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After losing four previous UEFA Futsal Cup semi-finals, Kairat Almaty knocked out holders FC Barcelona 5-4 to reach Sunday's Tbilisi decider against MFK Dinamo and coach Cacau hailed a "historic moment", which he dedicated to "everybody in Kazakhstan".
Both teams led before two goals in the final five minutes sent the game Kairat's way, leaving hat-trick scorer Fumasa speechless. Barcelona had not been beaten in any of their previous 11 European ties, lifting the trophy on their debut last season, and coach Marc Carmona was at a loss to explain what Sergio Lozano called "a strange game", though there was praise for Kairat goalkeeper Higuita, a vital player in attack as well as defending the net, who said: "How many times can you beat the best team in the world?"
Cacau, Kairat coach
It is a historic moment in my career. I want to thank all the people who trusted in this project, especially our vice president, the one who hired me. I want to dedicate this win to everybody in Kazakhstan.
I am excited to be in our first final. My team played really well technically and tactically. All my players were like warriors. It is what I wanted.
We have beaten the best team in the world, a team that has won everything in the last two years. Now we mustn't be afraid against Dinamo. Barcelona are in the past, and now we can make history.
Fumasa, Kairat forward
This is the fruit of our work all year. It's a great win for us. I can hardly talk, I'm excited and very happy. Now we have to save some energy for the final. I did not expect anything, but that's how it happened. We're very happy here.
Higuita, Kairat goalkeeper
I have never felt anything like that. I mean how many times can you beat the best team in the world? Just once. Now we want to become the best in Europe.
Of course we expected ourselves to play like we did because last year [in the elite round] when we played against Dinamo in Moscow, we were 2-1 up 30 seconds before the end but conceded a goal and eventually had to go home despite a very good display. This team has faith.
[When I lost the ball to Lozano who then hit the post] I thought I was going to die. But luck was on our side because it is Goalkeeper's Day in Brazil today so it is my day.
I would have been very happy if I managed to score but the most important thing is that I keep my own goal well, do not concede too much and for my team to win.
[We were not afraid that Barcelona would punish us for me playing very high from the start] because we know that playing five against four is our trump card. We work on that constantly and we have such players as Joan who knows how to play without mistakes. That is why we were not afraid.
It was the match of our lives but I can also say that about the final. After we were drawn against Barcelona, it was the only game we were thinking about. Now we will focus on the Dinamo match. The final will be even bigger than this game.
Marc Carmona, Barcelona coach
We were not comfortable at any point. Our passing was awry from the beginning of the game. We lost balls and allowed counterattacks. We were not comfortable on the pitch. We were not good at set pieces. In general, we have not been comfortable, but do not know why.
We have just lost a semi-final, and the feelings are of a huge disappointment. All the titles we won in the past have no value right now. Maybe as the days pass we will see it in a different way, but we are really disappointed right now.
Kairat played as we expected. They played many balls to the pivots, Fumasa and Betão. They also played well with [attacking goalkeeper] Higuita. It was as we expected.
We were ourselves for three minutes in the second half. I thought we could come out ahead. But they managed to equalise very quickly and that was very painful.
Fernandão, Barcelona forward
I think the same as the coach. We came to play a UEFA Cup. We knew it wouldn't be easy, and we didn't have our best day. Other times we gave our best in the finals, but not this time. We have many things to play for: in two weeks we have a [Copa del Rey] final that can minimise this lost. We couldn't show today the experience we have gained in the last two years.
Sergio Lozano, Barcelona winger
I think we failed to defend properly when their goalkeeper attacked. At the end, they created danger with the flying goalkeeper. The game was level, but we were not up to our standard and we lost.
I do not think it was the pressure. Last year we had pressure at home. I do not think that is the reason, because we have players that have won everything and they do not notice pressure. We had a bit of anxiety. It was a strange game.
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