Serbia are into the UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 quarter-finals on a quite extraordinary evening in Zagreb.
Azerbaijan took the lead four times and then came back from 7-5 down before the 2010 semi-finalists' campaign was ended in the highest scoring match in Futsal EURO finals history. Serbia are through with Portugal, who they meet on Sunday to determine who finishes first in Group D.
The tone was set when Felipe scored the fastest Futsal EURO finals goal after just eight seconds. He was then twice denied by Serbia goalkeeper Miodrag Aksentijević before his corner went to Rizvan Farzaliyev, who beat the opposing No1 at the second attempt.
It was a nightmare start for Serbia, the last of the 12 finalists to kick off, yet within three minutes they were level. Aleksandar Živanović's cross to the far post was turned in by Vidan Bojović, who then scored into an empty net following Vladimir Milosavac's ball.
In the build-up Azerbaijan keeper Andrey Tveryankin, the oldest player in any UEFA finals, had committed a foul which earned a second yellow card, yet his team, down to four men, restored their lead through a brilliant Felipe chip. The extra player did count when Slobodan Rajčević equalised, but back-to-five Azerbaijan soon made it 4-3 when Jadder Dantas touched in a corner. Replacement Azerbaijan goalkeeper Marat Salyanski ensured his team remained ahead at the break and Aksentijević was even busier.
Rajčević hit the post almost immediately in the second half, and there was not long to wait for more goals. Mladen Kocić levelled with a brilliant solo effort and although Dantas pounced to make it 5-4 within 21 seconds, less than a minute later Vladimir Lazić was free in front of goal to cancel out another Azerbaijan advantage.
Serjão came close to giving them another one but on the break Bojan Pavićević played in Kocić to put Serbia in front for the first time and Bojović swiftly completed a hat-trick. With Alves on as flying goalkeeper, Dantas then had his third, and then Serjão's cross was converted by Thiago. The last five minutes were mayhem, Pavićević volleying in a corner by Bojović, who walked the ball into a vacant net before then scoring an own goal. Still, Azerbaijan came close but their finals are over.
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