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ConIFA WFC Semi Final: Karpatalja 4-2 Szekely Land @ War Memorial Sports Ground, Carshalton


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Mark Clattenburg was the referee as Karpatalja advanced into the final of the ConIFA World Football Cup with a comfortable win over fellow Hungarian diaspora side Szekely Land despite a late comeback.

Szekely Land, despite enjoying passionate support took a while to get going. Goalkeeper Paval Horvat almost gifted the opposition the opener, when his clearance smashed straight into Sandor Kozman but Barna Bjako was able to recover and just clear the ball off the line.

Midfielder Arthur Gyorgyi went on a powerful, surging run down the right-hand channel and crossed for his Csikzereda teammate Laszlo Hodgayi but the shot was wide.

Gyorgy Toma impressive in the quarter-final win over Cascadia, picked up the ball halfway into the opposition half and weaved his way through for several players with close control and fast footwork before nutmegging Horvat and scoring a stunning solo goal to put Karpatalja into the lead.

Karpatalja goalkeeper Csongor was on hand to save a penalty late in the first half from Laszlo Socs, tipping the ball onto the post and acrobatically blocking a follow-up effort. 

Kozman went close with a header at the beginning of the second half as Karpatalja began to exert themselves more, it was Toma who would get the second again, the ball cleared to him after a corner, his low shot bobbled under the body of Horvat and nestled into the far corner.

When Toma was played in minutes later, he was fouled by Robert Ilyas who had to go off injured after overexerting his knee. Two teammates carried him off and he sat on the corner with an icepack on his knee for the rest of the game.

A penalty was awarded and Gyurki sent Horvat the wrong way to put his side into the lead. Three goals may have been a bit undeserving but Szekely Land had produced little at that point. Generally, they had been defensively sound.

They surged forward in a desperate attempt to win the game, captain and former Csaba Cszismadia pulled one back after a melee, minutes later, the Karpatalja defence parted like the red sea for Moses and Bjalko slotted home the second.

With the Karpatalja defence looking increasingly shaky, the Szekely Land fans were in full voice and the team surged forward looking for a winner. Several dangerous crosses were played in but the defence managed to get it away just about.

The equaliser was not able to come with Peres slotting home after a destructive counter in the fifth minute of stoppage time, Peres was restrained in his celebration but his teammate piled on with Csongor running the full length of the pitch. Karpatalja have set up a rematch of their group game opponents Northern Cyprus, the last meeting finished 1-1. 

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