Sporting Clube de Portugal, Slov-Matic Bratislava and FK EP Chrudim are the first three teams through from the UEFA Futsal Cup main round while last season's bronze-medallists Araz Naxçivan survived a scare to open with a win.
In Group 1, Sporting and hosts Bratislava both won their openers on Monday and secured second victories today to ensure progress to the elite round regardless of the result when they meet on Thursday. It was close for Sporting against Slovenia's FC Kobarid, Pedro Cary scoring early as in the 5-1 defeat of KMF Zelezarec Skopje. He had his goal cancelled out by Jaka Sovdat just past the break only for Alex to strike a 26th-minute winner for Orlando Duarte's Portuguese champions. Duarte told UEFA.com: "We have two wins out of two matches so I have to be happy about the results we have achieved here, however I am not satisfied with the futsal we played."
Bratislava defeated preliminary round qualifiers Zelezarec 4-1, having been frustrated for 27 minutes before two Zdenĕk Sláma goals set them on their way in a euphoric atmosphere. Coach Ján Janík said: "We believed today we would win, because we had more chances than our opponents, it was just a matter of time. We are very happy, very tired mentally but of course, tomorrow we will actually really have an idea how big a success we have achieved."
Czech champions Chrudim secured a second Group 4 win on home territory, defeating Győri ETO FC of Hungary 5-3 with goals in the final minute from experienced brothers Michal and Roman Mareš. Iberia Star Tbilisi, who drew 5-5 with Győr on Monday, overcame FC Mapid Minxk 6-4 – having trailed 4-2 with 14 minutes left – to end the Belarusian team's hopes and move three points clear in second place. A draw with Chrudim on Thursday will take them through, otherwise Győr could still overtake them on goal difference.
Two other groups began on Tuesday and there was almost a real upset in Group 3 as Araz, having been two up, found themselves 4-2 down to Irish side Sporting Fingal FC early in the second half thanks to some sharp counterattacking. However, Araz piled on the pressure and five unanswered goals salvaged a 7-4 victory. Araz coach Alesio said: "Sporting Fingal surprised us in the first half but luckily we have enough experience and had enough time to come through in the end."
Later in the same section hosts City'us Târgu Mureş defeated FK Nikars Riga 7-1, Robert Florin Matei scoring a hat-trick to the delight of the 1,000-strong crowd. Home coach Sito Rivera said: "I am very happy about this victory. It's a good start. I hope, we will continue in the same way." His team play Fingal on Wednesday.
Also starting today was Group 6 in Serbia and home side KMF Ekonomac Kragujevac defeated Poland's Akademia FC Pniewy 3-1, controlling the game from Vladan Cvetanović's first-minute goal. Action 21 Charleroi, the 2005 champions, eased to a 9-0 victory against French club Kremlin Bicêtre United, Valentin Dujacquier striking four goals with Liliu also impressive.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.