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Russia goalkeeper Gustavo will be a nervous spectator at the Tbilisi Palace of Sport on Friday when MFK Dinamo meet hosts Iberia Star Tbilisi in the first UEFA Futsal Cup semi-final before FC Barcelona face Kairat Almaty.
Gustavo has been Dinamo's regular No1 since joining from Sibiryak last summer but a red card in their decisive 4-2 elite round win at Murcia FS means he is suspended against Iberia. However, he will be available on Sunday for either the final or the third-place play-off, and as he tells UEFA.com, he has every confidence Dinamo can make it.
UEFA.com: Are you happy with how your first Dinamo season has gone?
Gustavo: Of course I am. Last season I was badly injured and it took me three months to recover. I recovered just in time to participate at the [FIFA Futsal] World Cup. So I'm happy I've contributed to the team's performances.
UEFA.com: And in the elite round in Murcia?
Gustavo: It was rather good. I was unlucky to get red-carded in the last match, but I'm still happy with my contribution. The team as a whole performed really well. We won a tough match against [Murcia], one of the best European teams, so we were all satisfied with our work.
UEFA.com: What were your feelings after the sending off?
Gustavo: Of course, at first I felt sad about the fact I didn't play the whole game, but all our players are very good, and any of our three keepers can always come on for the others in any game. That's why I'm happy with my play and the play of [Gennadi Garagulya], who came on and did his best until the end.
UEFA.com: What are Dinamo's key strengths?
Gustavo: All the members of our squad are strong, so all 15 or 16 players are ready and deserve to play in any game in any tournament. All our players have had experience of playing for Dinamo and for the national team, so I think we make a really good side.
UEFA.com: You play 50-minute games in Russia. Is it easy to switch to 40-minute games in international competitions?
Gustavo: It's great, because we train for 50-minute games and when we have to play just 40 minutes we only benefit from it. We are always ready to play and sometimes 40 minutes are not enough for us!
UEFA.com: How much is the Brazilian influence felt at Dinamo?
Gustavo: Actually we are 50-50 in the team, Russians and Brazilians, and that is a really great combination. Both the Russian and the Brazilian players are experienced, and we don't make a distinction between the two nationalities: we are just Dinamo. By fusing Russia and Brazil in this melting pot, we get a unique and powerful team.
UEFA.com: What do you know about your opponents, Iberia?
Gustavo: Iberia are a good team. I saw them play a warm-up match in Moscow last week and now know some of their techniques. We are ready to play a really hard game.
UEFA.com: How do you think you would feel playing against Kairat, for whom you once played against Dinamo?
Gustavo: Games against Kairat are always special for me. Kazakhstan is my home country. That's where I found my love, that's where my first son was born. Yesterday, when Kazakhstan won a match, it was such a thrill for me, as if it had been Russia. That's why I'm always especially happy to play for Russia against Kazakhstan.
UEFA.com: Dinamo lost to Barcelona in the 2012 final – do you fancy a rematch 12 months on?
Gustavo: Well, first of all, we should think about the semis. Barcelona are good, strong opponents, but we have to think about the semis and I don't know if we'll have the opportunity to play Barcelona again. They are a really good team, just like Kairat. All the teams in the finals deserve to win, so we'll play the semis and see who our next opponents will be.
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