Azerbaijan made a real breakthrough when they reached the UEFA European Futsal Championship semi-finals in January, but the club that made up the bulk of the squad and is also coached by Alesio, Araz Naxçivan, had already reached that stage of the UEFA Futsal Cup. They take on holders Interviú Madrid in Lisbon on Friday and Vitaliy Borisov, a key man for club and country, discusses Araz's chances with UEFA.com.
UEFA.com: Have Araz already fulfilled their aims by reaching the semi-finals?
Vitaliy Borisov: So far we have reached the goals we set for ourselves before the main and elite rounds. Now, in the finals, everything starts from scratch for us. We understand that it will be much more difficult for us in Portugal than it was in Croatia or Baku [for the main and elite rounds].
UEFA.com: Are you happy with the draw?
Borisov: Well, since we are up against the reigning UEFA Futsal Cup champions, you can hardly say that draw was kind to us, but are there any weak teams at this stage?
UEFA.com: What do you know about Interviú?
Borisov: They are Spain's best club, the UEFA Futsal Cup holders. I believe we know more about them than they know about us and that is an advantage. I know Interviú have a number of Brazilian and Spanish internationals but I haven't seen any of their games yet. I am sure the coaches will show them to us before the match.
UEFA.com: Have you come up against Spanish opposition at club or national-team level?
To tell the truth I have never played against the Spanish, and it makes the Interviú game even more interesting to me. They also have a lot of Brazilian players so we can imagine their style of play.
UEFA.com: Which match was more difficult, the 4-4 draw against MNK Potpićan 98 in the main round or 4-3 win against Kairat Almaty in the elite round when you scored an important goal?
Borisov: The Kairat match was of course tighter, not only because they have classy players who have played at a very high level. In Croatia we were sure of the qualification before the Potpićan game and took to the pitch a bit too relaxed. In Baku both us and Kairat approached the game virtually level though a draw was enough for us to go through to the finals. We won and made a packed stadium of Azerbaijani fans happy. To score in such an important match at your home stadium gives you a special feeling.
UEFA.com: How did the team change after Alesio took charge?
Borisov: First of all we started to be more aware tactically. His faith in tactics is what distinguishes the Brazilian from the others. You can clearly see it from the example of Araz and Azerbaijan.
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