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UEFA Futsal Champions League final preview: Palma vs Sporting CP

Hosts Mallorca Palma Futsal face two-time champions Sporting CP in Sunday's final.

(From left) Palma captain Carlos Barrón and coach Atonio Vadillo with Sporting coach Nuno Dias and captain João Matos
(From left) Palma captain Carlos Barrón and coach Atonio Vadillo with Sporting coach Nuno Dias and captain João Matos UEFA via Sportsfile

UEFA Futsal Champions League finals hosts Mallorca Palma Futsal face two-time champions Sporting CP in Sunday's final at Velòdrom Illes Balears-Mallorca.

Futsal Champions League final at a glance

When: 20:00 CET, Sunday
: Velòdrom Illes Balears-Mallorca
: UEFA Futsal Champions League final
How to follow: Build-up and live coverage can be found here 
Where to watch: See the list of broadcasters, or watch live on UEFA.tv in most territories.
Third place match: Benfica vs Sporting Anderlecht Futsal (17:00 CET)

Watch highlights

The lowdown

Palma are making their European debut this season and are yet to win a major trophy even domestically. But nor had Ekaterinburg before their 2007/08 triumph, and Palma have certainly proved their worth even before Friday's epic 4-3 defeat of Benfica in front of a delighted home crowd.

In the main round they drew with, and finished above, former champions Kairat Almaty and eventual semi-finalists Sporting Anderlecht Futsal, having recovered from a disastrous start to defeat Sporting Paris in an extraordinary opener. Palma then topped their elite round group down the road at Son Moix with a game to spare, ensuring the chance to keep up Spain's dominant record in this competition.

Their experienced squad includes Mario Rivillos, a former final nemesis of Sporting, and the prolific Hossein Tayebi, who Palma hope to have fit after he was injured scoring the second of his two goals in the semis.

Hghlights: Palma 4-3 Benfica

Sporting, now such a fixture at this stage of the competition, have the core of the squad (and the coach Nuno Dias) who tasted victory in 2019 and 2021. They have won all seven games on their way here, including defeating Anderlecht 7-1 on Friday in a semi-final they led 5-0 before the seven-minute mark.

Sporting have a team of serial winners, and João Matos, Erick, Pauleta, Tomás Paço, Zicky and Pany Varela have all been so crucial to the Portuguese national team's recent clean sweep of continental and world titles. Not only that, but Alex Merlim's semi-final goal means that all 12 of their outfielders have scored in the competition this season.

Highlights: Sporting CP 7-1 Anderlecht

Views from the camps

Antonio Vadillo, Palma coach: "Playing at home is a big advantage. We have worked hard and have a great chance. We've had a day to recover from the semi-final. My players will give 120% and hopefully it will go well. I've told my players, 'We have to win, that our opponents are very good and win a lot, so we have to match them'. We know it will be difficult but we're capable. I'm hoping for the match of my life."

Marlon, Palma player: "This is a great challenge. But I feel we've prepared well, we'll give our all and we have a great chance with all the hard work we've done. I think, physically, it will be a similar challenge to the Benfica game. And as we showed in that match, we're up to it."

The winner's medal
The winner's medalUEFA via Sportsfile

Nuno Dias, Sporting CP coach: "I know Palma very well. I am a close friend of their coach and director, and I like the way the play. They're strong in all phases of the game and their goalkeeper is a very important part of their attacking play.

[On facing the home crowd in the final] "I think back to when we won in Almaty with [nearly 12,000] people in the stands [in 2019]. We also won the Champions League behind closed doors [in 2021], so I don’t think that’s a factor."

João Matos, Sporting CP captain: "We, as always, are focused and believe in our qualities, We know Palma’s strong points, too. I sleep peacefully even though I know the importance of the match; at the end of the day it’s only a futsal match. My experience helps. We haven't had much time to prepare for Palma but we watched the semi-final and we have identified points where we can improve and where we can harm them."

2019: Sporting beat hosts Kairat in Almaty
Think Fast: UEFA futsal documentary

Key stats

  • Sporting, winners in 2019 and 2021, could become the first team from outside Spain to claim three titles.
  • It is Sporting's seventh final, a feat second only Inter FS (8).
  • Sporting are the first team to reach six finals in seven years. Since the tournament became the Futsal Champions League in 2018/19, they have missed only one final.
  • Sporting have reached three straight finals, matching the record they previously equalled between 2017 and 2019, and shared with FC Dynamo (2005, 2006, 2007 and 2012, 2013, 2014), Inter (2016, 2017, 2018) and Barça (2020, 2021, 2022).
  • Sporting have previously played Spanish teams in four finals, losing to Inter in 2017 and 2018, beating Barça in 2021 before defeat by the same club last season.
  • Not counting the inaugural 2001/02 season, Parma are the fifth club to reach the final on debut. All four previous teams – Ekaterinburg (2008), Montesilvano (2011, beating Sporting), Barça (2012) and Ugra (2016) – won the trophy.
  • Since the current format with a four-team finals was introduced in 2006/07, hosts have previously won (Benfica in 2010, and Barça in 2012 and 2020. In 2018, Inter took the title (beating Sporting in the final) Sporting are the first team to reach five finals in six seasons and would be the first to win three titles in four years.
  • Sporting's Nuno Dias hopes to equal Jesús Velasco in winning three titles as coach. Dias would be the first to do so with a single club as Velasco won twice with Inter and once with Barça (each time beating Dias's Sporting, in 2017, 2018 and 2022).
  • Dias will coach his 15th finals game in his seventh final tournament and his sixth final, all outright records.
  • Sporting captain João Matos will play his 19th finals game and seventh separate final (some players have played eight final matches, including both legs under the pre-2007 format). Matos became the first player to 75 competition appearances in the semi-final.
  • Sporting's Guitta, Erick, Pany Varela, João Matos, Alex Merlim and Diego Cavinato are all aiming to win their third titles with Sporting. Zicky, Tomás Paço, Pauleta and back-up keeper Bernardo Paço also remain from the 14 that took part in the 2021 final defeat of Barça in Zadar.
  • Palma's Mario Rivillos scored twice when Inter beat Sporting 7-0 in the 2017 final. He was also in Barça's 2019/20 winning squad but left before the finals, which were delayed to October due to COVID.
Mario Rivillos vs Sporting CP

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