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Four Nations Futsal Tournament: Kazakhstan Bottom After Two Draws and Defeat Against Iran

Four Nations Futsal Tournament: Kazakhstan Bottom After Two Draws and Defeat Against Iran
AFC Kairat forward Chingiz Yesenamanov (10) struck twice for Kazakhstan at the international tournament in Iran (Photo credit: Russian Futsal Association Press Office)

From December 3–6, 2017, Kazakhstan national futsal team took part at the international competition held in Isfahan, the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In what was a trademark international futsal quadruple tournament designed to provide top teams with quality practice, Kazakhstan faced hosts Iran and the two European sides, Russia and Azerbaijan.

It is worth noting the high-profile status of the competition since Russia became runners-up at the 2016 FIFA World Cup and Iran finished it as bronze medals winners. Azerbaijan, for their part, are also a reputable force, sitting 10th in the FIFA World Rankings, just one spot shy of Kazakhstan.

Cacau's men, a EURO 2016 top-three side, entered the stage in the wake of physical and mental fatigue harmed their core players as the nation's top club AFC Kairat have just completed their UEFA Futsal Cup campaign in Spain before playing two games in the domestic league prior to their Middle East travel.

Kazakhstan run short of energy

With the poor warmup, Kazakhstan unsurprisingly lacked freshness and stamina, and failed to get good results they're accustomed to in recent years. Two points earned from possible nine saw them finish bottom in the round-robin competition.

Nevertheless, Kazakhstan proved to be statitistically worst only by tiebreakers, and were able to show some good displays throughout the contest at the Aban Hall, Naghsh-e Jahan in Isfahan City.

In an opening encounter, Kazakhstan came close to winning against Russia only to see their second-half pressure unawarded in a 3-3 stalemate. Next game proved to be more even disappointing after Iran beat them 2-1, with a herat-breaking decider coming five seconds from full-time.

Kazakhstan (blue) and their Brazilian head coach Cacau (2R) in their 2-1 loss to Iran (Photo credit: Mehr News Agency)

On the final matchday, Kazakhstan trailed Azerbaijan by two goals at half-time but managed to roar back, netting three times in the process. However, Azerbaijan, guided by former Cacau assistant and ex-Kazakhstan manager Alesio, equalised late on to steal the eventual third place. Iran, meanwhile, overcame Russia in the last game to come up champions.

Waiting for the Euro finals

"Hopefully, the tournament will evolve into an annual event. Next year, it is to be hosted by Kazakhstan, and I would like to meet with all these opponents again," noted Cacau following the Azerbaijan draw.

Despite the discouraging result, Cacau and his staff have some positives to take from the experience, helpful in their upcoming pursuit of another international success as they set to compete at the 2018 Euros in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

In this final tournament, scheduled for February, Kazakhstan will play Poland and Russia in the group stage, with the winners of three-team groups and runners-up advancing to quarter finals.

2017 Futsal Nations Quadruple Tournament (Isfahan, IR Iran, December 3–6)

December 3

Russia v Kazakhstan 3-3 (2-1)
03/12/2017, Aban Hall (Isfahan). Ref: Afshar (IRN), Amiri (IRN).
RUS: Putilov, Balashov – Ponkratov, Asadov, Niyazov, Afanasyev, Shayakhmetov, Lyskov, Abramov, Abramovich, Milovanov, Batyrev, Kudziyev. HC: Sergey Skorovich.
KAZ: Higuita, Shamro – Zhamankulov, Leo, Yesenamanov, Douglas Jr., Knaub, Turegazin, Suleimenov, Pershin, Taku, Tursagulov, Akbalikov, Orazov. HC: Cacau (BRA).
Goals: 0-1 Yesenamanov (16), 1-1 Lyskov (17), 2-1 Niyazov (19), 2-2 Yesenamanov (26), 3-2 Abramov (29), 3-3 Leo (30).

IRN v AZE 3-3 (2-2)
Goals: 0-1 Gabriel (2), 1-1 Hassanzadeh (3), 2-1 Tayebi (4), 2-2 Carvalho (14), 3-2 Shajari (28), 3-3 Thiago (38).

December 4

IR Iran v Kazakhstan 2-1 (1-1)
04/12/2017, Aban Hall (Isfahan). Ref: Nasirlou (IRN), Ramezani (IRN).
IRN: M.Mohammadi, S.Mohammadi – Hassanzadeh, Esmaeilipour, Ahmadi, Tayebi, Rafieepour, Shajiri, Alighadr, Javid, Oladghobad, Orouji, Sangsefidi, Ahmadabbasi. HC: Mohammad Nazemosharia.
KAZ: Higuita, Shamro – Zhamankulov, Leo, Yesenamanov, Douglas Jr., Knaub, Turegazin, Suleimenov, Pershin, Taku, Tursagulov, Akbalikov, Orazov. HC: Cacau (BRA).
Goals: 1-0 Tayebi (4), 1-1 Douglas (14), 1-2 Esmaeilipour (40).
YC: Douglas (11), Ahmadi (21).

AZE v RUS 3-4 (0-2)
Goals: 0-1 Milovanov (15), 0-2 Lyskov (17),1-2 Everton (23), 2-2 Everton (28), 2-3 Lyskov (31), 2-4 Niyazov (35), 3-4 Vassoura (40).
RC: Everton (28) AZE, Afanasyev (28) RUS.

December 6

Azerbaijan v Kazakhstan 3-3 (2-0)
06/12/2017, Aban Hall (Isfahan). Ref: Pourafshar (IRN), Zakeri (IRN).
AZE: Huseynli, Kurdov – Carvalho, Eduardo, Farzaliyev, Gabriel, Hamzayev, Atayev, Sultanov, Chovdarov, Mammadov, Vassoura. HC: Alesio (BRA).
KAZ: Higuita, Shamro – Leo, Yesenamanov, Doulas Jr., Tursagulov, Knaub, Turegazin, Zhamankulov, Suleimenov, Pershin, Taku, Akbalikov, Orazov. HC: Cacau (BRA).
Goals: 1-0 Vassoura (9), 2-0 Vassoura (11), 2-1 Taku (25), 2-2 Leo (32), 2-3 Taku (36), 3-3 Carvalho (39).

IRN v RUS 4-0 (1-0)
Goals: 1-0 Javid (18), 2-0 Javid (29), 3-0 Rafiei (32), 4-0 Shajari (38).

Final standings

 Pos  Team  Pld  W  D  L  GF  GA  GD  Pts
 1  IR Iran
 3  2  1  0  9  3  +6  7
 2  Russia  3  1  1  1  7  10  -3  4
 3  Azerbaijan  3  0  2  1  9  10  -1  2
 4  Kazakhstan  3  0  2  1  7  8  -1  2

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