Ugra Yugorsk have won the UEFA Futsal Cup on their debut after victory in a superb final against hosts and three-time winners Inter FS in Guadalajara.
It was rip-roaring stuff from the start as Andrei Afanasyev turned in a Robinho cross to put Ugra ahead. Two pre-game injury doubts then combined for the equaliser as Cardinal was set up by Ricardinho, who subsequently helped Inter go ahead with his pass to Pola, who brilliantly turned, beat his man and shot in – only for Marcênio to level before half-time.
There was no letting up in the second half and both teams pushed hard, with Ricardinho notably showing defensive prowess to somehow clear an Ugra shot off the line. But with just over two minutes left a well-worked Ugra corner move was finished off by Afansyev and the title was in their grasp.
Daniel Shiraishi was sent on as Inter flying keeper, but Ugra took advantage as a long throw from Sergei Slemzin – impressive in the absence of suspended Ugra goalkeeper Zviad Kupatadze – eluded Mario Rivillos, allowing Katata to bundle the ball past the scrambling Jesús Herrero.
There was still more drama as Daniel pulled one back from distance and Ugra's Ivan Chishkala was sent off for a second yellow card, but the hosts could not equalise despite hitting the woodwork with four second left.
Key player: Marcênio
The timing of his equaliser was priceless as Inter, 2-1 up late in the first half, seemed to be running away with it. He, Daniil Daydov, Robinho and double scorer Afanasyev were immense.
Ugra end Russian wait
Since FC Dynamo and Sinara Ekaterinburg won the first two 'final four' tournaments in 2007 and 2008, Russian clubs have drawn a blank despite reaching four more finals. But an Ugra side featuring former Ekaterinburg favourites Afanasyev and Vladislav Shayakhmetov, superbly motivated and set up by charismatic coach Kakà, first eliminated holders Kairat Almaty in the elite round then won thrillers against former champions Benfica and Inter, both times with the crowd behind their opponents.
Inter wait goes on
Inter had waited six years to reach the final again after losing their title to Benfica in Lisbon, and for much of the game they looked favourites to do so. But somehow Ugra found a way to beat them and Ricardinho – in tears at the end – and his team-mates will have to do it all over again, not that winning the Spanish league to qualify is exactly easy ...
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