The Queen Elizabeth II Stadium in Enfield was the host of Group B’s matches yesterday, as reigning world champions Abkhazia’s place in the quarter finals was put under pressure by one of the surprise packages of the competition so far.
Karpatalya were drafted into the World Football Cup at late notice when Felvidek withdrew and were quickly written off as outsiders in a very strong group. But the Ukrainian-based Hungarian diaspora have upset the odds with a win and a draw against two the competitions strongest sides and are now almost certain to top the group if they beat the already-eliminated Tibet in their final game on Sunday.
Karpatalya started the game strongly and controlled the midfield battle and were rewarded in the eleventh minute when Gajdos’ shot from outside the box took a wicked deflection leaving the ‘keeper wrong footed as the ball found it’s way into the Abkhazia net.
Abkhazia responded and showed some of their quality with some intricate play in the Karpatalya half, but the back four and two shielding central midfielders held firm and didn’t allow the Abkhaz side to provide their star man Ruslan Akhvlediani with any clear cut opportunities.
Akhvlediani had the best chance of the first half just after the hour mark, when a good cross from the right found the striker in the box, but his first shot was blocked and his second acrobatic effort didn’t connect. Karpatalya never looked in danger of conceding though and went into the half time break in front.
The second half was a catalogue of missed opportunities for both sides. Karpatalya struck the woodwork twice, while Abkhazia found themselves in dangerous positions on multiple occasions but were never able to capitalise.
Bela Fejer had to work hard for his deserved clean sheet towards the end of the game as Abkhazia pushed for an equaliser, his best save coming after an attempted clearance in the box cannoned off an Abkhaz chest and was forced him to make a quick reaction stop.
The result was put to bed in the seventh minute of added time when Istvan Sandor drove upfield on the counter attack and curled his shot into the near top corner from thirty yards.
Abkhazia know that a win is imperative in their game against Northern Cyprus to progress to the last eight, while Karpatalya will need to take pointless Tibet seriously to ensure that they finish with at least a draw to make it to the knockout stages.