Israel kept up with Nigeria in a very intense final of the five-a-side Mundial in Tel Aviv yesterday, but the African squad pulled away in the second half to win 6-2 and claim the championship.
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Israel came into the final with the strongest defense of the tournament, conceding just seven goals in five matches. Nigeria arrived with the best attack and top scorer Awala Magallan, with 15 goals in just five matches.
After the anthems were played, Magallan as usual opened the match with a quick goal. Israel kept cool, and a few minutes later Gil Kipper equalized with a precise shot off a perfect assist from Adi Renton.
Nigeria played with its goalkeeper far from the goal, which gave the Africans superiority in some parts of the game. Awala found an impossible angle and scored again, only to see Kipper retaliate a few seconds later.
The second half started out 2-2 but turned out very different as both sides looked afraid to lose and played very tactically. Tom Kaufman and Israel blocked the Nigerians' attacks, while goalkeeper Peter Emola was in perfect shape to rebuff the Israelis.
A strange situation broke the deadlock. Nigeria's Kamara barely touched the ball, which slowly but surely made its way into Israel's net. Elad Levin had a nice opportunity to equalize, but it was an unlucky evening for the Israelis.
Awala, meanwhile, served a perfect assist and then completed a hat-trick, while captain Martin Udeani fixed the final score at 6-2.
Nigeria celebrated the victory with Udeani kissing the trophy and the euphoric team surrounded by its African supporters.
At the closing ceremony, Tom Kaufman of Israel was awarded a trophy for the best goalkeeper of the tournament. Elad Levin of Israel was voted Mundial World Player by most of the captains. The Goldenfoot award went to Magallan for his 18 goals.