FS Ilves Tampere are the latest side through from the UEFA Futsal Cup preliminary round while KMF Leotar Trebinje and SC Tornado Chisinau have set up an exciting last-day decider.
Finland's Ilves began Group A in Scotland on Monday with an 8-4 defeat of SD Croatia Berlin and followed that up today with a 4-2 win against Montenegro's Bajo Pivljanin Pluzine, who themselves began on three points. It proved a close affair and early in the second half the impressive Bojan Bajović put Bajo 2-1 up but in the last ten minutes Jaakko Laitinen, Timur Inapshba and Juha-Pekka Torvinen secured victory for Ilves.
Ilves's progress to the main round for the second year running was then confirmed regardless of the concluding results on Thursday when Croatia Berlin came from behind to beat hosts Perth Saltires 3-1. Sean Fergus had put Perth ahead, but they had Mark Duigan sent off for two yellow cards and a Kevin Reinhardt-inspired Croatia Berlin side mounted a second-half comeback to win. Ilves face Italy's Marca Futsal, Romanian hosts City'US Târgu Mures and MNK Split in main round Group 5 next month.
On the second day of action in Group C, Tornado and hosts Leotar both built on opening wins to ensure their Thursday game will decide first place. Tornado needed a Denis Coicev goal 77 seconds from the end to beat Falcao FC Stockholm, down to four men after Daniel Blanco's dismissal. Leotar then saw off Andorra's FC Encamp 8-4 to remain top on goal difference, two goals coming from impressive veteran Sinisa Mulina.
It was the first day of action in Group B in Switzerland, and seasoned campaigners FK Nautara Kaunas moved into an early lead. They won 9-3 against The New Saints FC, the first Welsh side ever to play in this competition, who reduced arrears slightly with two late goals. Hosts FC Geneva, who meet TNS on Wednesday, drew 3-3 with Irish side EID Futsal with both sides' Brazilian influence producing an quick and skillful affair, half-time leaders Geneva fighting back from a two-goal deficit in the last six minutes thanks to Diogo Rodrigues and Clayton Pinheiro.
The other two groups in action had already been decided on Sunday. In Group D Vegakameratene of Norway celebrated their progress with a 4-1 defeat of Iceland's Fjölnir to end on nine points while Bulgarian hosts MFC Varna beat Denmark's BGA Futsal 5-3 for second place, Georgi Gerasimov's treble inspiring a comeback. Over in Cyprus, Group G hosts AC Omonia also claimed a third win, beating Erebuni Yerevan 8-2. Paris Sporting Club saw off Albania's KS Flamurtari 9-5 to end as runners-up, Betinho scoring his second mini-tournament hat-trick.
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