Oltenia AMA captain Nicolae Iovan and Castilla y León AMA skipper David Durantez agree that reaching UEFA Regions' Cup final is the peak of their amateur careers, but there is no consensus on the outcome of the game.
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While Oltenia AMA captain Nicolae Iovan and his Castilla y León AMA counterpart David Durantez agree that reaching UEFA Regions' Cup final is the peak of their amateur careers, both believe that it is their team who will go on to lift the trophy.
Ever-present in the tournament thus far, centre-back Iovan cannot wait to get going in Zapresic this evening. "I am very excited – it is a dream come true," the 28-year-old said. A solid presence in front of Castilla's back four, Durantez hopes his team transfer their nervous energy into a dynamic display. He said: "We are very nervous because it's the biggest game for us but let's hope we wake up in good shape and that all our hard work pays off."
With Castilla already qualified going into the last set of group games and Durantez a booking away from suspension, the midfield orchestrator was rested for Saturday's 1-0 win over Savez Gradiška AMA. "I didn't play because I was on a yellow card but the most important game is the final and that exceeds everything that has gone before."
While Castilla coach Javier Yepes could rest a host of players for that fixture, Oltenia had no such luxury although Iovan believes the magnitude of the occasion will help his team-mates perform in their fourth match in eight days. "It is a short period of time but I hope my team is on normal form and if so, I think we can win the game," the Romanian skipper added, before outlining the key to his side's chances. "In my opinion the most important thing is possession because if you have the ball, you can control the game."
Durantez spoke of his "pride" at being involved in the tournament and called on his side to maintain their "attacking style of play" after picking up three wins from as many outings in Group B. Oltenia are also undefeated, so something will have to give, but Iovan was keen to bring some perspective to the match. "It will certainly be emotional if we win," he added. "It will be great, but at the end of the day it is just a game: if we win, brilliant, if not that's just the way it is."