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Barcelona and Kairat face off for UEFA Futsal Cup

FC Barcelona will seek a third UEFA Futsal Cup title in Sunday's final but must face the only club ever to have beaten them in Europe, 2013 winners Kairat Almaty.

Coaches Cacau and Marc Carmona with the trophy one of them will lift again
Coaches Cacau and Marc Carmona with the trophy one of them will lift again ©Sportsfile

Barcelona can equal two records by winning second straight title and third overall
Kairat are the only team to have beaten Barcelona in the holders' 22 European fixtures
That win was in the 2013 semi-finals on Kairat's way to victory in Tblisi
Barça's Sergio Lozano hoping to recover from thigh injury
Barcelona's Gabriel aiming for fifth win in seventh final appearance

The two clubs who between them have won the last three editions of the UEFA Futsal Cup compete for the trophy as Kairat Almaty meet FC Barcelona in Sunday's final at Lisbon's Meo Arena. Barcelona won on debut in 2012 before losing to Kairat 5-4 in the 2013 semi-finals. Kairat went on to win the trophy but last season Barcelona reclaimed the crown.

Semi-finals
ISK Dina Moskva 4-7 Kairat Almaty (aet)
FC Barcelona 5-3 Sporting Clube de Portugal

Highlights: Kairat's semi-final win
Highlights: Kairat's semi-final win

Thoughts from the camps
Cacau, Kairat coach
Barcelona are the current European champions. We have respect for them, we know that they are a great team but we also came here with the goal of winning the Futsal Cup once more.

In 2013 when we won the title, when we realised we had been drawn against Barcelona we were a little bit apprehensive. But when we arrived in Tbilisi we were prepared. They are one of the strongest teams in the world in set-piece situations.

We studied them a lot at the time and we saw that they had some trouble dealing with the 5 v 4 situation, so we played with the goalkeeper [Higuita] playing high. I give total freedom to my goalkeeper ... I have the best goalkeeper in the world playing with his feet.

Now we have Lukaian and Humberto, and also Caio; even though he didn't play much yesterday he is a very important player for us. And Joan with all his experience and the way he leads the 5 v 4. That title belongs to the past, we have changed for the better and we are looking for a new challenge.

Barcelona also have a different team with Bateria, Dyego and Ferrao, a high-level pivot. Wilde is having a great season, Gabriel needs no introduction.

Watch: Barcelona beat Sporting
Watch: Barcelona beat Sporting

Marc Carmona, Barcelona coach
Kairat have a fantastic group of players with a very distinctive style of play and we are going to try to respond well to anything that might crop up. In theory it will be a very even match. In these kind of games errors are very important and we are prepared physically and mentally for what we'll find. We'll see who is capable of winning.

This Kairat team have better quality players than the one from last year or from two years ago when we faced them. They have made very good signings.

We may have changed some players but our style of play, our way if understanding this sport, remains the same. I think it's easy to scout our matches; we have a clear idea of defending high, trying to win the ball and playing well in attack. The players change but we try to remain true to that ideal.

Competition top scorers
Kairat: Leo 8 (4 in finals)
Barcelona:
Wilde 6 (2 in finals)

Finals involving these clubs
2012: Barcelona 3-1 FC Dynamo (Lleida, Spain)
2013: Kairat 4-3 FC Dynamo (Tbilisi, Georgia)
2014: Barcelona 5-2 FC Dynamo, aet (Baku, Azerbaijan)

Match facts
• Of the teams in the 2013 encounter, Kairat retain Higuita, Leo, Joan, Serik Zhamankulov, Dinmukhambet Suleimenov and Alexandre Moraes.
Paco Sedano, Cristian, Aicardo, Sergio Lozano, Saad, Lin, Gabriel and Wilde still with Barcelona.
• Rodrigo (3), Moraes and Leo scored for Kairat. Lin and Wilde were among Barcelona's scorers.
Gabriel already holds a record of four tournament wins, two with Barcelona and two with Inter FS.
• Having set a record of 13 'final four' appearances on Friday, Gabriel will be in his seventh final, a new mark.
Cristian, Lin, Saad, Wilde and Lozano are also chasing third titles with Barcelona.
Carmona is seeking to become the first coach to win the competition three times.
Gabriel was in the Inter team that beat a Dynamo team including Joan in the 2006 final.
Spanish clubs have won seven of the last 13 editions and lost three other finals.
• Even if they lose, Kairat will be back next season after a 12th straight Kazakh title.