FC Barcelona will aim to lift the UEFA Futsal Cup at the first attempt when they stage Sunday's final in Lleida but MFK Dinamo Moskva's Spanish coach Faustino Pérez is plotting their downfall.
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FC Barcelona will aim to lift the UEFA Futsal Cup at the first time of asking when they stage Sunday's final against MFK Dinamo Moskva in Lleida, but compatriot Faustino Pérez is plotting their downfall.
Spanish sides won five of the first ten finals of this competition and it was Pérez who actually triumphed in the inaugural two in 2002 and 2003 at the helm of Playas de Castellón, his team including the man who will captain Barcelona on Sunday, Javi Rodríguez. Barcelona have performed superbly on their debut European campaign, and the Pavelló Barris Nord will be packed with their fans again for the final, but Dinamo are not lacking in experience, several of their team having won this trophy in Murcia five years ago.
Barcelona showed their worth with a fine 5-1 defeat of Sporting Clube de Portugal on Friday, and as they attempt to add one of the few European trophies missing for the famed club, coach Marc Carmona said: "This will be the most important match in Barça's futsal history. We have played important matches in the past but this one will full of emotion for our fans."
Dinamo overcame Marca Futsal 3-0 even without the hero of the 2007 final, Pula, who will return from suspension on Sunday, but Pérez said of the other last-four game: "I think that we all have seen and agree that Barcelona were superior [to Sporting] from start to finish; they showed ambition and got the reward they deserved. There were only azulgrana colours for the entire match."
While Dinamo's noisy section of 200 fans will not be able to dominate vocally on Sunday as they did in the semi-final, Pérez is expecting "an even match" and had a special tribute to former Spain skipper Rodríguez. "I think he's a special case, he started late in futsal and will end late," he said. "He's a model professional and a complete player."
Carmona, whose rapport with Pérez was clear at the pre-final press conference, mused: "Tino knows what we are going to do on Sunday because we have been playing like this for two years.
"It will be important to score first but it will not be all. I think that Spanish teams have an advantage over the majority of the European teams if we take into account the tactical knowledge but this Dinamo side are the most Spanish team outside the Spanish league, because of Tino, because of the players that have played in Spain and because you saw on Friday the similarity with the best Spanish teams.
"We played well on Friday with and without the ball but my players are aware that it will now be more demanding. [Dinamo] are a better team, individually and collectively. We have to be even better than against Sporting."