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Iberia Star Tbilisi

Published: Tuesday 1 January 2013, 17.51CET
The only side to have entered all 12 editions of the UEFA Futsal Cup, Iberia Star Tbilisi have made the finals for the first time and will stage the event.
Iberia Star Tbilisi
Iberia Star Tbilisi celebrate ©Zurab Gengiuri


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Published: Tuesday 1 January 2013, 17.51CET

Iberia Star Tbilisi

The only side to have entered all 12 editions of the UEFA Futsal Cup, Iberia Star Tbilisi have made the finals for the first time and will stage the event.

Formed: 2000 (refounded 2003)
UEFA Futsal Cup best performance: finals debut

Domestic honours (most recent)
• League title: 13 (2013)
• Georgian Cup: 4 (2011)

Main round: Paris Sporting Club 3-2, Athina '90 Athens 3-1, FC Litija 1-2 (Group 4 runners-up)
Elite round: 
Luparense C/5 6-1, Győri ETO FC 2-2, SL Benfica 7-4 (Group D winners)

• Peerless in Georgia, where they last dropped a point in 2010 and have been unbeaten since 2008/09, Iberia are the only club to have competed in all 12 seasons of the UEFA Futsal Cup.

• Their European story has been one of gradual improvement. In their debut campaign they conceded 26 goals in one draw and two defeats, including a 12-1 loss to Action 21 Charleroi. Georgian futsal veteran Irakli Kavtaradze led a team including former FC Dinamo Tbilisi footballers Grigori Tzaava and Georgi Tkavadze (now FC Dinamo sporting director).

• They won a game in their second season but did not get through a round until their ninth campaign in 2009/10 when they made it past the main round. Their elite round bow began with a 12-0 loss to Murcia FS but in their third and final game they Charleroi 4-3.

• Since then they have not failed to make the elite round and with fervent home support at the Tbilisi Palace of Sport they topped a tough group this season, a defeat of 2010 champions Benfica proving decisive.

• The final or third-place play-off will be their 50th UEFA Futsal Cup game, only the third team to reach that mark after Charleroi and MFK Dinamo (who will get there in the semis). However, they are the only team to have lost 20 games and are two goals shy of being the first to concede 200.

• On the eve of the finals assistant coach Aleksandr Sarkisyan was promoted to replace Sergio Benatti in charge having just won a 13th straight title.

Key players
Celio, Giorgi Altunashvili, Marko Perić

Coach: Aleksandr Sarkisyan

Date of birth: 22 December 1972
Nationality: Georgian
Playing career: Vazisubani Tbilisi, Baasi Bagdati, FK Zarya Yakutsk, DSS Zaporizhia, FK Betstar, FK Zaporozhkoks, Iberia Star Tbilisi, AGBU Ararat Nicosia FC, SPE Strovolos Nicosia
Coaching career: Iberia Star Tbilisi

Considered one of Georgia's greatest ever players and the national team's all-time leading scorer, Sarkisyan made his name at Baasi. He won his first title in a maiden campaign for Georgia's heaviweights and was voted player of the season.

In 1995 Sarkisyan left to Russia and later spent three seasons in Ukraine. Scorer of six goals in a single 1996 UEFA European Futsal Tournament qualifying match against Ukraine returned home in 2002. After winning another title with Iberia Star he went to Cyprus where he won the league with AGBU Ararat and later ended his playing career in 2008.

Sarkisyan joined the Iberia Star coaching team and in spells at the helm won the 2008 and 2012 title. He assisted Sergio Benatti this season and was promoted back to the helm a week before the UEFA Futsal Cup finals to replace the Brazilian.

Last updated: 25/04/13 10.21CET

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