Spanish champions El Pozo Murcia FS are the first team through to the UEFA Futsal Cup final four after winning Elite round Group D with a match to spare - and MFK Dinamo Moskva are a point from joining them in the April showpiece.
Murcia had begun their campaign in Budapest on Monday with a 6-1 defeat of FC Dorozhnik Minsk, and as their Matchday 2 opponents Kairat Almaty had overcome mini-tournament hosts Futsal Club Gödöllö 2-0, the meeting of the top two had the potential to be decisive. Kairat reached the semi-finals last season, and although Wilde Gomes put Murcia ahead on 15 minutes after a fine run and cross by Álvaro, Pica Pau took advantage of a defensive slip to ensure scores were level at the break. But Álvaro made it 2-1 to Murcia on the counterattack six minutes into the second half, and after Kairat's Vaguinho received a second yellow card near the end, Álvaro struck again from the free-kick to seal the win, although these was a late blow to the Spanish side as Wilde was injured.
However, Murcia did not have to wait long to know that they will be in the semi-finals on 26 April, as Dorozhnik defeated Gödöllö 4-2 with a Dzmitry Kadakov hat-trick. Gödöllö, who have attracted two sell-out crowds so far, will hope to end on a high when they meet Murcia on Thursday, although they will finish fourth regardless of the outcome. Dorozhnik and Kairat, who cannot catch Murcia due to their head-to-head record, meet for second place.
Sytin aids Shakhtar
In Group B in Moscow, former semi-finalists Sporting Clube de Portugal and FC Shakhtar Donetsk faced off fresh from defeats by Dinamo and Romanian underdogs CIP Deva respectively. Shakhtar, who reached the last four in 2005/06, fell behind to an early Bibi goal but equalised through Ramis Mansurov and two Serhiy Sytin goals on 24 minutes put them in control. Adolfo pulled one back for Sporting, but Oleg Miroshnyk responded for Shakhtar and Sytin completed his hat-trick to seal a 5-2 win.
That meant Deva could have sealed an unlikely qualification by defeating Dinamo, runners-up for the last two seasons, but the mini-tournament hosts had other ideas and ran out 9-0 winners. By the seven-minute mark Sirilo had scored twice and Joan had also struck, and in the second half Joan increased his personal tally to three, Pelé added two, Kelson found the target and George Tomescu put through an own goal. Deva meet Sporting in the first game on Thursday, and if the Romanian side Shakhtar will require a six-goal victory to go through instead of Dinamo. If Sporting avoid defeat, Dinamo will need to secure at least a point, though they have beaten Shakhtar twice in the last two editions of this competition.
Three-time finalists Action 21 Charleroi, who defeated Dinamo to win the trophy in 2004/05, began their Group B campaign with a hard-fought 2-2 draw against MFK Marbo Beograd. Charleroi, who have suffered huge financial problems since their European triumph, fell behind on three minutes to a Predrag Rajić goal. But midway through the second half Andre and Karim Chaibai turned the came for Charleroi - only for the latter to score a late own goal. In the other game, mini-tournament hosts Clearex Chorzów led Azerbaijan's Araz Naxçivan 3-1 with two minutes left but were forced to settle for a draw after Petr Kapkov struck twice. On Wednesday Chorzów meet Beograd and Araz play Charleroi.
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