FC Geneva are the first Swiss side to go through a stage of the UEFA Futsal Cup after topping preliminary round Group B on goal difference, while Club Futsal Eindhoven and KMF Zelezarec Skopje set up a Sunday decider in Group E.
Just two of the seven sections were still to be decided by Friday and that is down to one following the concluding games in Geneva. The Group B hosts led EID Futsal on goal difference at kick-off, with Geneva's opponents in the late fixture – FK Nautara Kaunas – a point behind. EID gave themselves a chance by beating The New Saints FC 11-7 but Geneva overcame Nautara 5-2 to pip the Irish side.
A young TNS team, concluding the first Welsh campaign in this competition, provided EID with a tough test but Diego Oliveira stood out for the Dublin club by scoring four goals and making two. In the last five minutes, influential TNS captain Eric Ramsey made his mark by scoring a hat-trick with two double penalties and a long-range effort into an unguarded net, EID having deployed a flying keeper.
Geneva – who scored two late goals to draw their opener with EID 3-3 and then beat TNS 15-1 – knew any victory would do against now eliminated Nautara. Geneva were 4-1 up by the break and although the Lithuanian side pulled one back, the gifted Clayton Pinheiro struck his second of the game late on to delight the home crowd and go joint top of the competition scoring charts on eight goals. Next month Geneva travel to Georgia for main round Group 3 against hosts Iberia Star Tbilisi, Slov-Matic Bratislava and FC Mapid Minsk.
Group E began on Thursday in Skopje with victories for Eindhoven and hosts Zelezarec and they repeated those feats this evening, ensuring their meeting on Sunday in the last preliminary round fixture will be decisive. Eindhoven defeated Malta's Excess RP Bidnija 8-2, Najib El Allouchi scoring five and Adil Zouthane three.
However, the Dutch champions must beat Zelezarec following the Skopje side's 15-3 victory against Istanbul, Darko Rangotov scoring five despite a saved penalty, and Martin Todorovski also hitting a hat-trick. If the decider is drawn Eindhoven would be out on goal difference, just as in their previous campaign two years ago. MFK Dinamo Moskva will be among the group winners' main round opponents.
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