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Italy edge out Portugal in quarter-final

Published: Tuesday 7 February 2012, 22.42CET
Italy 3-1 Portugal
Saad Assis put Italy in front before Alessandro Patias rolled the ball into an unguarded net to set up a showdown with Spain in the last four.
by Paul Saffer
from Arena Zagreb
Italy edge out Portugal in quarter-final
Saad Assis celebrates after scoring Italy's second goal ©Action Images
  
Published: Tuesday 7 February 2012, 22.42CET

Italy edge out Portugal in quarter-final

Italy 3-1 Portugal
Saad Assis put Italy in front before Alessandro Patias rolled the ball into an unguarded net to set up a showdown with Spain in the last four.

Italy defeated Portugal in an encounter between the last two UEFA European Futsal Championship runners-up to establish a semi-final rematch of their 2007 decider with Spain.

Saad Assis, who had created Arnaldo Pereira's own goal early in the second half which gave the Azzurri the lead, then restored the advantage after Ricardinho equalised. Alessandro Patias clinched victory with Portugal committed to attack. The 2003 champions now face the holders here on Thursday.

Despite the stakes both teams started in positive mood, Pedro Cary creating the first Portugal chance for Cardinal, who forced Stefano Mammarella to save. At the other end Luca Ippoliti threatened from distance and Vampeta somehow turned over Humberto Honorio's cross-shot. Ricardinho's effort was tipped over by Mammarella and Joel Queirós curled wide before becoming the latest player to test the Italy goalkeeper.

Mammarella again kept Italy level after a superb flowing move and low Paulinho strike. Things were getting a little tighter but Mammarella had to dive low to stop Cardinal's header, while Cary made a superb sliding block when Assis looked certain to score. Mammarella remained Cardinal's nemesis following good work from Ricardinho, while in perhaps the chance of the half, Vampeta's cross was lifted over by Patias.

After that goalless half, it took only 49 seconds of the second period for the deadlock to be broken. And it was unfortunate for Arnaldo Pereira, who scored on his 150th Portugal cap on Sunday, as he turned Assis's shot into his own net. Portugal were spurred into action and less than four minutes later Gonçalo slipped Ricardinho clear to give Mammarella no chance.

Italy in turn responded and Benedito denied Patias from point-blank range before Assis had a goal of his own with a powerful finish after an exchange of passes with Sergio Romano. Having to push again, Portugal were vulnerable on the break and Fortino shot over. The 2010 finalists were beaten when, with Ricardinho acting as flying goalkeeper, Patias's clearance rolled slowly into an empty net.

Last updated: 16/01/14 17.17CET

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