With less than a fortnight to go before the UEFA Futsal Cup finals in Lleida, Sporting Clube de Portugal won at the weekend to maintain their unbeaten league record, while MFK Dinamo Moskva secured a vital victory and FC Barcelona avoided defeat in stunning fashion.
With one match until the end of the Portuguese regular season, which precedes the eight-team Champion play-off, Sporting managed a difficult 4-2 win at home against CR Leões de Porto Salvo. They remain unbeaten but still trail leaders SL Benfica by two points. Despite injuries to João Matos (ankle) and Buiu (knee), Marcelinho headed Sporting in front early but Canina swiftly leveled. Alex's run after a one-two with Pedro Cary restored the lead and André Galvão made it 3-1 at the break.
A fifth Sporting foul with ten minutes left put the home side under pressure but experienced goalkeeper João Benedito and his substitute Cristiano Parreiro – who stopped two double penalties from Tuka either side of Pupa pulling one back – kept the reigning champions ahead. Alex sealed victory with his own double penalty 30 seconds from time.
Alex, who will be hoping to gain his second UEFA Futsal Cup success next week having won in 2005 with Action 21 Charleroi, told UEFA.com: "It's always good to score as it helps the team, especially that fourth goal when we were under pressure and it eased things. It seemed that it wouldn't be so difficult at half-time, but in the second half it was indeed very difficult."
Sporting, assured of a play-off, face fourth-placed AR Freixieiro next weekend ahead of their semi-final with UEFA Futsal Cup hosts FC Barcelona the following Friday. "It's good to have these last games before the finals against strong, quality teams from our league," Alex added.
Barcelona looked to be heading for a 4-2 defeat of their own at OID Talavera on Saturday, but in the 40th minute Fernandao and Sergio Lozano both scored to ensure the visitors cancelled out a two-goal deficit for the second time in the match. However, Barcelona remain two points behind ElPozo Murcia FS in the regular season after the leaders won 5-3 at three-time European champions Interviú Madrid.
In Russia, Dinamo remain in the running to defend their title after a 7-5 defeat of leaders Sibiryak to reduce the gap to two points with as many games left. Vinicius scored a hat-trick but it was 4-4 with three minutes to go before goals from Pula, Fernandinho and Aleksandr Rahimov settled matters. Dinamo's UEFA Futsal Cup opponents Marca Futsal were not in action as all Italian games were postponed following the death of Piermario Morosini; they are currently second, eight points behind Luparense C/5, having last week won 6-2 against the side they deposed as European champions in the elite round, ASD Città di Montesilvano C/5.
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