in Medellin.
Spectators at Coliseo Ivan de Bedout were treated to eight of the 21 goals scored in the first half, with Azerbaijan’s lead pegged back twice by the plucky Thais.
Vassoura opened the scoring before Fineo scored the first of his opening-half brace to put the Azeris two goals up. That prompted a response from the South-east Asians, with Suphawut Thueanklang scoring two fine goals to make it 2-2.
Back came the Azeris, however, as Fineo scored his second goal of Colombia 2016 before setting up Vitaliy Borisov to make it 4-2 from his free-kick delivery. That only spurred Thailand into another response, with captain Kritsada Wongkaeo converting twice to make it 4-4 at half-time.
Thailand then claimed the advantage with a pair of exquisite goals after the restart. Jirawat Sornwichian gave the Thais their first lead in the match with a sublime volleyed finish, before Wongkaeo sealed his hat-trick with a header from Thueanklang’s neat cross.
Yet, true to the nature of this contest, a pair of Thiago Bolinha goals for Azerbaijan brought the match level at 6-6 before Fabio Poletto’s slide and finish restored the European side’s lead. Thailand’s response would send the game to extra time, as Jetsada Chudech’s free-kick strike made it 7-7 after 40 thrilling minutes of action.
Azerbaijan then took control in extra time, reaching double digits in the first period through Bolinha, Vassoura, and Fineo before Chudech converted a second penalty for 10-8.
Fineo then added two more to complete an extra-time hat-trick before goalkeeper Rovshan Huseynli, who will also miss the next game through suspension, scored the 21st and final goal of the match to send Azerbaijan through to a quarter-final clash with Portugal in Cali on Sunday.