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Barcelona break Araz hearts in penalty drama

Araz Naxçivan 4-4 FC Barcelona (aet, Barcelona win 4-2 on pens)
Torras scored the winning penalty as Barça squeezed past a valiant home team and into a repeat of the 2012 final against FC Dynamo.

Barcelona break Araz hearts in penalty drama
Barcelona break Araz hearts in penalty drama ©UEFA.com

FC Barcelona held their nerve in a penalty shoot-out to edge an eight-goal thriller with Araz Naxçivan and reach the 2013/14 UEFA Futsal Cup final in Baku.

The Spanish side prevailed 4-2 on spot kicks, Torras hitting the winner after Araz's Fabiano and Davi, and Barcelona's Sergio Lozano, had efforts saved. Thus, while Araz must concentrate on repeating their third place of 2010, FC Dynamo await Barcelona in Saturday's sequel to their triumph two seasons ago in Lleida.

Marc Carmona's men had earlier recovered from conceding an instant opener to Rafael to restore parity through Igor and then move 3-1 in front after half-time courtesy of two-goal Aicardo. However, Fabiano's blast reinvigorated the contest, inviting the hosts to push for an equaliser which they conjured at the death through Adriano Foglia. When Araz finally looked beaten after the ball deflected fortuitously off Davi for Dyego to stroke home deep into extra time, up popped Amadeu for 4-4. The ensuing penalties ended in favour of the visitors from Catalonia.

If the first semi-final, won by Dynamo against Kairat Almaty, had been a slow-burner, this late evening kick-off at the Sarhadchi Olympic Sport Complex was ablaze from the off. Foglia's pass was converted by Rafael inside two minutes.

However, Alesio's team could do nothing about the individual brilliance of Igor whose jinking run left Fabiano and Aleksei Popov floored before he scored, from an acute angle, via Felipe's legs. As the game ebbed and flowed, Paco Sedano denied Araz's Augusto at one end; the Barça custodian had his own audacious attempt scrambled to safety by Amadeu at the other.

After a rousing reception greeted the Azerbaijani side's return for the second half, the local fans were swiftly – albeit temporarily – silenced when Aicardo arrowed an unstoppable strike past Popov. The Azulgrana No2 next appeared to have put the issue beyond doubt when, receiving Fernandão's pass, he cut inside Augusto and drilled unerringly beyond Popov.

Yet for all that this was 2012 European champions Barcelona's third successive semi-final, Araz were anything but overawed. The home club gained a lifeline courtesy of Fabiano's emphatic finish high into the roof of the net. Then, with 16 seconds left, Foglia emerged from nowhere to tap in Fabiano's cross and force extra time. With the noise and tension reaching unprecedented levels in the additional period, Dyego gave Barça an initiative that was quickly annulled by Amadeu.