"I can't even express what I'm feeling now," said ISK Dina Moskva captain Alemao after his winning goal helped the capital side beat TTG-Ugra Yugorsk 2-1 in the fourth game of the Russian Futsal Super League play-off final to secure their first title since 1999/2000.
Top spot in the regular season went to UEFA Futsal Cup runners-up FC Dynamo but a quarter-final loss to eighth seeds Novaja Generacija ended their three-year reign. Second-placed Urga and Dina, who finished third, then progressed to the best of five decider, in Dina's case the first for a decade.
The opening two matches of the series were held in Yugorsk, where the two sides exchanged 4-2 wins. They then reconvened in Troitsk, near Moscow, with Dina triumphing 3-2 on Saturday to put themselves in pole position ahead of Sunday's outing.
Andrey Yudin's side started brightly but squandered a number of chances before finally taking the lead on nine minutes. Brazilian Esquerdinha headed the ball to Andrey Zabolonkov, whose one-touch shot flew high into the net. Esquerdinha then hit the post, before Dmitri Lyskov levelled the scores on 20 minutes.
The contest was more enthralling than it was spectacular, with nerves no doubt playing a role, but Dina retook the lead with 47 minutes gone when Alemao, a UEFA Futsal Cup winner in the inaugural 2001/02 and 2002/03 seasons with Playas de Castellón FS, drilled the ball through Ugra's defence and sent it into the far corner.
That was enough to decide the game and, with it, the title, leaving Dina – the dominant side of the 1990s – now celebrating their first championship win in 14 years. They are also looking forward to making their debut in the UEFA Futsal Cup next season, though they did win a previous unofficial European club title three times.
"My emotions are running so high," commented Alemao. "This is my first title with Dina after three years in the team. We are very happy to have won the title. Six or seven strong teams were fighting for the championship, so it was really hard for us."
Elsewhere, Sibiryak claimed bronze after three consecutive wins against Novaja Generacija. They thus earned only their second podium finish after finishing runners-up in 2011/12.
Meanwhile in Spain, the side that beat Dynamo in the UEFA Futsal Cup final in Baku, FC Barcelona, were also deposed as national champions after three years, losing 1-0 at Murcia FS to lose the semi-final series 2-1. In the final Murcia, for who Kike will make his last appearances before retirement, take on three-time UEFA Futsal Cup winners Interviú Madrid.
The club Interviú defeated for their first European title in 2003/04, SL Benfica, have had their run of 12 straight Portuguese league final appearances ended by Fundão, who won 3-1 in Lisbon on Saturday for a 2-0 series win. In the final, Fundão will face title-holders Sporting Clube de Portugal, whose namesakes Sporting Clube de Paris retained the French title at the weekend, while Baku United FC did similar in England.
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