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Sporting must avoid falling into Montesilvano trap

Sporting Clube de Portugal and ASD Città di Montesilvano C/5 are both eager to make the final stage their own when they face off in Sunday's UEFA Futsal Cup showpiece.

Sporting coach Orlando Duarte eyes up the UEFA Futsal Cup
Sporting coach Orlando Duarte eyes up the UEFA Futsal Cup ©Sportsfile

A new name will adorn the UEFA Futsal Cup after Sporting Clube de Portugal and ASD Città di Montesilvano C/5 meet in the competition's tenth final in Almaty on Sunday.

Orlando Duarte's Sporting, who overcame Kazakh tournament hosts Kairat Almaty in a thrilling semi-final, have the chance to succeed neighbours SL Benfica as European champions. Meanwhile, Montesilvano, whose dream debut season continued when they deposed Benfica in Friday's second eliminator, can become Italy's first UEFA Futsal Cup winners.

If Sporting, whose previous best was third place in 2002, are to keep the trophy in Lisbon then they ought to avoid the kind of attritional game Benfica got caught in against Fulvio Colini's side. Duarte told UEFA.com: "Italian teams have very smart players and when they are not at the same level they make games physical. We know we can win but we must be careful with the physical game."

The Lions coach recovers Cardinal, his joint-top scorer in qualifying alongside semi-final hero Caio Japa, from suspension. Kairat may have run Sporting close, yet Duarte reckons "we can play better, we can put on a spectacle, and we can be the best team tomorrow".

The man who led Portugal to second spot at UEFA Futsal EURO 2010 would also be happy to do his bit for the nation. "For us, playing Benfica or Montesilvano, it's the same. It would have been impressive for Portuguese futsal to have two teams in the final, but now one team can put Portuguese futsal at a high level. If Sporting win after Benfica last year, you can say for now Portuguese futsal has good health. But we must always work to be near to winning trophies."

Graft is not something lacking in a Montesilvano outfit who entered these finals with a confidence born from knocking out former champions MFK Sinara Ekaterinburg in Russia in the elite round. Having added to that scalp yesterday, coach Colini said: "We knew it was going to be difficult against Benfica but if you don't have a go you never get anywhere.

"We have grit, we are a tough team, we are also a clever team, and if the game becomes a battle then we can handle that. We have heart and brains." Colini adds that European glory was the last thing on his mind in September, yet any change in perception started against Ekaterinburg. "We were magnificent and once we'd made it to the semi-finals, anything could happen."

The question for the Adriatic club is how much physical and mental energy they have left. "Sporting are a similar team to Benfica and the worry is that we may not be the same team tomorrow," continued Colini, who is without the influential Rogerio Da Silva through suspension. "We could be tired. We played well against Benfica but we were also a bit lucky, whereas against Ekaterinburg we were perfect. Now we need to be perfect against Sporting."