MFK Dinamo Moskva, El Pozo Murcia FS and Kairat Almaty made their expected winning starts on the first day of the UEFA Futsal Cup Elite round - but Romanian champions CIP Deva pulled off a surprise against 2005/06 semi-finalists FC Shakhtar Donetsk.
Only the winners of the mini-tournaments this week qualify for April's final four competition, and the first two groups began on Monday. In Group B in Moscow, Shakhtar were hoping for a good start in a tough pool also containing Dinamo and Sporting Clube de Portugal, but Deva showed why Romania is considered one of futsal's emerging nations. Ioan Magurean gave Deva a fourth-minute lead, and although Oleg Miroshnyk equalised midway through the first half, Ioan Al Ionai made it 2-1 before the break. Magurean struck again on the half-hour and with two minutes left George Tomescu extended the lead, and although Oleksandr Minayev and Yevgen Yunakon pulled goals back in the final seconds, Deva held on to win 4-3.
However, life could be tough for Deva against Dinamo on Tuesday, as the runners-up for the last two years defeated Sporting 5-0 with two goals each from Sirilo and Kelson and one from Tatu. Sporting now take on Shakhtar with both hoping to revive their campaigns.
Spanish champions Murcia are hoping to emulate compatriots Boomerang Interviú and Playas de Castellón FS, who have each won this competition twice, and made a good start to Group D in Budapest as they overwhelmed FC Dorozhnik Minsk 6-1. Vinicius Bacaro, Mauricio Guterres and Joel ensured Murcia led 3-0 at the break, and Bacaro completed his hat-trick four minutes into the second half. Kike made it six before an Aleksey Papov consolation.
Murcia now meet Kairat in what looks a decisive encounter as the Kazakhstani champions, who reached the semi-finals last season, beat hosts Futsal Club Gödöllö. Despite support from a capacity 1,200 crowd for the home team, Etienne put Kairat ahead in the second minute and Cacau sealed the win eight minutes from time. Gödöllö take on Dorozhnik on Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday Group C begins in Poland with hosts Clearex Chorzów playing Araz Naxçivan of Azerbaijan and 2004/05 European champions Action 21 Charleroi beginning their campaign against MFK Marbo Beograd. Group A, containing holders Boomerang, Italian hosts Arzignano Grifo C/5, Czech side CC LKW Jistebnik and MNK Split of Croatia begins on Thursday in Verona.
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