Barcelona, Egyptian Stars and AS Roma book place in semi-finals
Semi-finals and finals set to take place today (Saturday, July 6) at Dubai World Trade Centre
Dubai, United Arab Emirates:-Fans from across the region gathered in Sheikh Rashid Hall at the Dubai World Trade Centre last night to witness a dramatic night of football with 30 goals scored as reigning champions Barcelona, Egyptian Stars and AS Roma booked their places in the semi-finals of the Dubai Indoor Football Championships. Another night of exciting football is anticipated tonight as the fate of the teams will be sealed at the 3rd edition of the Indoor Football Championship.
Home favourites Emirati Stars and FC Barcelona kicked off proceedings in a highly entertaining game. Barcelona took a 3-1 lead at half-time but the Emiratis, with a capacity home crowd cheering them on, produced a spirited comeback in the second half, thanks to two penalties. With the game edging towards the closing stages, prolific striker Santi Ezquerro once again came to the rescue for the Catalans with the winner, seeing his team through the semi-finals and their quest to defend the title.
The game of the night came between Real Madrid and last season's semi-finalists Egyptian Stars. The Egyptians, who beat FC Porto the previous night, showed great energy and enthusiasm as they beat their illustrious rivals 6-2 with two goals from Ahmad Abdrabou to book their place in the semi-finals for the second year running. Dubai-based former Galactico Michel Salgado scored both goals for the Spanish giants.
FC Porto and Algerian Stars continued the high-octane action with another high-scoring encounter. The Portuguese giants put their debut night defeat behind them with a 5-3 victory of their regional rivals, with two goals from player/coach Rui Barros.
In the final game of the night AS Roma and Moroccan Stars provided the fans with an exciting seven-goal thriller. The Moroccan outfit went into the half-time with a 3-2 lead, with goals from Hamid Boujar and Youssef Mariana. But the Italians showed their class with a spirited fight back. Agostini pulled a goal back with two minutes of the game left and in the dying seconds, the Romans won a penalty. With a semi-final place up for grabs, Massimiliano Cappioli, kept his nerve to calmly slot home the penalty and give the Italians the win.
Real Madrid and FC Porto open the fourth day of the championship in a battle of European giants as they compete for a spot in the semi-finals. Tonight's (Friday, July 5th) matches will determine which teams will advance to the semi-finals, which take place on Saturday night. Organised in partnership with Dubai Sports Council, fans can enjoy another night (Friday, July 5th) of thrilling play as the championship continues into its fourth evening as Real Madrid play FC Porto at 7pm, FC Barcelona v AS Roma at 8pm, Egyptian Stars v Algerian Stars 9pm while home favorites Emirati Stars v Moroccan Stars is the last game of the evening at 10pm.
The Dubai Indoor Football Championship takes place alongside Dubai Sports World, the region's largest indoor sporting event. It is organised by Dubai World Trade Centre in partnership with Dubai Sports Council, and is sponsored by Emirates NBD, Chevrolet, Decathlon and Power Horse. The event will run until July 6, from 7.00pm - 11.00pm; doors open at 6.00pm. For more information, call 04 3064000. Tickets are available at the venue or through www.dubaifootballchamps.com