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Russia end Serbia challenge to reach final

Serbia 2-3 Russia (aet)
Russia are through to their third straight final after Romulo's extra-time goal ended the challenge of hosts Serbia.

Watch Russia beat hosts in extra time
  • Romulo's extra-time goal sends Russia into third straight final and sixth overall
  • Serbia equalise twice in front of capacity crowd in debut semi-final
  • Russia's Eder Lima sent off and will miss final
  • Watch highlights in the video player above
  • Saturday: Serbia v Kazakhstan (third place, 18.30CET), Russia v Spain (final, 21.00CET)

Russia are through to their third straight UEFA Futsal EURO final and face Spain on Saturday after Romulo's extra-time goal ended the challenge of hosts Serbia in front of another 11,161 capacity crowd.

In the 13th minute, Daniil Davydov won the ball and did superbly to tee up Eder Lima for the opener; the scorer then combined with Robinho to somehow stop Aleksandar Živanović's shot on the line. Gustavo in the Russia goal was forced off for treatment early in the second half, meaning Sergei Vikulov took over, and while he was on, Mladen Kocić broke through and equalised.

It was now anyone's game but Sergei Abramov produced a mini-version of Ricardinho's goial against Serbia when he flicked the ball above Kocić then poked in on the half-volley. Russia had a blow when Eder Lima received a second yellow card, and Miloš Simić, the hero against Ukraine, did it again as he turned in Marko Perić's pass to equalise. In extra time, though, with Kocić injured, Romulo turned in Robinho's kick-in to decide the game.

Eder Lima scored, and was sent off
Eder Lima scored, and was sent off©Getty Images

The key
The quick-thinking on the set-piece that produced Russia's winner. Their experience in big situations in front of hostile crowds, honed over many years, told in that moment.

Russia's run goes on
Russia have never been at their best in these finals yet are in the decider again, once more aiming to add to their sole title in 1999. However, to lose Eder Lima just as he was hitting goalscoring form is a blow especially after his importance in their semi-final win against Spain two years ago.

Serbia's fantastic feat
A match for third place will not be the what Serbia wanted but their passionate and talented team deserve one more go in front of the fans that have been setting attendance records throughout this tournament.

Romulo (No15) celebrates his goal
Romulo (No15) celebrates his goal©Getty Images

Romulo, Russia player
I am very, very happy to have scored the winner and to have helped Russia to reach their third straight final, even more because it's the first time I have played in this tournament. It is a very emotion moment for me. It was a very hard match for us because we didn't only face a very good host team but also almost 12,000 fans.

I think we played really well today. Of course we made a couple of mistakes but that is something that we can sort out in for the final.  Now we need to focus once again and win our last match. It is a shame that Eder Lima won't be able to play in the final as he is our goalscorer and a very important player but we have players that can come forward. The most important thing is that we won.

Miloš Simić, Serbia player
We should not complain about anything, this is futsal. We are proud of our game against Russia, slight details decided the finalist. I was just sorry about extra time as we played there without out best player Mladen Kocić because of his injury. But here is still one more match to play, very important for us as we would really like to be written in futsal history with bronze letters.