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Ilves, Győr and Ararat go through

FS Ilves Tampere, Győri ETO FC and AGBU Ararat Nicosia FC all clinched main round berths on Thursday, while in the last group to begin KMF Zelezarec Skopje and KFUM Futsal Oslo won.

Ilves Tampere celebrate winning their group in Malta
Ilves Tampere celebrate winning their group in Malta ©Domenic Aquilina

Three more teams moved through from the UEFA Futsal Cup preliminary round on Thursday leaving only one main round berth still up for grabs.

Finland's FS Ilves Tampere, Hungarian side Győri ETO FC and Cypriot champions AGBU Ararat Nicosia FC all clinched first place in their mini-tournaments, emulating Sporting Fingal SC, MNK Orlić Sarajevo and Kremlin Bicêtre United in topping their pools. Only Group E is undecided, having only begun on Thursday with hosts KMF Zelezarec Skopje and KFUM Futsal Oslo victorious.

In Group B in Malta three sides entered the final day with ambitions of qualifying and Denmark's BK Glostrup Albertslund kept their hopes alive with an exciting 5-4 victory over KF Tirana. Now BGA needed leaders Ilves to lose to hosts ZC Excess Futsal – who could have pipped both with a five-goal win. In the end the Finnish club finished a point clear following a 5-5 draw in which Emil Raducu scored all the Excess goals including two late strikes to set up an exciting conclusion. Ilves will meet Italian hosts AS Montesilvano C/5, MNK Nacional Zagreb and ASA Tel-Aviv in main round Group 5.

Group F in Hungary came down to a last-day meeting between hosts Győr and Helvécia Futsal London, whose inferior goal difference meant they needed a win. However, it was Győr that prevailed 7-2 with a wonderful display of controlled aggression. They were four up by the break and Ioan Al-Ioani completed a hat-trick late on to thwart an attempted comeback. Győr now play FK Era-Pack Chrudim, Iberia Star Tbilisi and FC Mapid Minsk in the Czech Republic for the two elite round places on offer in each pool.

Over in Cyprus, SD Croatia Berlin's exciting 6-4 comeback defeat of FC Levski Sofia West in the opening game of the day in Group D meant  Ararat knew they could secure first place with a game to spare by beating FC Anzhi Tallinn and duly produced a 6-2 win, George Totlaze hitting a hat-trick. Ararat will travel to Ukraine to play FC Time Lviv, Athina' 90 and Orlić.

It could be all over in Group E on Friday when Zelezarec meet Oslo after their opening wins in Skopje. Zelezarec, the only team in the group not making their European debut, saw off Istanbul Üniversitesi SK 13-5 with Zoran Leveski's hat-trick in the last four minutes emulating Žharko Nazkovski's earlier treble. Oslo defeated KMF Danilovgrad 7-3, the already short-handed Montenegrin team losing the influential Igor Četković to a late red card.

Zelezarec coach Vasko Skenderovski, whose team will be through if they beat Oslo and Danilovgrad fail to see off Istanbul, said: "We were expecting to start with a win. In the first half the Turkish team gave us a hard time, but in the end our experience and quality were decisive. The main thing is that we've won, and by eight goals which could be crucial at the end of the tournament. For us, the most important game will be the match against Oslo."