The 2010/11 UEFA Futsal Cup kicked off this weekend and MNK Orlić Sarajevo are the first team to have booked progress from the preliminary round.
Seven four-team mini-tournaments are being played in total this week, with only the winners of each moving forward to the main round. Two victories have already confirmed Orlić as Group C winners with a game to spare, but things are far tighter in Group G, where an exciting finish looks certain on Tuesday with Kremlin Bicêtre United and Futsal Club Eindhoven a point ahead of Icelandic hosts FC Keflavík after two high-scoring days.
Orlić fell behind just past the five-minute mark in their Saturday opener against Group C host club Stella Rossa Wien, but they equalised immediately and were 5-1 up at the break before winning 8-3, aided by a fine performance from goalkeeper Bahrudin Omerbegović as well as four goals from Nijaz Mulahmetović and three courtesy of Slobodan Janjić. In the other game in the section, SC Tornado Chisinau defeated Scotland's Perth Saltires 5-0, driven to victory by two-goal captain Valeriu Baiescu.
The Moldovan side were unable to build on that success as they succumbed 7-4 to Orlić on Sunday. The Sarajevo club twice trailed in the first half but were ultimately grateful to Jovan Blažić, who claimed the second equaliser and then struck three more times in a 95-second period late in the game. That left Orlić needing Tuesday's opponents Perth to drop points against Stella Rossa and although the Scottish side went two up, a pair of late goals from Jürgen Leitner ensured a 2-2 draw.
Orlić will now progress to a main round group containing Ukraine's FC Time Lviv and Athina '90 Athens of Greece. Coach Belmedin Milavica said: "We played an exceptional game against a very good Moldovan team. The second half was very emotional, but we are happy."
In Iceland, meanwhile, three teams will go into Tuesday's Group G deciders with hopes of qualifying, including Keflavík, who stole a march on the opening day with a 10-6 defeat of Sweden's Vimmerby IF inspired by four-goal captain Magnus Thorsteinsson . Prior to that encounter, Eindhoven played out an exciting 3-3 draw with France's Kremlin Bicêtre, who equalised with less than two minutes remaining through Chimel Vita Nzaka, his second of a game in which he and the Dutch champions' Adil Zouthane starred.
Eindhoven then began Sunday's action with a 12-1 triumph against Vimmerby, Mohamed Allouch top-scoring with four goals and Karim Bali – competition top scorer in 2007/08 with 13 for Futsal Topsport Antwerpen – also managing a hat-trick. The victors were nonetheless outdone by Kremlin Bicêtre, who found themselves two down within three minutes against Keflavík but led 6-2 by the midway point of the first half and went on to win 17-5 with Vita Nzaka plundering six goals.
Those results mean that Kremlin Bicêtre now lead Eindhoven on goal difference as they prepare to meet Vimmerby on Tuesday. If the French side fail to win, the victors in the other game will progress to a main round group containing 2005 champions Action 21 Charleroi. Three of the remaining five groups get under way on Monday.
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