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All set for the Futsal Champions league final. From 5pm CEST today, Barça will be aiming to win their fourth European title in the Riga Arena (Barça TV and Barça TV+). The last win came in 2020 and they came mightily close last season too, when they lost 4-3 after Sporting Clube de Portugal came back to win in Zadar. Now in their third consecutive final, Barça have the chance for revenge as they face the same opponent again, this time with good omens.
Current form is clearly a plus. The epic game against Benfica saw Barça come back from 3-0 down at the break, winning 18 seconds before the end of extra-time, thus avoiding a penalty shootout.
“We were tremendous in the semi-final. And we are highly motivated to go one step further”, acknowledged Jesús Velasco, adding “Sporting have many assets to mention, their block, their competitiveness... we are aware of their qualities and have to counteract them”.
In fact, when asked about the same teams reaching the final again, he furthered, “it's no coincidence that that same teams have reached this season's final again. I am sure it's going to be a great game”.
Sporting CP won't make things easy, however, and will want to retain their European crown. In fact, they have won two of the last three titles, and have been in five of the last six Champions League finals.
"We have to forget the game in Zadar"
Jesús Velasco wasn't Barça coach at the time, but Ferrao did experience the final in Zadar. However, he is under no illusions, stating “Last year's final got away from us. People are talking about revenge, but we have to a clear head. We have to focus and forget that game”. He did acknowledge the lessons learned, however, stating “We were winning 2-0, but we switched off a bit and they were able to come back. That will help us to remember to remain focused throughout the game”.
Ferrao was a key player in the semi-final, scoring a superb goal. The score was 3-2 and with his back to goal, he received and back-heeled the ball, nutmegging a defender, with the ball ending up in the back of the net.
📁 ARCHIVO— 🏆 Barça Futbol Sala 🏆 (@FCBfutbolsala) April 30, 2022
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The Brazilian pivot was just back from several weeks out due to injury. However, when asked about his condition, he ensured that "I feel fine, 100%" and "although I would have liked to have more games under my belt for this Final Four, games like these provide all the motivation you need”. "The injury is fine now and I'll give my all on Sunday during the final", he confirmed.
As such, Barça are only missing Esquerdinha through injury, while Catela misses out due to administrative issues. Nuno Dias' team, Sporting CP, beat French side ACCS 2-6 in the other semi-final, but it may prove costly, as one of their best players, Portuguese international Pany Varela, got a red card and is suspended for the final.
What's guaranteed is a great game, both on the pitch and in the stands, with the culers' constant support coming through loud and clear in the semi-final, and may again prove vital in spurring the team on towards their fourth Champions League title.
El Barça, con la afición desplazada a Riga
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