19 July 2010
IT Carlow were beaten in their first group game by last years 7th placed team South-East European University Tetovo Macedonia.
The Macedonians went 1-0 in the first minute as some clever link up play ended with a tap in for Bari at the back post. Just two minutes later Bari got his second when a long range effort deceived Nicholaus Kantounias. However Carlow had the better of the rest of the half with chances for Darren Kavanagh who hit the post, Ben Ryan and Tom Elmes who shot just wide, then Elmes forced an excellent save from Ismaili. Irelands best chance came when a great ball from Kavanagh was taken off Alan Last with strong penalty claims. Macedonia made it 3-0 with a well worked free-kick and just after the break added a fourth. Carlow got a goal back when a well rehearsed free-kick was finished to the net by goalkeeper Kantounias.
Kantounias continued to be the hero for Carlow with four outstanding saves in a row and was denied his second goal by a full stretched save from Ismaili. Unfortunately he got injured in the process and was replaced by Shaun Pugh who was called into action immediately and saved smartly.
Ryan missed two ten meter penalties in the space of two minutes as Carlow attacked non stop but scored a cracker moments later to put his side back in contention. Pugh saved twice and Craig Wall was narrowly wide from the counter attack. Last had a great opportunity from a great Patrick Carey pass but couldn't find the target. A very exciting game came to an end with Pugh shooting narrowly over from long range.
Head Coach Paul O'Reilly said after the game "overall we are happy with the performance of the team, a poor start cost us the game, being three down after ten minutes. However the reaction from here was excellent, we felt we could have nicked the game with missing two ten metre penalties. The futsal experience of the Macedonias told, they finished seventh last year. However we have a massive challenge ahead playing the reignung champions and number one seeds Universiade de Malaga tomorrow, and we are really looking forward to the game."
IT Carlow: Nicholaus Kantounias, Tom Elmes, Patrick Carey, Ben Ryan, Darren Kavanagh, Craig Wall, Craig Sargent, Robert Farrell, Gary Sweeney, Bobby Tier, Alan Last, Shaun Pugh. Head Coach: Paul O'Reilly, Assistant Coach: Luke Hardy.