UEFA.com looks at the league play-offs with FC Barcelona aiming for a third straight Spanish title, Lisbon rivals through again in Portugal and Marca Futsal celebrating in Italy.
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Former UEFA Futsal Cup winners FC Barcelona and Murcia FS will face off to represent Spain next season while SL Benfica and Sporting Clube de Portugal are set for another league decider. MFK Dinamo must wait to retain their Russian title and Marca Futsal are back in Europe as UEFA.com looks at the play-offs in the biggest leagues, with holders Kairat Almaty and this season's finals hosts Iberia Star Tbilisi among those already assured of a 2013/14 UEFA Futsal Cup place.
Barcelona, aiming for a third straight Spanish title having lost their grip on the UEFA Futsal Cup in the semi-finals against Kairat Almaty, were facing a domestic last-four exit when they lost the first game of their series 5-4 at Segovia FS. But back in Barcelona on Friday night they eased to a 7-2 victory then won the decider 5-0 today with Lin striking twice. Murcia FS then hosted Interviú Madrid in their decider after a home win apiece and it went to extra time with the score at 1-1. Visitors Interviú then went ahead through Álvaro but Kike and Álex made it 3-2 to hosts Murcia at the change of ends and that was how it ended. Barcelona beat Murcia over five games last year for the title.
For the fourth year running Benfica and Sporting meet in the league play-off final, having monopolised the title between themselves since 2002/03, since when Benfica have reached every final and Sporting have only missed two. Benfica, the 2010 UEFA Futsal Cup winners, are defending the domestic title and eased through their semi-final in the minimum two games, prevailing 5-2 at Rio Ave FC then securing a 6-1 victory at home. Sporting, 2011 European runners-up, were similarly comfortable winners against Fundão, a 6-1 away success and 6-2 home triumph making a third game superfluous. As regular season winners, Sporting have home advantage in the first two games next Saturday and Sunday.
Dinamo were hoping to secure a third straight Russian title on Sunday but lost 4-2 at TTG-Ugra Yugorsk. The 2007 UEFA Futsal Cup winners had won the opening two games at home 6-1 and 5-1, and have two more chances to retain the championship – in Yugorsk on Monday and then, if needed, in a home decider.
Marca were only fifth in the regular season but came through the play-offs to reclaim the Serie A1 title from Luparense C/5. Having seen off fourth-placed Cogianco Genzano and table-toppers Asti on their way to the final, Marca came up against Luparense, second in the regular season and thus scheduled to be at home in three of the five games. But Marca, 2012 UEFA Futsal Cup bronze-medallists, won the first match 3-2 at Luparense and 5-3 and 3-2 home wins ensured the championship without the two remaining matches being needed.