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Ugra Yugorsk pip Benfica to final on penalties

Ugra Yugorsk 4-4 Benfica (aet, Ugra win 3-2 on pens)
Both teams lead twice in a pulsating tie before Robinho converts the crucial spot kick to send Ugra into the final.

Ugra Yugorsk pip Benfica to final on penalties
Ugra Yugorsk pip Benfica to final on penalties ©UEFA.com
  • Debutants Ugra pip 2010 winners Benfica to final on penalties
  • Both teams lead twice in thriller
  • Ugra captain and goalkeeper Zviad Kupatadze sent off and suspended for final
  • Watch highlights in the video player above
  • Sunday's final: Ugra v Inter FS (20.30CET)
  • Sunday's third-place play-off: Benfica v Pescara (18.00CET)

UEFA Futsal Cup debutants Ugra Yugorsk have reached the final at the first time of asking after edging past Benfica on penalties and will face hosts Inter FS for the title on Sunday.

The 40 minutes of normal time flew by with Benfica leading at half-time only to have to twice equalise after the break, Jefferson with the crucial strike to make it 3-3. Ugra goalkeeper and captain Zviad Kupatadze had been sent off at 1-1 for handling a shot outside the area and replacement Sergei Slemzin did well, though was beaten right at the start of extra time by Alessandro Patias only for Katata to quickly level after a fine move.

So it went to penalties, and after both teams converted their first two efforts, Rafael Henmi's kick was diverted on to the woodwork by Slemzin and Robinho coolly converted to sent Ugra into Sunday's decider

Key player:  Andrei Afanasyev (Ugra)
A 2008 winner and 2009 runner-up with Sinara Ekaterinburg, Afanasyev was an assured presence for Ugra in a tumultuous game, not least with his cool finish just 11 seconds after Benfica had got back to 2-2. Not a bad time to get your first European goal.

Alessandro Patias makes it 2-2 for Benfica
Alessandro Patias makes it 2-2 for Benfica©Sportsfile

Both teams showed heart
In football, they say you are at your most vulnerable when you've just scored. In futsal, that is no empty cliche; there were three goals in the space of three minutes here, as Ugra went 2-1 up, were hauled back to 2-2 and then took a 3-2 lead. It shows just how quickly this sport can change with a flurry of goals.

Ugra have the quality to win
Russian clubs have lost on six of their eight final appearances, and their national team has a similar record in UEFA Futsal EURO deciders. Still, the likes of Vladislav Shayakhmetov and Afanasyev were part of the last Russian success in 2008 and despite the blow of captain Kupatadze's suspension, Slemzin stepped up well when brought on. A team with the quality of Dmitri Lyskov, Robinho, Afanasyev and Katata, among several others, will cause any opponents problems.

Andrei Afanasyev receives his man of the match award
Andrei Afanasyev receives his man of the match award©Sportsfile

Robinho, Ugra player

It was a tight, fiercely contested game from start to finish against an excellent Benfica team, with a lot of quality and determination. Benfica went in front, we managed to level early in the second half and then we had a player sent off - but the way we managed to overcome that period [with a man down] without conceding gave the team a real lift.

That gave us 100% belief that we would win the game. We were able to always stay ahead on the scoreline and though it was tough to concede a late equaliser [in normal time], in the Russian league the halves are 25 minutes each so we're used to playing those extra minutes. We were able to keep a cool head despite going behind and then fortune smiled on us in the penalties.

Kaká, Ugra coach
I think the key [to winning such a tight game] was our emotional strength. Emotionally we put that bit extra into the game. Ours is a team that, as well as having huge technical ability, has a lot of heart too. In the first half we paid a bit for our lack of experience, the responsibility was weighing us down, but in the second half we were more relaxed, more 'in' the game, and believed more in our chances of winning.

Kaká salutes the Ugra fans
Kaká salutes the Ugra fans©Sportsfile

But of course when it goes to penalties it could go either way, and this was a great game which either team could have won. He [suspended captain and goalkeeper Zviad Kupatadze] will be a big loss for us in the final, but these things happen a lot in final tournaments: players that maybe weren't regulars before come in and make the difference, like our second keeper [Sergei Slemzin] and another player who'd not played many minutes [Ivan Signev] did when making it 2-2.

Joel Rocha, Benfica coach
That was a great game of futsal, between two great teams. It was a very even match and I'm very proud of the way my team played. It hurts to have lost, and we can't quite believe how it happened. We want to get the right result on Sunday [for third place] and we're going to work very, very hard to get back to this tournament next season. The way we reacted to adversity today shows the character, the courage and the love of competing that this team has.

Before we came, we wanted to honour the reputation has around the world, and we did that from start to finish. The support we had from the stands was fantastic too – that's what Benfica is all about. I'd like to say thank you to them and hope they'll be back on Sunday too, as we'll need them.