KMF Municipium Casino Pljevlja's reward for winning the first Montenegrin futsal title was to be that nation's pioneer in European competition – and they have already earned a place among the top 16.
In August's Preliminary round they defeated AGBU Ararat Nicosia FC 5-3, Issy Futsal 3-2 and KS Ali Demi 3-0 and the step up into the Main round did not faze Municipium the next month as they held Futsal Topsport Antwerpen and beat Futsal Club Gödöllö 5-1 and Athina '90 Athens 5-0 to go through with the Belgian champions. Their reward is an Elite round campaign in which they face Italian hosts Luparense Calcio A5, 2004 runners-up SL Benfica and holders MFK Dinamo Moskva from 18 October.
The team from a small town in the north of Montenegro are no strangers to top-level futsal, however. Founded five years ago in the old Serbo-Montenegrin league, they joined the top flight in 2004/05 and reached the championship play-off final, losing to KMF Marbo Beograd having won the first leg 2-1, and they were pipped in the last four the next season. Last term, following the split with Serbia, they were unbeaten in the 18-game regular season and defeated Piramida CKB Podgorica 5-3 on aggregate to win the title.
Backed by ambitious owner Dušan Šarić, they brought in Serbian internationals Zoran Benić, Siniša, Trajanović and goalkeeper Predrag Brzaković over the summer. Still, coach Dejan Knežević is realistic about their hopes of reaching the final four. "We are not living in the clouds," he said. "Dinamo, Benfica and Luparense are among the best European clubs and we are debutants. But we will not surrender without a fight, because we want to show that we deserve a place among them." To make things harder, Benić and Trajanović are both injured. "That's another reason why we don't expect a miracle," Knežević added. "We will leave miracles until next season when we will be ready to go to the final four."
Captain Zoran Zarić is determined that they will emerge with pride intact. "We already achieved great success by going through two rounds," he said. "Before the first mini-tournament in Paris, we want just to see where we belonged in Europe. After we won the Preliminary round group, our aim was to try to cause a surprise in Budapest against Futsal Topsport Antwerpen. Now, we want to show that we are not here by accident, but we can't say we will be better than Dinamo, Benfica and Luparense."
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