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Slovenia break duck to shock Italy

Italy 2-3 Slovenia
Slovenia ended their wait for a first final tournament win with a surprise victory after a dramatic conclusion in Antwerp.

Slovenia break duck to shock Italy
Slovenia break duck to shock Italy ©UEFA.com

Slovenia won a UEFA Futsal EURO final tournament game at the eighth attempt as they pulled off an upset against former champions Italy.

Having twice taken the lead, Slovenia made it 3-1 in the 39th minute when Igor Osredkar scored into an empty net. Saad pulled one back with 31 seconds left, but it was not enough for Italy and a draw against Azerbaijan on Friday will take Slovenia through.

Merlim, one of the few Italy players making a major finals debut, shot over early on, but it was a tight opening. That changed in the 11th minute when Osredkar fed Gašper Vrhovec and his low shot from distance caught out Stefano Mammarella in the Italy goal.

Daniel Giasson responded with an effort just wide, but it was nearly 2-0 when Rok Mordej stole the ball and found Kristjan Čujec, whose strike was tipped past the post by Mammarella. From the corner, the woodwork was rattled by Alen Fetič’s fine drive. Italy rallied late in the half but Saad missed and Luca Leggiero was denied by Damir Puškar.

Italy had come from behind to beat Slovenia in the first match of their 2003 finals success, but in that game they were already 2-1 up at half-time rather than trailing. Fortino had an early effort blocked by Puškar but he beat the keeper at his near post in the 24th minute after a Gabriel Lima corner.

Slovenia immediately responded, Čujec of New Team FVG holding the ball about 12 metres out and smashing his shot past Mammarella. Puškar did well to stop from Giasson, but Slovenia were also still launching attacks. Lima was tried as a flying goalkeeper in the last three minutes, but the empty net was found by Osredkar from deep in the Slovenia half. Saad responded but time ran out for Italy, now desperate for a result against Azerbaijan on Sunday.