France crowned EMFT champions
Maccabi France were crowned European Maccabi Football Trophy champions after beating Team Maccabi GB in a controversial penalty shoot-out to decide the final at Rowley Lane.
The teams were deadlocked at 1-1 at full-time, but with the visitors in a rush to return home, the final went straight to penalties.
Avi Korman put the hosts ahead with a crackerjack of a left-foot shot that nestled into the top corner towards the end of the first half. France drew level when a speculative shot from 35 distance clipped GB sub Danny Hakimi and deflected past Russell Corin 12 minutes from time.
France went ahead in the shoot-out, but Ben Joseph made it 1-1 with an expert finish. The spot-kicks were of excellent standard, with Korman and Jonny Kay taking it to 3-3. Oakwood hotshot David Woolman stepped up to make it 4-4, before France sent their fifth kick wide, leaving Yoav Kestenbaum to win it for GB. He rolled his effort wide, only for the assistant-referee to signal that the French keeper had come too far off his line and order a retake. This sparked mass protests from the French camp and after a lengthy stoppage, the shoot-out continued, with GB showing true Rachmanus spirit to decline the retake and let France go next.
The visitors scored, as did Faithfold's Rocky Spitzer. France made it 6-5, meaning Adam Hakimi had to score, but his shot was saved by the keeper to spark mass French celebrations.
Earlier in the day, GB had booked their place in the final with a 4-0 win over Team GB Masters - they made a dream start with three goals flying in inside the opening 10 minutes. Meanwhile, France won a fiery affair 2-1 against a German team who led the competition after day one.
Team GB Masters won the third/fourth playoff 2-1, coming from behind with strikes from Adam Kaye and Daryl Phillips.
The Futsal final between Team Maccabi GB and France was abandoned due to an injury in the French camp, with GB leading 3-0.
Photos and video highlights to follow and full coverage in Friday's JC.