ElPozo Murcia FS will again compete in the UEFA Futsal Cup next season after retaining the Spanish title while holders SL Benfica look like being joined in the competition by Lisbon rivals Sporting Clube de Portugal.
There was a surprise in the Spanish play-off quarter-finals when Interviú Madrid, not long after losing their UEFA Futsal Cup crown to Benfica, were eliminated by MRA Navarra FS on penalties. Navarra won through to the final against Murcia, who have been in the decider every year since 2002/03 and faced Interviú in that tie each season apart from 2005/06.
In the best-of-five series, Spanish Cup and Spanish Super Cup winners Murcia were at home for the first two games and prevailed 3-2 and 2-1. Then at the weekend Navarra kept their hopes alive with a 3-1 win on Saturday, but lost 6-1 the next day with Kike scoring a hat-trick as Murcia took their fourth championship in five years. They can look forward to entering the 2010/11 UEFA Futsal Cup in the elite round.
Murcia coach Duda said: "My players have shown their excellence, gaining one more title in a superb season in Spain, in which we have only lost one game in either the play-offs, the Cup or the Super Cup. MRA Navarra are a very good team in every way. It made for a dramatic league final."
The Portuguese play-off final begins on Saturday. Benfica had already assured themselves of a European place thanks to their triumph in this season's UEFA Futsal Cup. Two 3-1 wins against CF Os Belenenses at the weekend has put them in the league final where they will meet Sporting, who are in line to join their neighbours in Europe, after they beat Instituto D. João V 3-1 away and 4-3 at home in extra time.
Of last year's losing UEFA Futsal Cup semi-finalists only bronze-medallists Araz Naxçivan will be back next season. They retained the Azerbaijani title but Luparense C/5 were knocked out in the Italian semi-finals by AS Città di Montesilvano C/5. They then went on to beat Marca Futsal in the best-of-three decider, prevailing 6-1 in the third match to earn a first championship and a UEFA Futsal Cup debut.
More familiar entrants next season come in the shape of Russian champions MFK Viz-Sinara Ekaterinburg, their fellow former UEFA Futsal Cup winners Action 21 Charleroi, three-time semi-finalists Kairat Almaty, Ukraine's FC Time Lviv and the only club to enter all nine previous editions, Iberia 2003 Tbilisi.
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