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The game you might have missed: Western Armenia vs South Ossetia

South Ossetia won their first CONIFA European Football Cup on 9 June, beating Western Armenia in the final of this major event, at the end of an epic game in front of a huge crowd. We are telling you the whole story here.

South Ossetia won their very first CONIFA European Football Cup

All pictures courtesy of CONIFA/Gevorg Ghazaryan

The game

Finals are not always as beautiful as you would hope. Tension, massive stake, fear to lose, there are many explanations for this phenomenon. The start of the CONIFA European Football Cup final between South Ossetia and Western Armenia seemed to go into this direction Sunday 9 June.

After a couple of harmless long range shots, Batradz Gurtsiev was the first one to really create some danger in the Western Armenia box, but Gevorg Kasparov remained vigilant (35’).

The Armenians were really not into their game and five minutes before half time they were really close to take a goal on one of the two many free-kicks they conceded. But the good shot of Soslanbeg Dzagoev was denied by the impeccable Kasparov (40’).

The second half saw South Ossetia pushing a bit stronger, with Ibragim Bazaev getting close to score on a free header (58’). The striker finally scored a few minutes later on a beautiful free-kick which left Kasparov frozen to the spot (1-0, 65’).

Strange moment as the nets did not resist, giving the feeling the ball actually never went in... But the goal was definitely allowed, putting logically the Ossetians in front. Then and only then Western Armenia started to react, putting a lot of pressure in the box but clearly lacking of ideas to create real chances.

South Ossetia goalkeeper Muharbeg Buraev was the hero for his team in the CONIFA Europen Football Cup final

The game seemed to be sealed, but... Eight minutes into stoppage time, the Armenians got a penalty following a sloppy challenge in the area. Aghvan Davoyan took the shot but Muharbeg Buraev’s double save ruined all Armenians hopes to come back. Literally a second later the referee blew the final whistle, opening a torrent of joy in the Ossetian side and an ocean of tears on the other side...

The goal

Not very difficult to choose as only one goal was scored : but what a goal ! Brought down about 30 meters away from the goals, Ibragim Bazaev was keen on taking the free-kick himself. And rightly so. His powerful right foot shot took a “ronaldesque” curve to end up straight in the top corner, making Gevorg Kasparov's dive completely desperate.

The words

"All teams are winners. We have enjoyed 9 unforgettable days, and it is with some sadness that it has come to an end"
Grigori Martirosyan, State Minister of the Republic of Artsakh

The outcome

South Ossetia are the CONIFA European Football Cup Champions, their best performance ever, as they finished fourth at the CONIFA World Cup back in 2014. They are following Padania, who had won the first two CONIFA Euros (2015, 2017). For Western Armenia, once the disappointment will have faded a bit, they should be pretty satisfied : never before had they reached the last four of a major tournament.