MFK Viz-Sinara Ekaterinburg are the first team through to the UEFA Futsal Cup's final four after results went their way on Matchday 2 in Elite round Group D.
The Russian side, hosting the group, beat SK Energia 2-1 on Sunday in their first-ever game in the competition and followed that today with a convincing 10-3 win against CIP Deva. As Romanian challengers Deva had defeated Hapoel Ironi Rishon Lezion on Matchday 1, Ekaterinburg knew that if the Israeli team failed to take maximum points in today's late kick-off against Energia from Ukraine, they would be guaranteed first place with a game to spare.
First place secure
In a tight first half, Energia – whose own hopes of progress had been ended by Ekaterinburg's victory – edged ahead on 14 minutes through Vitaliy Brunko. Shai Zablotski equalised seven minutes into the second period but Oleksandr Kondratyuk swiftly restored Energia's lead. Brunko then made it 3-1, and although Hapoel pulled one back, again within seconds Energia had responded through Andriy Parshykov. Hapoel reduced arrears to 4-3 in the closing seconds, but Energia's win was confirmed along with Ekaterinburg's advance to the four-team knockout finals from 24-26 April at a venue to be picked from the top teams in all four Elite round groups. To conclude this mini-tournament, Ekaterinburg will face Hapoel on Wednesday while Energia take on Deva for the consolation of second place; even if either side catches the hosts on six points, Viz-Sinara will hold a superior head-to-head record.
Meanwhile, two of the three other groups began today. Last season's final four hosts ElPozo Murcia FS made a useful start to their campaign in Group A with a 5-1 defeat of KMF Marbo Beograd. Wilde gave the Spanish champions an eighth-minute lead and Bacaro and Wilde both struck in the final seconds of the first half to put the 2006/07 bronze-medallists firmly in control. Wilde completed his hat-trick with six minutes left and although Zoran Dimić pulled one back, Ciço had the last word. In the second game Polish hosts Clearex Chorzów drew 3-3 with Croatia's HMNK Gospić. Sergio and Denis Ibrisimović both gave Gospić first-half leads only for Andrzej Szłapa and Krzysztof Marzec to respectively equalise. Nikola Tomicić made it 3-2 to Gospić on 31 minutes but within seconds Krzysztof Kusia had levelled again to the delight of the healthy home crowd. On Tuesday, Murcia face Gospić knowing a win would take them through if Chorzów cannot beat Beograd.
In Group C in the Czech Republic, seeds Kairat Almaty began their European season with a 4-3 victory against Slov-Matic Fofo Bratislava. Dinis Samohvalov and Cacau put Kairat in control in the first five minutes, Attila Fehervári pulled one back but Samohvalov made it 3-1 at half-time. Voitech Várady gave Bratislava hope with five minutes left but Aleksandr Terentyev swiftly doubled the lead again. Ladislav Mikita scored in the final seconds but Bratislava goalkeeper Mário Gašparovic then was sent off. Hosts FK Era-Pack Chrudim are top as although Karim Bali gave Futsal Topsport Antwerpen a third-minute lead, Tomáš Šluka equalised before the break and Petr Popelka and Michal Mareš scored in the last eight minutes. On Wednesday Chrudim meet Bratislava and Kairat take on Antwerpen.
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