Ukraine claimed their first victory of the 2011 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, overcoming Japan 4-2 in a tight contest.
Having lost their opening fixtures, both sides entered the match knowing they needed to pick up points. Ukraine took an immediate lead, Roman Pachev scoring straight from kick-off just two seconds into the match, the fastest goal of the tournament so far.
Although Ukraine were in control, a goal rush did not follow and there were no further strikes in the first period. In fact, the second goal of the game did not come until midway through the second period, Sergii Bozhenko doubling Ukraine’s advantage.
Now the goals were flowing and the Ukrainians made it three a minute later when Oleg Zborovskyi finished off a wonderful team move. Japan finally came to life and reduced the deficit a further minute later, Hirofumi Oda’s shot giving his side hope.
Into the third period, Japan increased the pressure and won a penalty, which was missed by Shunta Suzuki. They did make it 3-2 shortly after, though, Masayuki Komaki beating the Ukraine goalkeeper.
Ukraine put paid to the Japanese comeback three minutes before full-time, Oleg Mozgovyy sending a brilliant free-kick into the top corner to put the result beyond doubt.
After two defeats, Japan will want a result in their final game against Brazil for pride. Ukraine end the group stage with a match versus Mexico. Both games take place on Tuesday 6 September.