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Interviú break Araz resistance

Araz Naxçivan 2-5 Interviú Madrid
The team from Azerbaijan twice equalised before Betão, goalkeeper Luis Amado and Daniel took the holders into Sunday's final.

Interviú celebrate Jordi Torras (No3) giving them the lead
Interviú celebrate Jordi Torras (No3) giving them the lead ©Sportsfile

UEFA Futsal Cup holders Interviú Madrid were forced to work hard to reach Sunday's final against hosts SL Benfica after Araz Naxçivan produced a valiant effort against the three-time winners in Lisbon.

Interviú twice took the lead through Jordi Torras and Gabriel but each time they were pegged back by the first Azerbaijani team to reach a UEFA club semi-final. Only in the last seven minutes did the Spanish side streak away, to move into their fifth final in seven seasons, where they will be rematched with the side they beat in their first in 2004.

Araz coach Alesio hinted he had a plan to deal with Interviú and it soon became clear his side would look to play on the counter. A constant threat moving forward, Araz pivot Serjão brought a fine save from Luis Amado in the opening stages.

The reigning champions soon found their rhythm, however, and Betão brought a flying stop from Andrey Tveryankin before Borja wrong-footed the opposition with a cleverly passed free-kick that allowed Torras to open the scoring. Undaunted, Araz stuck to their task and not long before the break Biro Jade slid in at the far post to direct Thiago's cross past Amado.

Both sides increased the pace after the restart and after Biro Jade missed for Araz, Gabriel pounced at the other end to send Tveryankin's block back past the keeper. Interviú's advantage was brief, Serjão making it 2-2 when he thumped home Felipe's corner.

It needed a sublime piece of skill from Betão to restore the Spanish side's lead. With his back to goal, the forward accepted Gabriel's pass before spinning and angling a shot in off the far post.

The game began to creep away from Araz the moment Amado pulled off a magnificent save from Biro Jade and the No1 then scored with a clearance into an unguarded net. Daniel, like Amado and Schumacher part of Interviú's victories in 2004, 2006 and a year ago, wrapped things up at the end; Araz's disappointment compounded as Serjão picked up a booking which rules him out of the third-place play-off against Luparense C/5.