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Benfica travel to Iberia

Published: Tuesday 9 October 2012, 10.30CET
Iberia Star Tbilisi host Group D and hope to reach their first finals, but former champions SL Benfica, Italy's Luparense C/5 and Hungary's ETO FC Győr have other ideas.
Benfica travel to Iberia
Iberia hope to progress as hosts ©Miguel Albuquerque


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Published: Tuesday 9 October 2012, 10.30CET

Benfica travel to Iberia

Iberia Star Tbilisi host Group D and hope to reach their first finals, but former champions SL Benfica, Italy's Luparense C/5 and Hungary's ETO FC Győr have other ideas.

SL Benfica (POR)
Benfica, who won the UEFA Futsal Cup in 2010, reclaimed the Portuguese title from rivals Sporting Clube de Portugal last season having won the domestic cup against AD Modicus Sandim. They also claimed the Super Cup, beating Sporting in the final.

Benfica, led by experienced coach Paulo Fernandes, are packed with Portuguese and Brazilian internationals and are ambitious to return to the European finals. However, they are without Ricardinho following his return to Nagoya Oceans. "Our main focus are the domestic competitions but after the European title in 2010 we have a status that allows us to dream about another UEFA Futsal Cup victory," Fernandes said. "We want to be in the big games that are played in the last four."

Main round: bye
Key players: Joel Queirós, César Paulo, Gonçalo Alves, Davi

Luparense C/5 (ITA)
Luparense were fourth in Lisbon in 2010 and are back in Europe after winning a fourth Italian title in June. On the bench this season is Fulvio Colini, the man who led ASD Città di Montesilvano C/5 to UEFA Futsal Cup victory in Almaty – an Italian at the helm after Spanish coaches Jesús Velasco, Fede Vidal, Sito Rivera and Julio Fernandez. The goals of Humberto Honorio are key and he said: "We will need great focus in the elite round. I believe that in Georgia the psychological aspect, our heads, will be more important than our playing system."

Main round: FC Grand Pro Varna 2-0, Slov Matic Bratislava 0-0, AC Omonia 5-1 (Group 1 winners)
Key Players:
Humberto Honorio, Fabiano Assad, Alex Merlim

Győr go into the elite round on the back of a 10-1 win against Rubeola FC Csömör in a match brought forward to accommodate the club's intensive schedule this autumn. Ákos Harnisch and Ion Al-Ioani both grabbed hat-tricks. The only injury worry for coach Marco Angulo ahead of the trip to Tbilisi is Spanish international Juanra, who missed the Csömör match.

Key players are likely to be Juanra if fit, Romanian Ion Al-Ioani, Portugal's Hugo Martins and Fábio Aguiar. Also important will be captain and top scorer in the main round Tamás Lódi, while fellow Hungarians Zoltán Droth and Ákos Harnisch also pose a goal threat.

Main round: Futsal Club Eindhoven 3-0, EID Futsal 6-2, Araz Naxçivan 5-5 (Group 6 winners)
Key players: Juanra, Ion Al-Ioani, Hugo Martins, Fábio Aguiar, Tamás Lódi

Iberia Star Tbilisi (GEO, hosts)
The only team to have participated in all 12 UEFA Futsal Cup seasons are in the elite round for the fourth time in a row with a clear desire for a finals debut. Iberia Star traditionally have a Brazilian core and are hosting the elite round in front of their own fans for the first time. Under new coach Sergio Benatti, who won the 2005 UEFA Futsal Cup with Action 21 Charleroi, Iberia Star won the Lviv Open in the summer. However, they will be missing Roninho and Betinho in the opening match against Luparense due to suspension.

Main round: Paris Sporting Club 3-2, Athina '90 Athens 3-1, FC Litija 1-2 (Group 4 runners-up)
Key players: Celio, Giorgi Altunashvili, Roninho

Reporters: Hugo Pietra, Francesco Corda, Matthew Watson-Broughton. Vakhtang Bzikadze

Last updated: 10/10/12 11.09CET