FC Time Lviv, KMF Ekonomac Kragujevac and Akademia FC Pniewy were the latest qualifiers for the UEFA Futsal Cup main round on Friday – the latter two ending the campaign of 2005 champions Action 21 Charleroi.
In eight previous entries, Charleroi have never failed to be at least among the final 16, but a 6-2 loss to Pniewy on Wednesday had left them third in main round Group 6. Pniewy put themselves in a good position in the first game today by beating French side Kremlin Bicêtre United 4-0, Dariusz Pieczynski scoring a hat-trick. Charleroi still had a slim chance but were beaten 3-2 by Serbian hosts KMF Ekonomac Kragujevac, who secured first place and go into the 12 October elite round draw with Polish competition newcomers Pniewy.
Kragujevac coach Ivan Božović said: "Even though Charleroi didn't bring some of their best players to Serbia they proved to be a worthy and tough opponents. I think that we simply had better players on our bench and were a better team." Pniewy's Klaudiusz Hirsch added: "I am very happy and proud of my players. It makes me even more happy to think that we accomplished all of this on our debut."
Ukraine's Time are through with a game to spare following a 2-1 defeat of MNK Orlić Sarajevo in Group 2. Both those sides won their openers on Thursday and the early game today was drawn 2-2 between AGBU Ararat Nicosia FC and Athina '90 Athens. AGBU Ararat had most of the play but fell behind before Zoltan Mihaly and Davi Menezes scored on 37 and 38 minutes to put them ahead, only for Sokratis Mourdoukoutas to swiftly equalise.
Nijaz Mulahmetović gave Orlić the lead against the group hosts but Ildar Makayev scored on 11 and 12 minutes, and was even able to afford to miss from the spot late on. Mulahmetović was dismissed in the 39th minute but his side only need a point against AGBU Ararat on Sunday to go through.
Group 3 concluded in Romania but City'us Târgu Mureş and Araz Naxçivan had both already secured progress. Araz, third last year, won the group decider 3-1 against the hosts, Anderson scoring a hat-trick, his last late on after Târgu Mureş had put the pressure on with a flying goalkeeper and Florin Ignat pulled one back.
Araz coach Alesio said: "We worked hard to win this group. City'us were difficult opponents and I am very glad about this victory. I must congratulate my players but this euphoria must end soon because we do not intend to stop here. We want more." FK Nikars Riga beat Sporting Final FC 4-1 for third place, Aleksejs Baranovs scoring three.
Already through to join top seeds SL Benfica, ElPozo Murcia FS, MFK Viz-Sinara Ekaterinburg and AFC Kairat Almaty in next month's elite round before today were Sporting Clube de Portugal, Slov-Matic Bratislava, Iberia Star Tbilisi, FK EP Chrudim and Group 5 hosts ASD Città Di Montesilvano C/5. The Italian side conclude their mini-tournament on Saturday and opponents MNK Nacional Zagreb need to a point to join them, otherwise ASA Tel-Aviv could pip them on goal difference by beating FS Ilves Tampere.
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