MFK Dinamo Moskva have earned a return to the UEFA Futsal Cup after beating MFK Sinara Ekaterinburg to the Russian title.
Dinamo took the European crown four years ago but have been absent from the competition for the last two seasons after Ekaterinburg denied them the championship they held between 2002/03 and 2007/08. But Dinamo triumphed in this season's play-off final with a whitewash in the best-of-five series, played like all Russian games over 50 minutes.
The capital club had already earned top seeding by finishing five points clear of Sinara in the regular season, beating their rivals 3-2 at home and drawing 4-4 in Ekaterinburg. In the play-off quarter-finals Dinamo saw off PFC CSKA Moskva in three games while 2008 UEFA Futsal Cup winners Ekaterinburg took four matches to defeat FK Politech St Petersburg. Dinamo lost their opening semi-final game at home to PMFK Sibiryak but won the next three while Sinara were taken to a decider by MFK Tyumen, prevailing 3-2 at home.
In the final opener in Moscow, Dinamo set the agenda with a 9-2 triumph. It was closer the next day as it finished 3-3 but Dinamo won 4-2 on penalties. A 6-5 victory in Ekaterinburg, which Dinamo had trailed 3-1 before Cirilo's winner with three minutes to go, booked their berth in the 2011/12 UEFA Futsal Cup.
Aleksandr Fukin of Dinamo said: "Thanks to the team, we deserved this victory: everyone was completely stronger this year, this proved it. Today was hard, but we were able to survive and earn victory. Emotions gush, words can not convey them – you need to become a champion to feel it."
However, while Dinamo are back in Europe, two familiar names will be missing after three-time winners Interviú Madrid and ElPozo Murcia FS both lost in the Spanish quarter-finals. FC Barcelona and Interviú's nemeses Caja Segovia FS won in the semis will play off from Saturday over five games for the title and a UEFA Futsal Cup debut.
European champions ASD Città di Montesilvano C/5, meanwhile, have lost their Italian title with a semi-final loss to Marca Futsal, who face Ponzio Pescara C/5 in the five-game decider. The two teams Montesilvano beat in Almaty, holders SL Benfica and runners-up Sporting Clube de Portugal, will again play off for their domestic title starting this weekend. Kairat Almaty, who took bronze on home soil in this year's finals, have already earned a return as champions of Kazakhstan.
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