Schemer Hernan Garcias returned from a long lay-off to help ASD Città di Montesilvano C/5 dispose of SL Benfica and now wants to complete a dream comeback in Sunday's final.
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They say you cannot teach the gift of timing – and it may be to the eternal benefit of ASD Città di Montesilvano C/5 that playmaker Hernan Garcias possesses it.
The Argentinian international ended a five-month injury exile to feature in Montesilvano's UEFA Futsal Cup semi-final defeat of SL Benfica and is now eager to fulfil a dream against Sporting Clube de Portugal.
Garcias, 32, just hopes he has done enough to prove his fitness to Fulvio Colini, the coach who calls him the "brains of the team". "It would be beyond words to win the tournament," he told UEFA.com on the eve of Sunday's final. "We aren't from a league like the Spanish or Russian – no Italian team had reached the semi-finals until Luparense C/5 last year. At my age I don't know if I'll get another chance. It would be a dream."
The slender schemer certainly picks his matches: before Friday's victory in Almaty over holders Benfica, his previous appearances had come in November's elite round, including the win at Russian side MFK Sinara Ekaterinburg which, in effect, booked Montesilvano their finals place.
If that result spurred the 2010 Italian champions and UEFA Futsal Cup debutants to establish themselves as the surprise package of this European season, it was not necessarily a shock to Garcias. "I am not surprised by our progress, although I thought it would be difficult because we have played some world-class teams like Sinara. But I always knew we had the potential.
"Winning in Ekaterinburg was the big step. Then you get to a tournament like this where everyone has a chance. Benfica are better than us in some ways, but in a one-off game anything can happen. It was tough coming back after months out, and it was difficult to get up to speed, but that was the only way if I was going to play. I enjoyed it, I was quite pleased with my performance, and it was great to get to a final."
The player from Buenos Aires, whose two compatriots in the Montesilvano ranks – Leandro Cuzzolino and Cristian Borruto – scored against Benfica, fully intends to grab "the chance to make history for an Italian club". He should not look out of place on the final stage: the No8 is a veteran of three FIFA Futsal World Cups, and even likens the standard of that competition to the current tournament in Kazakhstan.
"The level of competition here, the atmosphere, is just like at a World Cup," Garcias said. "The teams are really serious – you sometimes get a weaker team at a World Cup but look at all the internationals in the Benfica team. So on both a playing level and an organisational one this is at least the standard of a World Cup."