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UEFA Futsal Champions League elite round: Anderlecht, Benfica, Palma, Sporting into finals

Anderlecht pipped holders Barça to reach their first finals and debutants Mallorca Palma Futsal are also through along with Benfica and Sporting CP.

Sporting CP are in the finals again
Sporting CP are in the finals again ©Sporting Clube de Portugal

Benfica, Mallorca Palma Futsal, Sporting Anderlecht Futsal and Sporting CP are through to the UEFA Futsal Champions League finals after topping their elite round groups, with holders Barça eliminated narrowly on goal difference by the Belgian side.

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


Elite round groups

Sporting beat both Loznica-Grad and Uragan 4-2 to lead the group with a game to go. But they were not through yet as their Saturday opponents Città di Eboli beat the Serbian champions 2-0 to bounce back from losing to Uragan. In the crucial final game, Sporting beat the Italian side 5-0 to book another finals slot.

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, who drew with Dobovec in Thursday's early game. Palma then defeated Novo Vrijeme 2-1 in their final match, with Piast overcoming Dobovec to finish second.

Both opening games were drawn as Benfica recorded a 3-3 result with Chrudim and Luxol, the first Maltese side to reach the elite round, held two-time champions Kairat 0-0. Benfica followed up by downing Luxol 6-0 and Chrudim edged Kairat 2-1, having lost all five previous elite round meetings with former winners. On Saturday, Chrudim drew 2-2 with Luxol, meaning Benfica's 2-1 defeat of Kairat sealed the group.

Barça and Anderlecht both won their openers and then played out an exciting 5-5 draw. Anderlecht had trailed 5-2, but a last-minute equaliser from former Benfica player Fits ended the holders' 12-game European winning run. As for Pula, they overcame United Galati 5-2, before their hopes ended when Anderlecht defeated the Romanian champions.

That left Barça needing to beat Pula by six goals to pip Anderlecht, only for the holders to fall agonisingly short with a 7-2 victory. That signalled the end of Barça's title defence and their first failure to reach the finals in their ten entries – while Anderlecht, who rebranded from Halle-Gooik in the summer, are now set for a last-four debut.

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)