Saturday 26 November 2022
Anderlecht pipped holders Barça to reach their first finals and debutants Mallorca Palma Futsal are also through along with Benfica and Sporting CP.
Benfica, Mallorca Palma Futsal, Sporting Anderlecht Futsal and Sporting CP are into 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.
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 but 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 defeated Novo Vrijeme 2-1 in their final match with Piast overcoming Dobovec to finish second.
Both opening games were drawn as Benfica ended 3-3 against Chrudim and Luxol, the first Maltese side to reach the elite round, held two-time champions Kairat 0-0. 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). On Saturday, Chrudim drew 2-2 with Luxol, meaning Benfica’s 2-1 defeat of Kairat sealed the group.
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 but home hopes ended when Anderlecht defeated the Romanian champions. That left Barça needing to beat Pula by six goals to pip Anderlecht but the holders fell agonisingly short with a 7-2 victory. Barça’s title defence is over after failing to make the finals for the first time in their ten entries while Anderlecht, who rebranded from Halle-Gooik in the summer, will make a last four debut.
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)
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