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Sporting join Kairat, Barcelona, Dina in finals

Sporting Clube de Portugal beat Inter FS to complete April's finals lineup alongside holders FC Barcelona, debutants ISK Dina Moskva and Kairat Almaty.

Sporting celebrate qualification
Sporting celebrate qualification ©Sporting Clube de Portugal

Sporting Clube de Portugal defeated Inter FS in a dramatic final-day showdown in UEFA Futsal Cup elite round Group A. Kairat Almaty, already through, ensured they too matched ISK Dina Moskva and FC Barcelona in making the knockout finals in late April with a perfect record.

Qualified for finals: Sporting Clube de Portugal (POR)ISK Dina Moskva (RUS), Kairat Almaty (KAZ), FC Barcelona (ESP, holders)

Group A
Inter FS 0-1 Sporting Clube de Portugal
• Sporting grabbed top spot and a place in the four-team finals after coming out on top in a tight group decider. Three-time winners Inter only needed a draw but Diogo's goal in the 35th minute proved the difference for the hosts. As the clock ticked down towards full time, it appeared as if no player would find the target, but the Brazilian No8 struck to make it three wins from three and end Inter's hopes of a fourth title.

"This is a prize for many people," said Sporting coach Nuno Dias. "Above all, it's for the players, who implemented everything we planned for this match and never gave up. Now let's celebrate and then dream."

FC Grand Pro Varna 0-3 Futsal Team Charleroi
• With both teams already certain of elimination, it was the Belgian side who ended with a consolation win thanks to a dominant first-half showing against Varna. Goals from Lúcio, Leo and Zico on the stroke of half-time proved enough for Charleroi, who secured third spot in the section. Lúcio became only the second player to reach 50 goals in the competition's history.

Group C
KMF Ekonomac Kragujevac 3-6 Kairat Almaty

• Having scored 11 goals in both their first two games to advance with a match to spare, Kairat were not as prolific on the final day but make it three wins. After Leo and Higuita had put the Kazakhstani side two up early on, Daniel pulled one back for Ekonomac. The group leaders were never in trouble, however, with a Mikhail Pershin penalty sandwiched in between goals for Alexandre Moraes and Divanei stretching their lead. There was a brief fightback when Daniel's second was followed by a Nikola Matijević effort, but Leo's second wrapped up the win for the 2012/13 champions.

"This term, we are stronger than we were two years ago," said Kairat coach Cacau. "We should perform like favourites. Our main opponents are ourselves."

Sporting Club de Paris 5-4 FK Nikars Riga
• Sporting's chances of topping the section evaporated following their loss to Kairat on matchday two, but they nevertheless ended on a high despite leaving it late to defeat Nikars. Café was the hero as he scored four of the victors' five goals, his last coming 16 seconds from time after Oskars Ikstēns had looked like earning the Latvian side a 4-4 draw.

Sporting had been pegged back twice earlier on, but two quick-fire goals put them into a 4-2 lead and looked to have won it, especially when Andrejs Aleksejevs missed a penalty. However, Maksims Seņs and Ikstēns clawed Nikars level again, before Café had the final say, matching Baku United FC's Tobe's tally of ten goals.

"My players had spent all their emotions and energy in the clash against Kairat, so it was difficult to play robust futsal," commented Paris coach Rodolphe Lopes. "Nevertheless, we managed to win."