Romania, Ukraine, and Bosnia and Herzegovina will all have narrow leads to defend in next Tuesday's UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 play-off second legs after three of the four ties opened today.
Eight teams have already booked their places in the finals in Antwerp from 28 January to 8 February: hosts Belgium, holders Spain and their fellow March main round group winners Italy, Russia, Slovenia, Portugal, Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic. Slovakia face Croatia on Wednesday in the remaining first leg. The finals draw is on 4 October.
Romania 2-1 Serbia
Two early goals handed Romania the advantage in the city of Calarasi's first-ever competitive international. However, Slobodan Rajčević's 31st-minute away goal may prove crucial in next Tuesday's return at the 2016 final tournament host city of Belgrade. Florin Matei put Romania, under caretaker coach Nelu Stancea, into a third-minute lead against their fellow 2012 quarter-finalists but their initial dominance only produced another goal before the break via Marian Șotârcă. Serbia were the better side after the restart and might even have added to Rajčević's strike in a thrilling finish.
Ukraine 2-1 Hungary
Two-time runners-up Ukraine have not failed to qualify since 2001 – and Andriy Simka's two goals on his competitive debut ensured they will go to Gyongyos next week holding the initiative in the tie. New Ukraine coach Yevgen Ryvkin, also in charge of Lokomotiv Kharkiv who provide the bulk of the national squad, saw his team go ahead at their club arena after just 97 seconds through Simka. Richárd Dávid levelled in the 12th minute, only for Simka to register again late on.
Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-2 Netherlands
Bosnia and Herzegovina are in sight of a final tournament debut after an exciting first leg in Visoko. Zaid El Morabiti gave the Netherlands a tenth-minute lead yet Nijaz Mulahmetović soon levelled and home goalkeeper Bahrudin Omerbegović excelled. The Netherlands' Mohamed Darri then scored an own goal but five minutes later made amends at the other end. However, just 42 seconds more had elapsed when home captain Alen Lalić made it 3-2 to set up a dramatic-looking return in Almere.
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