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ConIFA WFC Quarter-Final: Barawa 0-8 Northern Cyprus @ Gander Green Lane, Sutton


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Northen Cyprus crushed Barawa to steam through into the semi-finals with a resounding 8-0 win, in the hosts first game since the controversy over the selection of Mo Bettamer. 

Despite Bettamer being cleared to play for ConIFA, he and his teammates were powerless to stop an onslaught by the Northern Cypriots. 

During the first half, Northern Cyprus gave a warning of things to come with several dangerous efforts. Firat Ersalan pulled the strings from the middle of the 3G pitch at Gander Green Lane, playing class and incisive passes every time he got the ball. 

Kaya hit a good effort over before Ugur Gok fired a shot straight into Barawa's Calvin King. Fantastic build-up play from Northern Cyprus kept Barawa on the edge before the ball eventually Halil Turan who should've had a tap-in but he slipped just as he went for the ball. 

Ersalan had to be on hand at the other end, making a vital interception to deny Bettamer what would have been a sitter. A volley from captain Serhan Onet went narrowly over before Ersalan played a delightful through ball to Turan bypassing the Barawa midfield, the Magusa forward's shot was saved by King, but Gok was on hand to convert the rebound. Gok would go close to a second while St. Albans man Fabian Lucien fired it into the side netting with Barawa's only real chance of the first half.

Any hopes of a second-half comeback were erased when Ersalan's free-kick was met with a commanding header from Onet, another cross saw Turan head in a third before former St. Mirren man Billy Mehmet played a dangerous cross that was converted into his own net by Ayuub Ali.

Finding themselves, 0-4 down, Lucien sent a curler into the hands of Hasan Piro, in Barawa's first shot on target in the game.

Northern Cyprus began to absolutely carve up their opponents as they desperately sought to pull off a comeback that was always unlikely.  The Northern Cypriot attackers used their pace and trickery to toy with the Barawa defence before Mehmet played in Turan who smashed the ball home for 0-5.

Shaquille Ismail almost caught out Piro direct from a corner with the 34-year-old having to adjust to tip the ball over the bar, in what was Barawa's best chance of the game. 

Gok volleyed him his second and his side's sixth after being played through with another defence-splitting ball and pacey run. Mehmet headed home another before amazing wing play from Gok again saw a drilled low cross played into Tansel Osman, the forward turned his marker inside before rifling in his first goal of the tournament to equal the largest tournament win this year.

Whereas, Barawa had been let of somewhat by poor finishing in the first half, Northern Cyprus were much more prolific in the second half and as the game opened up more, exploited the vast pockets of space to set up a repeat of last year's ConIFA European Final against Padania in the semi-finals. It was a win that was as both deserved as it was professional and the Northern Cyprus team will fancy their chances against a Padania, who though boasting a 100% record, have an aging squad that may begin to tire in the tournament's latter stages. 

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