Russia clinch gold in football 7-a-side

Romanov’s goal proves enough for Russians to edge out Ukraine, while Iran take bronze. 09 Sep 2012
Russia football

Russia's Eduard Ramonov celebrates on the football 7-a-side pitch after winning gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

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Romanov broke the deadlock with the deciding goal on 44 minutes as he expertly controlled and executed the winning shot.

Eduard Romanov’s strike was enough to earn Russia a gold medal as they triumphed with a 1-0 win over defending champions Ukraine.

In the 44th minute, Romanov sprinted to reach a high ball over the top of the Ukrainian defence. With great technique and skill, he buried his shot into the bottom corner with a fine finish.

The Russians controlled the majority of the first half although they could have been behind if Ivan Dotsenko had got a better touch on the ball.

Russian captain Ivan Potekhin sent a high cross into midfielder Zaurbek Pagaev to try and convert the first score. Pagaev struggled to get a clean strike on the ball and could only find the side netting of the goal.

Kuligin earned a free kick and drove the ball with blistering pace towards goal forcing goalkeeper Vladislav Raretckii to make a difficult save as he tipped it over the bar.

Dotsenko could have put the reigning champions ahead but Russian keeper Kostyantyn Symashko caught his flicked header comfortably as the half ended goal-less.

Russia were again on the front foot in the second half and had another opportunity five minutes in. Pagaev found himself through on goal one-on-one with Symashko but the Ukrainian keeper did enough to distract him and collect the ball.

Romanov broke the deadlock with the deciding goal on 44 minutes as he expertly controlled and executed the winning shot.

Ukraine kept driving forward to try and find an equaliser to force extra-time but Russia held on for the all important victory. At the final whistle, they piled on top of each other to celebrate their first gold medal since Sydney 2000.

In the bronze medal match, Iran’s Farzad Mehri and Rasoul Atashafrouz bagged two goals each in a 5-0 victory over Brazil repeating their podium finish from Beijing.

Brazil were left stunned when Iran scored three goals in a flawless six minutes.

Atashafrouz grabbed the 100th goal of the tournament with a low drive into the bottom corner to open the scoring.

Mehri hit the target perfectly from long range firing the ball across goal and shaking the back of the net to double the advantage.

Atashafrouz added his second goal of the game to the scoreboard when he tapped the ball over the line for Iran to lead 3-0 at halftime.

In the second half, Brazil intensified the pressure and unleashed an array of shots on goal that tested Iranian goalkeeper Moslem Khazaeipirsarabi.

Brazil’s first opportunity fell to Jan Brito Da Costa who struck the inside of the post. The Riverbank crowd held their breath as it rolled across the goal line.

Da Costa had another chance to pull one back for Brazil but his effort was expertly saved by the impressive Iranian keeper, diving low to his left to push the ball around the posts.

In the closing stages, Iran scored two more goals to ensure the victory.

Jasem Bakhshi stroked in the fourth goal and Mehri chipped in his second to round off an emphatic bronze medal success for the Iranians.

Earlier in the day, Iljas Visker scored his first Paralympic hat trick in a fantastic 18-minute effort against Argentina to help the Netherlands finish fifth.

Great Britain finished seventh after a 3-1 win over USA in extra time. The British fell behind when Rene Renteria opened the scoring for the Americans but Michael Barker leveled the scores moments later.

Neither team could find a breakthrough until George Fletcher and Ibz Diallo scored in quick succession to end the tournament on a high for the hosts.