FC Barcelona and MFK Dinamo will go into Friday's UEFA Futsal Cup semi-finals off the back of contrasting league results while their respective opponents Kairat Almaty and Iberia Star Tbilisi have been warming up with friendlies.
Both the Spanish and Russian futsal championships are decided in play-offs but finishing top of the table ensures highest seeding for the knockout competitions. UEFA Futsal Cup holders Barcelona made sure of División de Honor pole position with two games to go on Friday night as they won 4-2 at Gáldar FS, Sergio Lozano scoring twice, with Lin and Fernandão also on target. Murcia FS are eight points behind, with the key to Barcelona's success a perfect record of 12 home victories, earning coach Marc Carmona a new contract running until 2015.
Dinamo have long been assured of first place in Russia but their penultimate Super League regular-season fixture on Satuday ended with a 7-3 reverse at home to MFK Tyumen. However, Dinamo coach Tino Pérez said: "Tyumen played better than us but in this game our primary objective was not to pick up injuries ahead of the important games in the UEFA Futsal Cup."
Kairat, who face Barcelona in the second semi-final at the Tbilisi Palace of Sport on Friday, have already clinched their tenth straight Kazakhstani title. Last week they lost a home friendly 6-4 against the Russian side whom their former coach João Carlos Barbosa joined in February, Sibiryak, with Kairat never fully recovering from going 4-0 down within 15 minutes.
Finals hosts Iberia, who begin the semis against Dinamo, played Azerbaijan's Araz Naxçivan in two Baku friendlies earlier this month, winning 3-1 and losing 5-2. Then on Friday came the news that Brazilian coach Sergio Benatti had left the Georgian champions by mutual consent, with his assistant Aleksandr Sarkisyan returning to the helm.
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