Slov-Matic Fofo Bratislava and Clearex Chorzów survived scares to reach the UEFA Futsal Cup Elite round tonight while things are looking good for CIP Deva, SK Energia and SL Benfica.
Bratislava were involved in the game of the day with Main round Group 3 hosts Araz Naxçivan in Azerbaijan. While Luparense Calcio A5 had already beaten both teams to seal first place, and defeated FC Camelot Chisnau 8-0 to celebrate, Bratislava only led Araz on goal difference at kick-off. Rizvan Farzaliyev put Araz ahead on nine minutes but Voitech Várady swiftly levelled. It seemed things were going Araz's way when Vitaliy Borisov struck on 22 and 30 minutes, but Várady pulled one back. With three minutes left Gabriel Bartošek equalised to put Bratislava back in provisional second place and Peter Haľko sealed a 4-3 win in the final seconds to take the Slovakian champions into Tuesday's Elite round draw.
Chorzów join Hapoel
There they will be joined by Group 1 hosts Chorzów. In a group reduced to three teams by KMF Alfa Parf Skopje's withdrawal, Hapoel Ironi Rishon Lezion had beaten FC Mapid Minsk 7-3 and then sealed their place despite losing 3-1 to Chorzów on Tuesday. And oddly Chorzów also went through with a defeat as their 4-3 reverse against Mapid kept them ahead of the Belarussian team on goal difference, with the Israeli side in first after all the top three finished level. Group 6 also finished today but Czech hosts FK Era-Pack Chrudim and KMF Marbo Beograd were already through. Chrudim's 4-1 defeat of Beograd sealed first place while Sweden's Skövde AIK defeated Ilves FS Tampere of Finland 6-3 for the consolation of third place.
When Group 5 started on Wednesday, both games were drawn 2-2 but there was a positive result today. It came from Romanian champions CIP Deva, who went 2-0 up after six minutes against Iberia 2003 Tbilisi and although Rudolpho Da Costa scored twice to equalise and another Deva lead was cancelled out before the break they sealed a 4-3 win on 27 minutes. Slovenia’s KMN Puntar twice trailed by two goals but fought back to draw 3-3 with hosts HMNK Gospić, Gaj Rosič levelling with his second of the game. In Saturday's decider, with every team in with a chance, Iberia must defeat Puntar and Deva need only a point against Gospić.
The last mini-tournament to begin, Group 2 in Bulgaria, got under way with two emphatic results from teams tipped to have a chance of reaching April's final four. Ukraine's SK Energia made a fine European debut as they saw off hosts MFC Varna; Andriy Parshykov scored twice in the first five minutes and, after Blagovest pulled one back, Sergii Yakunin scored eight goals including seven in 13 second-half minutes to earn a 10-1 win. However, it is 2004 runners-up Benfica who lead the group after a 17-2 victory against Politekhnik Yerevan. After seven minutes it was 6-0 and by the end Arnaldo, Zé Maria and Gonçalo Alves all had four goals. On Friday the top two could go through if Energia beat Yerevan and Benfica overcome Varna. Already in the last 16, to be played next month, are Group 4 qualifiers Futsal Topsport Antwerpen and KMF Municipium Casino Pljevlja and the four top seeds - holders MFK Dinamo Moskva, their Russian rivals MFK Viz-Sinara Ekaterinburg, Spanish champions ElPozo Murcia FS and Kairat Almaty.
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