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UEFA Futsal Champions League elite round latest: Palma into finals

Debutants Mallorca Palma Futsal are into the finals with the other three slots decided on Saturday.

The four group winners will progress to the knockout finals
The four group winners will progress to the knockout finals ©UEFA

UEFA Futsal Champions League debutants Mallorca Palma Futsal have booked their finals spot with a game to spare in the elite round with the other three groups to be decided on Saturday.

The four group winners will progress to the finals on 4/5 and 6/7 May, with the hosts to be confirmed.

Matches

Elite round groups

Group A
Contenders: Sporting CP (POR), Uragan lvano-Frankivsk (UKR), Città di Eboli (ITA, hosts), Loznica-Grad 2018 (SRB)

  • Sporting beat both Loznica-Grad and Uragan 4-2 to lead the group with a game to go. But they are not through yet as their Saturday opponents Città di Eboli beat the Serbian champions 2-0 to bounce back from losing to Uragan and give themselves a shot of pipping Sporting when they face off on Saturday.

Group B
Through to finals: Mallorca Palma Futsal (ESP, hosts)
Also in group: Piast Gliwice (POL), Novo Vrijeme Makarska (CRO), Dobovec (SVN)

  • Palma beat Dobovec 8-2 and fellow debutants Piast 5-0 to clinch first place with a game to spare. Piast had won their opener against Novo Vrijeme, whop drew with Dobovec in Thursday's early game.

Group C
Contenders: Benfica (POR), Chrudim (CZE), Kairat Almaty (KAZ, hosts), Luxol St. Andrews (MLT)

  • Benfica and Chrudim are on four points, three clear of Kairat and Luxol. Both opening games were drawn as Benfica ended 3-3 against Chrudim and Luxol-Kairat was goalless. Benfica beat Luxol 6-0 and Chrudim edged Kairat 2-1 on Thursday (having lost all five previous elite round meetings with the two-time champions) but all four teams remain in mathematical contention.

Group D
Contenders: Barça (ESP, holders), Sporting Anderlecht Futsal (BEL), Futsal Pula (CRO, hosts), United Galati (ROU)

  • Barça and Anderlecht won their openers and then played out an exciting 5-5 draw on Thursday. Anderlecht trailed 5-2 but a last-minute equaliser from former Benfica player Fits ended the holders' 12-game European winning run. Pula beat United Galati 5-2 to move to within a point of the top two; the hosts meet Barça to conclude the group after Anderlecht take on the Romanian champions.
2022 final highlights: Barça 4-0 Sporting CP

Meet the teams

  • Barça won their fourth title last season and hope to equal Inter FS's record tally of five.
  • Sporting CP lost the 2022 final but won in 2019 and 2021; they and Barça between them have shared the four titles since the 2018/19 rebranding from the UEFA Futsal Cup.
  • Kairat (2013 and 2015) and Benfica (2010) are also past champions.
  • Both Barça and Kairat hope to make the finals for a record tenth time.
  • Sporting's João Matos is the new competition record holder for player appearances, having passed the old mark of 69 held by Rizvan Farzaliyev and Lúcio in the main round.
  • Kairat are contesting their record 19th season in Europe, and have taken part in the elite round in all 16 editions that it has been a part of the competition (since 2006/07, other than 2020/21 when there was a straight knockout format throughout).
  • Kairat and Chrudim had previously been in the same elite round group five times: Kairat had won all five matches and topped the group on four of those occasions including with a dramatic comeback in Chrudim to win 5-4 in the 2007/08 mini-tournament decider and 6-5 in Serbia in 2012/13 on their way to their second title.
  • Kairat and Benfica have met four times before. Kairat won their 2020/21 quarter-final 6-2 in Croatia; Benfica won 5-3 in the 2019/20 elite round, though both teams were already out; Kairat won 5-3 on penalties to take bronze in 2010/11; and in the 2005/06 second qualifying round in Lisbon, they drew 3-3, a result that helped Kairat pip Benfica to the semi-finals.
  • Anderlecht previously entered as Halle-Gooik; they lost to Barça in last season's elite round and the 2018/19 main round.
  • Croatia have two entrants for the first time (Novo Vrijeme Makarska and Pula), and both progressed from the same main round group.
  • Città di Eboli, Loznica-Grad 2018, Mallorca Palma, Piast Gliwice and Pula are competing in their debut European seasons.
  • Luxol are the first team from Malta to reach the elite round.
  • United Galati are also in the elite round for the first time, though they did play in the one-off round of 16 in 2020/21.
  • No club from Czechia, Malta, Romania, Serbia or Ukraine have reached a final tournament under any format.
  • Croatia's only previous finalists are MNK Split, who took part in the eight-team event of the inaugural 2001/02 edition and reached the semis.
  • No team from Slovenia have reached the semis, Dobovec having played in the one-off eight-team knockout finals of 2020/21, losing in the quarter-finals.
  • Similarly, Poland's sole finalists were Clearex Chorzów, who exited in the group stage in 2001/02.
  • Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk reached the semi-finals in 2005/06, when uniquely it was played over two legs.
Contenders: How they progressed from the main round

Path A group winners: Mallorca Palma Futsal (ESP, Group 1), Sporting CP (POR, 2), Barça (ESP, 3, holders), Benfica (POR, 4)

Path A group runners-up: Sporting Anderlecht Futsal (BEL, 1), Novo Vrijeme Makarska (CRO, 2), Luxol St. Andrews (MLT, 3), Uragan lvano-Frankivsk (UKR, 4)

Path A group third place: Kairat Almaty (KAZ, 1), Futsal Pula (CRO, 2), Dobovec (SVN, 3), United Galati (ROU, 4)

Path B group winners: Loznica-Grad 2018 (SRB, 5), Piast Gliwice (POL, 6), Città di Eboli (ITA, 7), Chrudim (CZE, 8)