Update, 2 June 2018: correction to North Cyprus goal-scorer, which was Billy Mehmet and not Oshan as first reported.
The alternative World Cup got underway in various non-league stadia in London today. Among the sixteen teams competing for the Paddy Power CONIFA World Cup trophy is North Cyprus, who could only manage a draw against Kárpátalja.
The Turkish Cypriot national side, who are one of the tournament favourites, started strongly, going ahead in the 13th minute with a goal from Billy Mehmet. They played well for the remainder of the first half but could not add to their lead. It was a different story in the second half, with the Hungarian minority team from Ukraine pushing hard for the equaliser, which came courtesy of Svedjuk in the 53rd minute. The game ended 1-1.
In the stands watching the Group B opening game for North Cyprus was Enfield Town director Ramadan Ismail. Of Turkish Cypriot heritage, Ismail told T-VINE:
“The match started positively with our boys deservedly leading at half-time, but we lost our way somewhat after the break and it was Northern Cyprus that were thankful of the final whistle and securing a point in our first game.”
Reigning CONIFA World Champions Abkhazia beat Tibet 3-0 in their opening game to take them to the top of Group B. They play Kárpátalja at Enfield at 2pm on Saturday 2 June, while North Cyprus take on Tibet at the same ground at 5pm. On Sunday 3 June, Enfield will host Abkhazia versus North Cyprus. The match kicks off at 3pm.
Photo top © Twitter/Turkish Football
— Turkish Football (@Turkish_Futbol1) 31 May 2018