MNK Nacional Zagreb pipped ASA Tel-Aviv to second place in UEFA Futsal Cup main round Group 5 despite a 2-1 defeat by hosts ASD Città Di Montesilvano C/5 in their final fixture.
Ahead of Saturday's concluding fixture in Italy, hosts Montesilvano were assured of progress to next month's elite round while Nacional, in second, were three points ahead of ASA. The Israeli champions defeated FS Ilves Tampere 7-3, Raz Zur and Adam Cohen – who was to get a hat-trick – both scoring in the opening minute, but they still needed Nacional to suffer a heavy defeat to go through on goal difference.
However, the Croatian representatives took the game to Montesilvano and Matija Čapar put them in front on five minutes up to the half-hour mark looked set for victory. But Cristian Borruto equalised with nine minutes left and a Čapar own goal ensured victory and first place for the Fulvio Colini's side, though Nacional had six goals to spare over ASA.
Nacional coach Marinko Mavrović told UEFA.com: "We knew it would be an hard match, they were playing in their home stadium with their supporters, so it would have been very difficult for us to win. However, we played to win, but they were stronger then us and deserved to win the group. Of course we were able to hold a 1-0 lead for 30 minutes and we thought we could win, but our luck did not hold. Anyway we are really satisfied about the result, not least because we changed five players this summer."
Colini said: " I'm not satisfied my team's approach and how they played tonight. We are a decent team that achieved a great result with aggression and by keeping our feet on the ground but instead tonight my team was took victory for granted. I didn't like this mental approach and we could get into big trouble if we don't change this attitude. Tonight's match underlines some problems, not only technical or physical, but also mental."
Montesilvano and Nacional will be in the 12 October elite round draw in Nyon with fellow qualifiers Sporting Clube de Portugal, Slov-Matic Bratislava, Iberia Star Tbilisi, FK EP Chrudim, Araz Naxçivan, City'us Târgu Mureş, KMF Ekonomac Kragujevac , Akademia FC Pniewy and FC Time Lviv plus top seeds SL Benfica, ElPozo Murcia FS, MFK Viz-Sinara Ekaterinburg and AFC Kairat Almaty. One place remains to be filled on Sunday when Group 2 concludes the main round.
Hosts Time have already won the group in Ukraine while second-placed MNK Orlić Sarajevo need only draw with AGBU Ararat Nicosia FC to confirm that position, otherwise either the Cypriot side or Lviv's opponent's Athina '90 Athens could pip them with victory.
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