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Coaches ready for Futsal Champions League finals

We hear from the four coaches after Benfica drew Palma and Barça were paired with Sporting CP.

Jesús Velasco's Barça and Nuno Dias's Sporting previously faced off in the 2022 final in Riga
Jesús Velasco's Barça and Nuno Dias's Sporting previously faced off in the 2022 final in Riga SPORTSFILE

Benfica will play holders Mallorca Palma Futsal and Barça are to take on Sporting CP in the UEFA Futsal Champions League semi-finals on 3 May at Yerevan's Demirchyan Arena SCC after the draw was made in the Armenian capital.

We hear from the four coaches as they prepare to go for the title.

Finals schedule

Friday 3 May

Benfica vs Mallorca Palma Futsal (16:00)
Barça vs Sporting CP (19:00)

Sunday 5 May

Third-place play-off:
Barça / Sporting CP vs Benfica / Palma (15:00)
Barça / Sporting CP vs Benfica / Palma (18:00)

All kick-off times CET; local time is two hours ahead

Semi-final guide

Benfica vs Mallorca Palma Futsal

Mário Silva, Benfica coach: "It is more attractive to have two Portuguese-Spanish clashes, which could allow the final of the best club competition in the world to be contested by two Portuguese teams for the first time. Regardless of that, our opponents just happen to be the reigning European champions and are even stronger this year. They have some former Benfica players who, as well as knowing us well, also bring a different identity to Palma, a different experience and knowledge of this type of competition.

"They're a very dynamic team, with players of above-average individual quality and very high levels of confidence because they're going to defend the title and come prepared. But we will have the comfort and confidence to achieve the result we want, first to reach the final and then to win the competition."

2023 semi-final highlights: Palma 4-3 Benfica

Antonio Vadillo, Palma coach: "Same opponents as last season [when then-hosts Palma beat Benfica 4-3 in the semi-finals]. The tie is evenly matched, well balanced and above all, exciting. Exciting because it's worth noting that reaching the UEFA Futsal Champions League finals is not easy. Doing it two years in a row is very difficult. We had a 33% chance of drawing Benfica, and we've drawn them.

"We will prepare as best as possible. It's a competition we enjoy, we feel comfortable in. This time, unfortunately, we won't have the support of our fans like in Palma, in our home. Of course, family members and part of the fanbase will come, and they will for sure help us."

Meet the finalists

Barça vs Sporting CP

Jesús Velasco, Barça coach: "We knew that any opponents would be challenging. Sporting are definitely the most competitive team, playing with a lot of intensity, fighting for every ball. They never give up on anything.

"This extends to the other three teams as well. We have experience playing these types of matches. We know what our strengths are and from there, let's see how we approach this crucial game."

2022 final highlights: Barça 4-0 Sporting CP

Nuno Dias, Sporting coach: "Any of the opponents would cause many difficulties, we are in the presence of three European champions – four counting Sporting CP – all of them used to this stage. Palma Futsal maybe less so, but they are the current European champions."

"Barça are a team full of talent, they need no introduction. They have great collective quality and many players who can decide a match individually, take over the game, and are very strong in one-on-one situations. Despite the injuries and adversities they have suffered, they remain clear in the Spanish league and that speaks volumes of their power. By the time we reach May, they will certainly have recovered from all their setbacks and will be stronger."

2021 final highlights: Barça 3-4 Sporting CP
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