UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Sporting reach final after breaking Kairat hearts

Sporting Clube de Portugal 3-2 Kairat Almaty
Caio Japa scored the winner late on, his second of the game, following a two-goal fightback from the Kazakh hosts.

Sporting Clube de Portugal reached their first UEFA Futsal Cup final after overcoming tournament hosts Kairat Almaty in the first of Friday's semi-finals.

The Portuguese team won with second-half strikes from Divanei and Caio Japa (2) after a tight contest developed into an epic one in Almaty. Orlando Duarte's men survived a brave Kairat comeback from two goals down to better Sporting's best performance of third place in 2002, yet for João Carlos Barbosa's Kazakh champions − who had restored hope with Leo Santana's late double − this was a fourth semi-final defeat.

On a wet day outside the Baluan Sholak Sport Palace, it rained chances inside, with only goalkeeping excellence preserving the first-half stalemate. At one end Kairat's Jeronimo turned Déo's shot over; at the other Almaty captain Kelson − chasing a third UEFA Futsal Cup win with as many clubs − troubled Sporting keeper Cristiano.

The best of Cristiano's work came when Kairat forward Sidnei Silva unleashed an exocet which he tipped clear. Jeronimo, meanwhile, displayed his sharpest instincts as Sporting made the better chances in an otherwise even opening. Alex twice, Déo via a deflection, and Pedro Cary all forced last-gasp saves as Kairat No13's proved unlucky for Sporting.

The raucous home crowd in the 5,000-capacity arena turned up the volume, however, when Kelson fed Felipe, who held off an advancing Cristiano before swivelling and shooting wide. Come the second period, Kairat's Giva instantly stung Cristiano's fingertips from distance; Caio Japa repaid the compliment.

Jeronimo, though, could do nothing when Alex left a free-kick for Divanei to smash in following a foul on Pedro Cary. Giva might have equalised, yet one became two as Caio Japa advanced to curl a shot beyond Jeronimo.

If that was the last sighting of the now injured Kairat keeper, Cristiano continued being called into action by Sidnei and Serik Zhamankulov, while the crossbar denied Kakata's impudent chip and the post frustrated Santana.

For all their deflation, Kairat kept attacking while substitute custodian Vitaliy Khayavin kept the deficit down to 2-0. The arrears were reduced when Santana turned in Dinmukhambet Suleimenov's cross with five minutes left. The Brazilian produced his second masterstroke not longer after, charging upfield before arrowing a shot past Cristiano.

No sooner had parity been restored than home hearts were broken, however: Caio Japa making sure Marcelo Silva's shot crossed the line to send Sporting through.