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Lozano inspires Spain to final defeat of Russia

Published: Saturday 11 February 2012, 23.13CET
Russia 1-3 Spain (aet)
Two goals from Sergio Lozano, his first cancelling out Pula's effort 34 seconds from time, helped secure a fourth straight title for Spain.
by Wayne Harrison
from Arena Zagreb
Lozano inspires Spain to final defeat of Russia
Spain celebrate their victory ©Sportsfile
  
Published: Saturday 11 February 2012, 23.13CET

Lozano inspires Spain to final defeat of Russia

Russia 1-3 Spain (aet)
Two goals from Sergio Lozano, his first cancelling out Pula's effort 34 seconds from time, helped secure a fourth straight title for Spain.

Sergio Lozano scored twice as Spain came from behind to defeat Russia after extra time and secure a fourth consecutive UEFA European Futsal Championship title, and sixth overall, in Zagreb.

Beaten twice before by Spain in the finals of 1996 and 2005,  Russia were 34 seconds from repeating their own defeat of the perennial champions 13 years ago when Lozano's deflected shot cancelled out Pula's 34th-minute strike. In the second period of extra time, Lozano's shooting prowess broke Russian hearts again and Borja's last-gasp clearance goal ensured coach José Venancio López emulates predecessor Javier Lozano in securing three European titles with Spain.

This fourth continental final between these nations in eight editions began with Spain captain Amado − featuring in his sixth showpiece − being tested after 27 seconds by the recalled Konstantin Maevski. Spain's opening shot across the bows came when Gustavo stuck out a hand to thwart Rafael Usín.

The early tempo was high, with both teams pressing. The holders soon imposed themselves, however, and when Nikolai Pereverzev ceded possession deep inside the Russia half he was relieved to see Sergio Lozano fire wide with time and space.

Save for a Cirilo snapshot, which Amado parried, openings for Russia were scarce. Spain were more adept at creating them, with Miguelín driving wide after Dmitri Prudnikov had tracked back to suppress a flowing team move. Gustavo then twice prevented Torras adding to his finals-leading tally of five goals and one assist before the half was out.

Quickly out of the traps in the second period, Spain threatened again when Aicardo troubled Gustavo inside nine seconds; a reminder of Russia's menace came with Cirilo and Sergei Sergeev bothering Amado in quick succession. Amado's palms were warmed again by Cirilo after Kike − like his goalkeeper now a five-time winner of this competition − had relinquished the ball.

Suddenly Sergei Skorovich's men looked the more likely to score, something Pula did with a low shot into the bottom corner after a forceful run. Russia survived two minutes with four players following the dismissal of Cirilo and if they thought they had won it when Prudnikov cleared Borja's attempt off the line, Lozano's deflected drive dashed their hopes.

Miguelín was centimetres away from an extra-time breakthrough as Venancio López's charges, on a high after their late reprieve, sought a second. Lozano, the top scorer in the Spanish league, got it with a firm strike just as penalties loomed. With Sergeev on as a flying goalkeeper, Borja's shot into an unguarded net as the buzzer went confirmed a hat-trick of EURO final victories for Spain, a fittingly thrilling end to by far the best-attended edition yet.

Last updated: 16/01/14 16.44CET

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