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UEFA Futsal Cup final preview: Sporting CP v Inter

Can record three-time winners Inter FS triumph in their seventh final or will Sporting CP emulate Benfica in 2010 by beating the Spanish giants? The lowdown on Sunday's Almaty decider.

Jesús Velasco and Nuno Dias pose outside Almaty Arena with the trophy
Jesús Velasco and Nuno Dias pose outside Almaty Arena with the trophy ©Sportsfile

What you need to know
• Inter FS are in a record seventh final, overtaking FC Dynamo. The Madrid-based club won the trophy in 2004, 2006 and 2009 (the only three-time champions) but were runners-up in 2007, 2010 and 2016.

• Ortiz and Jesús Herrero remain from Inter's triumphant 2009 squad while Ricardinho played against them in Benfica's final win the following year.

• An Inter win would give Spain their eighth victory in 16 UEFA Futsal Cup editions.

• Sporting CP are in their second final, having previously made this stage in 2011 when Almaty was also the host city. They lost 5-2 to Città di Montesilvano.

• The only other previous Portuguese finalists were Benfica, who beat Inter in 2010 in Lisbon but lost to the same team over two legs in 2004.

• Ricardinho is familiar with Sporting from his time with Benfica between 2003 and 2010, and again in 2011/12.

• Inter and Sporting have played twice in this competition. Sporting won 1-0 in the 2014/15 elite round in Odivelas to reach the finals while Inter triumphed 4-3 in the 2004/05 second qualifying round in Charleroi.

Highlights: Watch Sporting dethrone Ugra

How they got here

Main round: Centar Sarajevo 7-1, Halle-Gooik 5-1, Real Rieti 4-0 (Group 5 winners)
Elite round:
 Győr 4-1, City'US Târgu Mureş 16-1, FC Dynamo 3-3 (Group D winners)
Semi-final: Ugra Yugorsk 2-1

Elite round: EP Chrudim 2-0, Ekonomac Kragujavec 8-1, Brezje Maribor 3-1 (Group C winners)
Semi-final: Kairat Almaty 3-2

Highlights: Inter win thriller against hosts

What they say

Nuno Dias, Sporting coach
We are getting ready and I have to say the atmosphere in our camp is absolutely fantastic. I am pretty sure tomorrow there will be moments when Inter will be dominant but everything will depend on how well we perform as a team. Inter's style is different to Ugra's. The Russians have three very physically strong pivots, while Inter prefer to play a quicker game and players move more. As you know we played against them in the elite round [in 2014/15] but I think it will be a different story tomorrow because we are playing for the title, so you can't really compare these matches.

Jesús Velasco, Inter coach
Sporting have great technique and strategy, and the thing we know from two years ago is that we have to go to our limit to beat them. The team have high expectations, the squad have a different feeling to last year [against Ugra as hosts in Guadalajara]. I hope the experience of last year will help us in our aim to win tomorrow.

Inter won their record third title in 2009
Inter won their record third title in 2009©Sportsfile

Previous finals involving these teams

2016: Ugra Yugorsk 4-3 Inter FS (Guadalajara)
2011: Città di Montesilvano 5-2 Sporting CP (Almaty)
2010: Benfica 3-2aet Inter FS (Lisbon)
2009: Inter FS 5-1 Sinara Ekaterinburg (Ekaterinburg)
2007: FC Dynamo 2-1 Inter FS (Murcia)
2006: Inter FS 9-7agg FC Dynamo (6-3h, 3-4a)
2004: Inter FS 7-5agg Benfica (4-1h, 3-4a)

• Ricardinho played against Inter for Benfica in the 2004 and 2010 finals, as well as for the Spanish club last year against Ugra.

Third-place play-off

• Hosts Kairat and deposed champions Ugra play at 13:00CET (17:00 local time) for bronze. It is the fifth time Kairat have been involved in the third-place play-off, winning in 2009 and 2011 (also as hosts), but losing in 2008 and 2014. Russia's Ugra won the trophy on debut last season.

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