Russia beat Italy for beach soccer gold

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Baku, June 28, AZERTAC

World no.1 Russia lived up to their tag as pre-tournament favourites by winning the beach soccer gold medal on Sunday, beating Italy 3-2 in the final.

The Russians added the Baku 2015 European Games title to their 2011 and 2013 World Cup triumphs and confirmed their status as the world's top team.

Goals from Egor Shaikov and Yury Gorchinskiy put Russia 2-0 up in the first period and when Ilia Leonov added a third in the second period, it looked all over.

But world no.11 Italy have been punching above their weight throughout the tournament and they tried to fight back, but third-period goals from Gabriele Gori and Alessio Frainetti were too little too late.

Earlier, Two goals in 28 seconds from Nuno Belchior rescued Portugal from a potentially epic collapse, giving them a 6-5 win over Switzerland and the bronze medal.

Portugal led 4-1 late in the second period, but Switzerland came roaring back to score four goals in seven minutes to take a 5-4 lead midway through the final period.

Belchior, who had already scored Portugal's first goal of the match, converted a free-kick for his second goal with 4:59 left to level the scores.

Less than half a minute later, his spectacular overhead kick hit the back of the net.

"It's amazing, it's a dream," said Portugal's Bruno Novo. "We played very well, we won with justice."

In Sunday's classification matches, Spain secured fifth place with a comfortable 6-3 win over Ukraine, while Hungary beat Azerbaijan 3-2 to take seventh place and deny the hosts a first win on home sand.

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