ASD Città di Montesilvano C/5 produced a late winner to get past Group B hosts MFK Sinara Ekaterinburg while Araz Naxçivan came from behind to defeat AGBU Ararat Nicosia FC.
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ASD Città di Montesilvano C/5 defeated former UEFA Futsal Cup winners MFK Sinara Ekaterinburg in dramatic style, ensuring they and last season's bronze-medallists Araz Naxçivan opened elite round Group B with wins.
Araz trailed sole preliminary round survivors AGBU Ararat Nicosia FC until two goals midway through the second half gave them a 2-1 win. Group hosts Ekaterinburg also equalised against Montesilvano of Italy but with less than two minutes left Adriano Foglia condemned the Russian side to only their second defeat in four European campaigns.
Ararat looked like they could produce an upset when Romanian international Zoltán Mihály's fine strike into the top corner put the Cypriot champions ahead on 16 minutes, while Araz produced shot after shot without finding a breakthrough. That changed in the 29th minute thanks to Anderson and soon after Felipe sealed victory for the Azerbaijani representatives.
Competition debutants Montesilvano took just 119 seconds to break the deadlock against 2008 winners Ekaterinburg – who received a bye to this stage – through a shot from distance by Marco Forte. Just before the interval Pavel Chistopolov deservedly levelled for a side who missed out on the finals for the first time in three entries in 2009/10, but Foglia struck with a powerful late effort for Montesilvano, aiming to match the run of Luparense C/5, fourth behind Araz last season.
Montesilvano take on Araz on Tuesday, when a win would suffice for the Italian club if Ararat do not beat Ekaterinburg, and if the hosts fail to defeat the Cypriot team, Naxçivan will progress with victory. One of April's four finalists will definitely be decided on Tuesday, when Iberia Star Tbilisi need three points to deny Group C hosts Kairat Almaty. The other two sections begin on Thursday.