Sporting Clube de Portugal made a winning start to their UEFA Futsal Cup main round campaign but coach Orlando Duarte felt his team eased up in the second half.
Duarte's side top Group 1 after beating preliminary round qualifiers KMF Zelezarec Skopje 5-1 while hosts Slov-Matic Bratislava secured a dramatic 2-1 defeat of Slovenia's FC Kobarid. In the other pool to begin on Monday, Group 4, Czech hosts FK EP Chrudim overcame FC Mapid Minsk 6-2 while it was 5-5 between Iberia Star Tbilisi and Hungary's Győri ETO FC.
It was 4-0 to Sporting at half-time with two Cardinal goals but although Caio added his second with four minutes left, former Portugal coach Duarte had mixed feelings. "I am satisfied with the first half performance, we had lot of chances, the players did well and were in control of the game," he told UEFA.com. "However I didn't like how we played in the second half. Players had in their heads our four-goal advantage and they stopped playing the good futsal we showed in the first half."
Bratislava, who face Zelezarec on Tuesday, trailed to a Jaka Sovdat goal just after half-time but the hosts piled the pressure on Kobarid in the last ten minutes and Attila Fehervári pulled one back before Voitech Várady delighted the home fans with a goal in the last second. Slov-Matic coach Ján Janík said:" We considered this to be the most important and key game of the group for us. The players showed their mental strength at the end of the match."
Over in Chrudim, the home side unexpectedly trailed 2-1 to Mapid at the break but coach Jaroslav Bartušek changed things around after Dentinho equalised, Petr Vladyka and Petr Popelka both scored twice in a seven-minute period to seal victory. They are two points clear after their Tuesday opponents Győr played out a thrilling draw with tournament ever-presents Iberia, who had led 2-0 but were grateful for a late Paulo Xavier equaliser.
Also beginning on Tuesday are Group 6, involving 2005 champions Action 21 Charleroi, and Group 3, with last season's bronze medallists Araz Naxçivan playing. The top two teams from each group progress to the elite round.
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