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Inter, Sporting join Barça, Kairat in UEFA Futsal Champions League semi-finals

Sporting CP and Inter FS won on Thursday to set up a Saturday semi-final after Barça and Kairat went through on Wednesday.

Inter celebrate their opener against Ugra
Inter celebrate their opener against Ugra UEFA via Sportsfile

Sporting CP and Inter FS won Thursday's UEFA Futsal Champions League quarter-finals to set up a Saturday last-four showdown, following on from Wednesday victors Barça and Kairat Almaty in Zadar.

A 3-0 win for Inter against Ugra Yugorsk secured the Spanish side a last-four slot against Sporting CP, who edged out the other Russian contenders KPRF. As for Kairat, they overcame Benfica in extra time before holders Barça eased past finals debutants Dobovec to earn a showdown with the team that beat them in the 2015 decider and semi-finals in 2013 and 2019.

In fact, Saturday's line-up is a replay of the 2019 semi-finals in Almaty. On that occasion, Sporting knocked out Inter before beating Kairat for the title.

Thursday

Inter FS 3-0 Ugra Yugorsk

Highlights: Inter FS 3-0 Ugra Yugorsk
Highlights: Inter FS 3-0 Ugra Yugorsk

Five-time champions Inter avenged their 2016 final defeat by Ugra in a game of small margins. Inter led late in a tight first half when Cecilio Morales pounced on a loose ball from a blocked pass.

Space for Ugra was limited but, not long into the second period, Renat Shakirov's cutback was deflected onto the Inter post. However, with just under seven minutes left, Pito teed up Lucas Trípodi to double the lead and, late on, with Ugra committed, Jesús Herrero threw long for Cecilio to head in a third.

Sporting CP 3-2 KPRF

Highlights: Sporting 3-2 KPRF
Highlights: Sporting 3-2 KPRF

Sporting struck after 94 seconds, Alex Merlim's tricky footwork creating space for him to cross and Italy team-mate Diego Cavinato to finish. KPRF then turned the game around, with Raúl Gómez providing back-heeled assists for both Artem Niyazov and Yanar Asadov – and there was still more drama to come.

Indeed, Sporting responded instantly via excellent set-piece moves as João Matos produced a back-heel of his own for Cavinato to smash in, before Vinicius Rocha struck from Alex Merlim's crossed free-kick. It was not yet half-time, but the 3-2 lead ultimately proved enough for the Portuguese outfit to progress.

Wednesday

Kairat Almaty 6-2 Benfica (aet)

Highlights: Kairat Almaty 6-2 Benfica (aet)
Highlights: Kairat Almaty 6-2 Benfica (aet)

Two-time champions Kairat booked their place in a record tenth semi-final after Dauren Tursagulov's solo goal in extra time sparked their surge to victory. Before that, the game had been tight, Kairat going ahead in the 16th minute when Gadeia robbed forward-running Benfica goalkeeper Diego Roncaglio and finished off a one-two with Fernandinho. Within seconds, Jacaré's ball was turned in by Afonso Jesus for the equaliser.

Midway through the second half, Edson won the ball in Benfica territory, swivelled and restored his team's lead. Kairat keeper Higuita was then sent off, however, and his 19-year-old replacement Narun Serikov – a late call-up who had only arrived in Zadar on Tuesday – was beaten with six minutes left, Robinho crossing for a strong Tiago Brito angled finish. That meant extra time, and a spirited response from Kairat, with Tursagulov, Gadeia, Fernandinho and Birzhan Orazov all finding the net.

Barça 2-0 Dobovec

Highlights: Barça 2-0 Dobovec
Highlights: Barça 2-0 Dobovec

Holders Barça sailed through to book themselves a showdown with Kairat. Dobovec held out well enough early on, but the newcomers had no answer midway through the first half to last year's finals MVP Ferrao's thunderous long-range volley from Marcênio's kick-in. Aicardo doubled the advantage shortly afterwards, and Barça were able to close the game out comfortably against the first-ever Slovenian club to make the finals.

Semi-finals

Saturday 1 May
Inter FS vs Sporting CP: 15.00 CET
Barça vs Kairat Almaty: 20:00 CET

Final

Monday 3 May
Barça/Kairat Almaty vs Inter FS/Sporting CP: 20:00 CET

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