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Araz Naxçivan

Hosts Araz Naxçivan were founded in 2004 and have dominated in Azerbaijan ever since as well as their players helping their national team to new heights.

Alesio coaches both Araz and Azerbaijan
Alesio coaches both Araz and Azerbaijan ©Action Images

Formed: 2004
Nickname: none

UEFA Futsal Cup best performance: third place 2010

Domestic honours (most recent)
• League title: 9 (2013)
• Azerbaijan Cup: 6 (2011)

Main round: Athina '90 5-1, Châtelineau Futsal 3-1, City'US Târgu Mureş 3-3 (Group 6 winners)
Elite round: CF Eindhoven 6-3, Győri ETO FC 5-0, Sporting Clube de Portugal 6-3 (Group D winners)

• Founded in 2004 to replace a defunct top-flight football club, Araz have dominated futsal in Azerbaijan ever since, winning every league title.

• They made their UEFA Futsal Cup debut in 2005/06, picking up four points from three first qualifying round games but the following season they reached the elite round.

• Araz fell in the 2007/08 main round but in 2008/09 a new-look squad made theelite round and only a 4-2 defeat by MFK Dinamo cost them a finals place, something they put right the next season, ending up third in Lisbon.

• After three more elite round exits, they put that right in 2013/14, the only one of the four finalists to have begun in the main round and qualfiying with a 6-3 win at top seeds and group hosts Sporting.

• Their players, and coach Alesio, constitute the major part of the Azerbaijan squad that made their UEFA European Futsal Championship debut in 2010, reaching the semi-finals in Hungary, and also qualifying in 2012 and 2014, when they were picked as hosts in Baku.

Key players
Vitaliy Borisov, Amadeu, Biro Jade, Marko Perić

Coach: Alesio

Date of birth: 27 September 1968
Nationality: Brazilian
Playing career: Voltorantin Pernambuco, FC Barcelona (twice), Inter Ulbra Porto Alegre, CR Vasco de Gama, MFK Spartak Moskva, TTG-Java Yugorsk
Coaching career: MFK Spartak Moskva (player-coach), TTG-Java Yugorsk (player-coach), Kairat Almaty, Araz Naxçivan, Azerbaijan

José Alesio da Silva had plenty of success as a futsal player and is now making his name as a coach. His playing career began in his native Brazil with Voltorantin Pernambuco, winning two state championships before a 1993 transfer to FC Barcelona. In his first season in Spain he was voted the league's best player, but returned to Brazil in 1998 with Inter Ulbra Porto Alegre, helping his team win both national and state titles followed by the Interclubes international tournament.

In 2000, he joined CR Vasco de Gama and again immediately won Rio state and Brazilian titles before returning to Barcelona, then joining MFK Spartak Moskva, where he lifted the 2003/04 Russian Super Cup.
Alesio was appointed player-coach at Spartak and although he then went home to rejoin Ulbra, he was soon back in Russia in another player-coach role with TTG-Java Yugorsk. Alesio was appointed coach of Kairat Almaty in 2007, leading them to the Kazakhstan title and the UEFA Futsal Cup finals.

He moved on to coach Azerbaijan, securing their first qualification for a major tournament, a run to the 2010 UEFA European Futsal Championship semis. He also took over Araz, coaching them to his personal second UEFA Futsal Cup finals in three years and both teams have continued to succeed.