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Finalist four await Tbilisi kick-off

Published: Friday 26 April 2013, 8.08CET
The UEFA Futsal Cup, Georgia's first final tournament, starts in Tbilisi today. UEFA.com has full coverage and profiles Iberia Star Tbilisi, MFK Dinamo, Kairat Almaty and FC Barcelona.
by Paul Saffer
from Tbilisi
Finalist four await Tbilisi kick-off
Dinamo train at the Palace of Sport ahead of Friday's kick-off ©Sportsfile
 
Published: Friday 26 April 2013, 8.08CET

Finalist four await Tbilisi kick-off

The UEFA Futsal Cup, Georgia's first final tournament, starts in Tbilisi today. UEFA.com has full coverage and profiles Iberia Star Tbilisi, MFK Dinamo, Kairat Almaty and FC Barcelona.

Georgia hosts its first European final tournament from Friday when the UEFA Futsal Cup kicks off at the Tbilisi Palace of Sport.

Ever since 2007, futsal's premier European club competition has been decided by a four-team knockout event. And having won the trophy at the first attempt on home territory in Lleida 12 months ago, FC Barcelona will defend their title against semi-final opponents Kairat Almaty, last season's runners-up MFK Dinamo and the side the Russian club open the tournament against, hosts Iberia Star Tbilisi.

UEFA.com profiles the four finalists and will have full coverage of the finals in text and video, including previews, interviews, a live MatchCentre, reports and reaction plus exclusive photos.

Previous winners & tournament history

Build-up: video interviews

Season statistics

Schedule: (KO local time, CET + 2 hours)
Friday 26 April

Semi-final 1 (18.00): Iberia Star Tbilisi (GEO, hosts) v MFK Dinamo (RUS)
Semi-final 2 (20.30): Kairat Almaty (KAZ) v FC Barcelona (ESP, holders)

Sunday 28 April
Third-place play-off: 18.00
Final: 20.30

Tickets cost GEL 10 (approx. €4.70) and GEL 5 (approx. €2.35) and are currently available from ticket booths at the Mikheil Meskhi Stadium from 11.00–18.00 every day and at the Palace of Sport, also from 11.00–18.00.

Semi-final 1: Iberia v Dinamo

Iberia Star Tbilisi

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)

Key players: Augusto, Lúcio, Giorgi Altunashvili, Celio, Marko Perić

• Georgian heavyweights Iberia are the only team to have competed in all 12 editions of the UEFA Futsal Cup but this is the first time they have made it this far. On the eve of the finals, assistant Aleksandr Sarkisyan replaced Sergio Benatti as head coach and Iberia signed Serbia star Marko Perić.

MFK Dinamo

Formed: 2002
UEFA Futsal Cup best performance: winners 2007

Domestic honours (most recent)
• League title: 8 (2012)
• Russian Cup: 7 (2013)

Main round: Akademia FC Pniewy 5-0 (forfeit), Lidselmash Lida 5-1, MNK Split 11-1 (Group 5 winners)

Elite round: FK Nikars Riga 7-2, Energy Lviv 5-0, Murcia FS 4-2 (Group C winners)

Key players: Fernandinho, Cirilo, Tatù, Vladislav Shayakhmetov

• As well as winning this competition in 2007, Dinamo have lost three finals including last year's against Barcelona. The Russian challengers' coach Faustino Pérez led Playas de Castellón FS to victory in the first two UEFA Futsal Cups of 2001/02 and 2002/03.

Semi-final 2: Kairat v Barcelona

Kairat Almaty

Formed: 2001
UEFA Futsal Cup best performance:
third place 2009, 2011

Domestic honours (most recent)
• League title: 10 (2013)
• Kazakh Cup: 7 (2013)

Main round: bye

Elite round: Slov-Matic Bratislava 5-1, FK EP Chrudim 6-5, KMF Ekonomac Kragujevac 5-0 (Group B winners)

Key players: Leo Santana, Fumasa, Dinmukhambet Suleimenov, Betão, Euler

• Kazakhstan's perennial contenders Kairat play their fifth semi-final on Friday, hoping to win at this stage for the first-ever time. Former player Cacau became coach in February after João Carlos Barbosa departed the helm for Russian side Sibiryak.

FC Barcelona

Formed: 1899 (club), 1986 (futsal team)
UEFA Futsal Cup best performance: winners (2012)

Domestic honours (most recent)
• League title: 2 (2012)
• Spanish Cup: 3 (2012)

Main round: bye

Elite round: MNK Split 18-0, Araz Naxçivan 7-1, FC Litija 3-0 (Group A winners)

Key players: Fernandao, Wilde, Sergio Lozano, Torras

• Although veteran Javi Rodríguez has left for Kuwait since last term's triumph, their all-star billing remains with new arrival Aicardo slotting in. Coach Marc Carmona recently signed a two-year contract extension after his squad topped the Spanish regular season table, with a quadruple still possible.

Last updated: 26/04/13 15.56CET

http://www.uefa.com/futsalcup/news/newsid=1944528.html#finalist+four+await+tbilisi+kick

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