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Hosts Benfica storm into futsal final

SL Benfica 8-4 Luparense C/5
Benfica delighted the home crowd at the Pavilhão Atlântico as they set up a rematch of the 2004 final against Interviú Madrid.

César Paulo celebrates as Benfica triumph
César Paulo celebrates as Benfica triumph ©Sportsfile

SL Benfica will meet Interviú Madrid in a repeat of the 2004 UEFA Futsal Cup final after the hosts overcame Luparense C/5 8-4 in an enthralling last-four encounter at the Pavilhão Atlántico.

The hosts were in control from the moment Joel Queirós broke the deadlock on three minutes, even if Luparense kept them in touching distance, going into half-time only 3-2 down. Two strikes in three minutes at the start of the second period all but ended their challenge, a late flurry of five goals giving a fairly one-sided look to the scoreline.

Benfica will now face Interviú, whose earlier semi-final against Azerbaijan's Araz Naxçivan began at a tentative pace – there was no repeat in the later game. To the delight of the vociferous home support, Benfica hit the front when the alert Joel made the most of goalkeeper Miguel Weber's stray pass before finishing in style.

The Serie A1 team hit back immediately, Humberto Honorio scoring following a one-two with Carlos Chilavert Gennaro, but Joel would prove a constant thorn in Luparense's side. He teed up Ricardinho to smash home and make it 2-1 and then, with the visitors looking to hit them on the break, Joel punished them again in the 12th minute after César Paulo dispossessed Honorio and set him on his way.

Sito Rivera demanded a quick response from his team and got one with Nuno crossing for Vampeta to tap in to make it 3-2. The 2009 Supercoppa Italia winners' hopes were all but extinguished soon after half-time, however. First Joel's shot deflected off Arnaldo before beating Weber and it was 5-2 two minutes later when Davi was offered an easy finish after Ricardinho's exquisite chip came back off the crossbar.

As the half progressed, Luparense found the woodwork three times before some clever footwork from Clayton Baptistella helped reduce the arrears. Aside from a last-minute own goal, that was as good as it got for the Italian team, who conceded further goals to Ricardinho and Arnaldo. César Paulo rounded off an impressive performance for Benfica with a superb finish off the far post and the Portuguese side will approach Sunday's final confident there will be no repeat of their 2004 two-legged loss to Interviú. Luparense make Araz for third place.