Araz Naxçivan have already produced Azerbaijan's best performance in European club competition by reaching April's four-team UEFA Futsal Cup finals but they are not finished yet.
Kairat knocked out
Having beaten FK Nikars Riga 7-1 and Athina '90 Athens 7-0, Araz went into their Elite round Group D decider against Kairat Almaty ahead on goal difference. Kairat had reach the last four in 2007/08 and 2008/09, and indeed three semi-finals in four years, but with the support of a packed Palace of Sport in Baku, Araz ran out 4-3 winners, Santos striking the decisive double penalty with just under ten minutes left.
It means a return to the finals for Brazilian technician Alesio, who actually led Kairat to that stage two seasons ago. The man who will also coach Azerbaijan to their maiden UEFA European Futsal Championship in January made said: "We have to keep the momentum in the finals because many fans expect so much from us."
Vitaliy Borisov, a crucial member of Alesio's squads for both club and country, was among the scorers against Kairat, and was delighted that his upbeat Elite round prediction proved correct. "I said that we were capable of playing any team," Borisov pointed out. "We have achieved this success thanks to our preparation and confidence. You will see the same in April. We will surprise anyone who thinks we have reached the finals accidentally."
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