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UEFA Futsal EURO semi-final round-up: Portugal and Russia set up decider

Portugal recovered from two down to beat Spain and set up a Sunday final against Russia, also 3-2 winners against Ukraine.

Zicky was Portugal's two-goal hero
Zicky was Portugal's two-goal hero SPORTSFILE

Holders Portugal and 1999 champions Russia will both go for second UEFA Futsal EURO titles on Sunday at Amsterdam's Ziggo Dome after winning last-four ties 3-2 in the Dutch capital.

Russia held off Ukraine thanks to a late penalty save while Portugal recovered from two down to edge Spain with a pair of Zicky goals. Spain and Ukraine will begin Sunday's action when they meet for third place.

Road to the final

SEMI-FINALS (Friday)

Ukraine 2-3 Russia
Portugal 3-2 Spain 

FINAL/THIRD-PLACE MATCH (Sunday)

Third-place match: Spain vs Ukraine (14:30, Amsterdam)
Final
: Portugal vs Russia (17:30, Amsterdam)

Kick-offs CET

Portugal 3-2 Spain

Highlights: Portugal 3-2 Spain
Highlights: Portugal 3-2 Spain

After all the build-up, Spain were ahead in 17 seconds as their four starting outfielders played the ball around until Sergio Lozano squared for Raúl Gómez to slot past André Sousa. As play flowed from end to end, Portugal hit the post three times including twice by Pany Varela, but Spain got the second when Chino met Mellado's free-kick with a fantastic curling shot.

Tomás Paço became the latest Portugal player to hit the post as they went in 2-0 down at the break, knowing they overcame a similar deficit in last year's FIFA Futsal World Cup quarter-final defeat of Spain. Portugal kept pushing and midway through the half their 2018 final hero Bruno Coelho converted a penalty after Ortiz felled Afonso Jesus.

Not so long afterwards, Portugal's 20-year-old pivot Zicky turned and found a gap to send his shot past both the covering Ortiz and the dive of Didac Plana. And it was Zicky who won the game 79 seconds from time. Erick won the ball in the Portugal half and fed Pauleta, who returned the favour. Erick then drove the ball in from the left and the ecstatic Zicky finished off the move by the three Sporting CP players. Ortiz, setting a new record of 34 finals appearances, went close at the death but for the first time Spain will go two Futsal EUROs in a row without a title.

Key fact: Portugal are now unbeaten in 32 competitive games since a penalty shoot-out loss to Iran for 2016 World Cup third place, and 33 over 40 minutes since the last-four loss to Argentina at that tournament.

Zicky hails Portugal's team spirit
Zicky hails Portugal's team spirit

Zicky, Portugal goalscorer: "I couldn't be happier with my two goals and above all with the win which allowed us to qualify for the final. This display against a team like Spain gives us huge confidence for what lies ahead. It's always great to score but the most important thing is the team. We all worked very hard for this outcome and that's the thing that makes me happier."

Sergio Lozano, Spain player: "We are disappointed. I think we played a great first half. Maybe in the second half with the advantage we didn't play like we did in the first. We were more focused on defending than attacking, and this team doesn't know how to do that. That was because Zicky pushed us back. We have to learn from this."

Ukraine 2-3 Russia

Highlights: Ukraine 2-3 Russia
Highlights: Ukraine 2-3 Russia

A moment of brilliance from Artem Niyazov and a Dmitri Putilov penalty save proved crucial as Russia kept up their perfect 11-game winning run, including qualifying, to reach the final.

Russia started strongly and were ahead in 76 seconds as a corner was played back to Sergei Abramov, who fed Anton Sokolov to send in a low deflected shot. They remained on top and, just before the quarter-hour, Andrei Afanasyev headed a long Putilov throw against the crossbar then was first to the rebound to double the lead.

Within a minute Ukraine were back in the game, a corner worked back to Yevgen Siryi, who struck from outside the penalty area. Ukraine now pushed for an equaliser and just before half-time Yaroslav Lebid hit the post, as did Russia's Daniil Davydov not long past the interval. As the clock ticked past 30 minutes, though, Russia did make it 3-1 with a spectacular Niyazov flying bicycle kick from Nando's crossfield pass.

Around five minutes from time, Ukraine's patient pressure halved the deficit again, flying keeper Petro Shoturma with an effort from outside the box turned in by Danyil Abakshyn. Ukraine then had a chance to equalise as Afanasyev slid in to foul Ihor Korsun in the box but Shoturma's penalty was kicked away by Putilov and Russia held on through a frantic finish.

Artem Niyazov, Russia goalscorer: "It was a very difficult and intense match as the outcome was unknown until the very last second. But in the end we were able to hold on and of course I am thankful to our goalkeeper who saved a penalty. Now we have only little time to rest before the final. Probably my goal looked spectacular. I didn't have a chance to watch the replay yet but it was important as it was a game-winning goal. So it doesn't really matter how beautiful the goal was, the most important thing is that this goal allowed us to qualify for the final."

Yevgen Siryi, Ukraine goalscorer: "I am still full of emotions after this incredible match. It was a dream for us to be here in the semi-finals. I think we were a bit unlucky in the end. I am really proud of the players in our team."

Key fact: Russia are into their seventh final, seeking only their second title after 1999.