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UEFA Futsal Cup finalists: in depth

Published: Wednesday 26 April 2017, 17.40CET
The finals take place in Almaty on Friday and Sunday, and we profile the four teams going for glory: holders Ugra Yugorsk, Sporting CP, three-time winners Inter FS and hosts Kairat Almaty.
by Paul Saffer
from Almaty
UEFA Futsal Cup finalists: in depth
Can Ugra retain the title ©Sportsfile

Photos

  • Ricardinho (Inter FS)
  • Mario Rivillos (Inter FS)
  • Mario Rivillos (Inter FS)
  • Mario Rivillos (Inter FS)
 
Published: Wednesday 26 April 2017, 17.40CET

UEFA Futsal Cup finalists: in depth

The finals take place in Almaty on Friday and Sunday, and we profile the four teams going for glory: holders Ugra Yugorsk, Sporting CP, three-time winners Inter FS and hosts Kairat Almaty.

Finals schedule: Almaty Arena
Semi-finals: Friday 28 April
Ugra Yugorsk (RUS, holders) v Sporting CP (POR): 14:00CEST (18:00 local time)
Inter FS (ESP) v Kairat Almaty (KAZ, hosts): 16:30CEST (20:30 local time)

Finals day: Sunday 30 April
Third-place play-off: 13:00CEST (17:00 local time)
Final: 15:30CEST (19:30 local time)

  • Ugra are defending the trophy they won on their debut last year
  • Sporting are hoping to emulate Benfica, who won Portugal's only title in 2010
  • Inter are aiming to increase their record tally of three titles
  • Hosts Kairat are seeking to match Inter's total of three crowns

UGRA v SPORTING CP

Watch Ugra beat Inter in 2016 final thriller

Ugra Yugorsk (RUS)
Finals appearances since 2007
: 1 (2016)
Best performance: winners (2016)

Elite round: Hamburg Panthers 4-0, Araz Naxçivan 4-0, Nacional Zagreb 5-1 (Group B winners)

Top scorer: Eder Lima 3
Key players: Vladislav Shayakhmetov, Caio, Eder Lima
Domestic: Russian regular season leaders

• The team from the central Russian city claimed their first league title in 2015 with victory against Dynamo to earn a European debut, and after ousting holders Kairat in the elite round they triumphed in the final against Inter in Guadalajara. The only one of their 11 European fixtures that they have not won was last season's semi-final against Benfica, where they needed penalties, and they have scored 65 goals in those games, including 16 for Russian international Eder Lima.

How Sporting claimed 2015 bronze

Sporting CP (POR)
Finals appearances since 2007: 3 (2011, 2012, 2015)
Best performance: runners-up 2011

Main round: Centar Sarajevo 7-1, Halle-Gooikj 5-1, Real Rieti 4-0 (Group 5 winners)
Elite round:
 Győr 4-1, City'US Târgu Mureş 16-1, FC Dynamo 3-3  (Group D winners)

Top scorer: Diogo 8
Key players: Alex Merlim, Diogo, Fortino
Domestic: Portuguese regular season winners

• The only club to reach the finals having not received a seeding bye to the elite round, Sporting once again profited from home advantage at that latter stage. It was at the same Pavilhão Multiusos Odivelas that they had beaten Murcia in 2010/11 and Inter in 2014/15, not to mention come back from three down to draw 5-5 with Iberia Star Tbilisi in 2011/12. This time, it was FC Dynamo whom Sporting held in their elite round decider at Odivelas to go through on goal difference, and now they have another chance to emulate Lisbon neighbours Benfica's 2010 success.

INTER v KAIRAT

Watch Inter reach the 2016 final

Inter FS (ESP)
Finals appearances since 2007
: 4 (2007, 2009, 2010, 2016)
Best performance: winners 2004, 2006, 2009

Elite round: EP Chrudim 2-0, Ekonomac Kragujavec 8-1, Brezje Maribor 3-1 (Group C winners)

Top scorers: Borja, David Pazon, Pola, Ricardinho 2
Key players: Ortiz, Ricardinho, Pola
Domestic: Spanish regular season winners

• The sole three-time European champions, Inter lost to Dynamo in the last minute of the decider in the first modern four-team final tournament of 2007. They have since featured in three finals, winning in 2009 but succumbing to Benfica a year later and Ugra last term. The Spaniards are now back level with Dynamo on a record six final-match appearances. They have strengthened this season with Brazilian Bruno Taffy while Ricardinho's star continues to rise. They topped the Spanish regular season table for a record fourth year in a row.

Watch Kairat beat Barcelona for 2015 title

Kairat Almaty (KAZ)
Finals appearances since 2007
: 6 (2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015)
Best performance: winners 2013, 2015

Elite round: Real Rieti 3-2, Feniks 6-0, Nikars Riga 4-1 (Group A winners)

Top scorer: Divanei 7
Key players: Higuita, Divanei, Douglas
Domestic: Kazakhstan champions

• Eliminated by Ugra in the elite round last year, Kairat are in the semi-finals for the seventh time since 2006 (and eighth overall). Much of the team are familiar from past victories, as well as Kazakhstan's debut run to the UEFA Futsal EURO 2016 semi-finals, with both squads having been coached by Cacau. Goalkeeper Higuita's ability to play outfield gives the Almaty side a unique edge and they recently won their 14th straight Kazakhstan title.

Last updated: 26/04/17 18.08CET

Related information

http://www.uefa.com/futsalcup/news/newsid=2459200.html#uefa+futsal+cup+finalists+depth