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Futsal elite compete for finals slots

Holders SL Benfica and fellow top seeds MFK Viz-Sinara Ekaterinburg, ElPozo Murcia FS and AFC Kairat Almaty join the fray next week as the elite round decides the four finalists.

Benfica are beginning their title defence
Benfica are beginning their title defence ©Sportsfile

UEFA Futsal Cup holders SL Benfica and their fellow top seeds enter the fray next week when the elite round decides the four finalists.

Benfica, 2008 champions MFK Viz-Sinara Ekaterinburg, that year's runners-up ElPozo Murcia FS and three-time semi-finalists AFC Kairat Almaty were excused the preliminary and main rounds, and are ready to make their bows. Kairat are the first to kick off on Saturday as they host Group C against Iberia Star Tbilisi – the only team to have played in all ten editions – fellow regulars Slov-Matic Bratislava and Polish newcomers Akademia FC Pniewy.

On Monday week Ekaterinburg welcome 2010 bronze-medallists Araz Naxçivan, Italy's ASD Città Di Montesilvano C/5 and sole preliminary round survivors AGBU Ararat Nicosia FC to the Russian venue for the 2009 finals in Group B. Three days later the last two sections begin, Benfica in Serbia to take on hosts KMF Ekonomac Kragujevac, FC Time Lviv and MNK Nacional Zagreb. Murcia take part in an equally tough group in Lisbon against Sporting Clube de Portugal, who took Benfica's domestic crown in the summer, FK EP Chrudim and City'us Târgu Mureş.

The four group winners will progress to the finals, to be hosted by one of their number in late April. UEFA.com will have live scores and full coverage from all four elite round venues.

Elite round lineup
Group A (25-28 November): SL Benfica (POR, holders), KMF Ekonomac Kragujevac (SRB)*, FC Time Lviv (UKR), MNK Nacional Zagreb (CRO)

Group B (22-25 November): MFK Viz-Sinara Ekaterinburg (RUS)*, Araz Naxçivan (AZE), ASD Città Di Montesilvano C/5 (ITA), AGBU Ararat Nicosia FC (CYP)

Group C (20-23 November): AFC Kairat Almaty (KAZ)*, Iberia Star Tbilisi (GEO), Akademia FC Pniewy (POL), Slov-Matic Bratislava (SVK)

Group D (25-28 November): ElPozo Murcia FS (ESP), Sporting Clube de Portugal (POR)*, FK EP Chrudim (CZE), City'us Târgu Mureş (ROU)


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