Baku, June 25, AZERTAC
Two late goals in a minute against Hungary showed why Russia are ranked world no.1 and are many people's pick for Beach Soccer gold at Baku 2015.
Hungary had their moments in a 5-3 defeat by the 2011 and 2013 world champions – indeed, two quick-fire goals saw the world no.21 side draw level with just four minutes remaining.
But first Alexey Makarov coolly shot past the keeper with two minutes left, before team-mate Dmitrii Shishin added some gloss in the final minute.
"It is the first game," Egor Shaikov said when asked about Hungary's comeback. "And you can lose concentration, and after two goals thank God they refreshed us."
The evening session closed with Azerbaijan momentarily delighting a boisterous home crowd, as Sabir Allahguliyev scored with a spectacular bicycle kick to draw his side level with Ukraine at 1-1.
While the noise levels continued to rise, the home side were unable to maintain their composure, however.
A second successive defensive mistake handed the lead back to Ukraine, who went on to win 3-1.
"A good result was possible but for individual mistakes. These players don't have the experience playing at this level, in this atmosphere," explained Azerbaijan's Portuguese coach Ze Miguel afterwards.