27 October 2023 | in University World Cup Football
There will be no outsider in the Men semifinals as all the favourites have qualified more or less easily. The Brazilians of Paulista University were facing the strongest test and eventually prevailed in an intense and undecided match – by far the most exciting of the day.
It was better not to be late at the Quanzhou College of Technology for the match between Paulista University (BRA) and Ramon Llull University (ESP). After 9 minutes, three goals had already been scored. Ranera Grau first exploited a catastrophic clearance by the Paulista defence. But the Spaniards, who had a clean sheet so far in the competition, immediately came back on earth when a solo from Vinicius Soares (picture above) and a header from Novais reversed the score in the space of five minutes. Shortly after the 30-minute mark, Ramon Llull’s equalizer came from the head of Palacios left unmarked at the far post. The match became frantic in the second half with the Spaniards pressing and creating opportunities and the Brazilians mainly relying on the speed of their attackers. The Paulista strategy was double-edged but eventually paid off when Matheus Soares recuperated a floating ball just outside Ramon Llull’s box and chipped it out of the goalkeeper’s reach. Two minutes later the players from Spain thought they had equalized again when Perez netted a header via the post. But the goal was disallowed for offside after the referee consulted the linesman, who had not immediately raised his flag. The last 15 minutes felt like a thriller but the score did not change.
The three other matches were quieter. The State University of Trade and Economics from Ukraine continued to impose their physical power and presence like they did in the group stage. They scored after two minutes against the Uni La Matanza (ARG) which further boosted their confidence. Khrul’s shot from outside the box was not strong but precise – enough to surprise Diaz, the Argentinian goalkeeper. It was copy and paste in the 53rd minute with Strilets as the scorer. 2-0 would have been enough since La Matanza’s resistance was broken but Lyga added a third one by sliding and catapulting into the net a ball that seemed unreachable.
Against the host team Hohai University, the Korean of Myongji University showed a lot of patience. This was the good recipe to break through a compact and disciplined defence. The reward came at the very end of the first half when Kim concluded a very nice collective movement. Despite trailing 0-1 the Chinese were not able to take more risks in the second half and logically eliminated.
The defending champion of the University of the Republic (URU) will have to raise a notch on Sunday when they face The State University of Trade and Economics from Ukraine in the semifinals. Despite beating Kenyatta University (KEN) quite easily thanks to an early volley by Grajales, their performance was all but inspiring. It was the typical match between a team that did not want more and the other one that could not much: boring like a rainy day in a no man’s land.
Hohai University (CHN)-Myongji University (KOR) 0-1 (0-1)
Kim (45’, 0-1)
Paulista University (BRA)-Ramon Llull University (ESP) 3-2 (2-2)
Ranera Grau (3’, 0-1), V. Soares (5’, 1-1), Novais (9’, 2-1), Palacios (33’, 2-2), M. Soares (78’, 3-2)
State University of Trade and Economics (UKR)-Uni La Matanza (ARG) 3-0 (1-0)
Khrul (2’, 1-0), Strilets (53’, 2-0), Lyga (70’, 3-0)
University of the Republic (URU)-Kenyatta University (KEN) 1-0 (1-0)
Grajales (12’, 1-0)
Myongji University (KOR)-Paulista University (BRA)
State University of Trade and Economics (UKR)-University of the Republic (URU)
Watch all semifinals live on FISU.tv