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FCB Alusport-Araz (2-2). PHOTO: ÀLEX CAPARRÓS-FCB.

Barça’s futsal team has secured its first berth in the UEFA Final Four Futsal Cup. After beating Era Pack 6-0 and scoring another four on Eindhoven, the team only needed a draw against Araz to secure top spot in their Elite Round group. In the Palau, with Sandro Rosell watching, Barça ensured their passage to the next round by drawing against Araz.

History repeats itself

The third game of the Elite Round started off much like the previous two, with Barça Alusport playing an offensive style against a rather conservative Araz. Most of the play was concentrated on the visitor’s end of the court as Araz shamelessly ceded complete control to the Azulgranas. Carmona’s men pressured high and passed the ball with speed, they tried to breakdown Araz’s defence with exterior shots but were stalled from the get go.

Two goals and an inconvenient scare

It wasn’t until the tenth minute of the match that Barça was able to score. Gabriel won back the ball and quickly laid it off to Wilde, who was unforgiving with his shot. A short time after, Lozano managed to score Barça’s second when his shot when through the keeper’s legs. Cristian, once again pivotal for his team, allowed Barça to play at will, but ex-Barça manager Alessio spurred his team to fight back and score a goal with eight seconds to go before the break. Both teams retired to the dressing room at the half with 2-1 on the scoreboard.

Surprising draw

The goal in the final seconds of the first half put Barça on high alert. The Azulgranas knew that they had to maintain their concentration throughout the second half. Barça tried to optimize their opportunities but were unable to capitalize. Ari Santos, almost scored Barça’s third but his shot went wide. Araz, on the other hand, bided their time and defended well. With five minutes to go, the Azerbaijanis struck back and tied the game through Amadeu.

Nervous final minutes

The final minutes were wrought with tension. The Palau, Barça’s sixth man, rushed to aid Barça Alusport to hold the draw. The cheering Palau picked up the slack from a tired and nervous Barça Alusport. Araz put everything on the line when they introduced a player-keeper. But Barça held. At the end, the Clués with a draw, ensured a spot in their first ever UEFA Final Four.

Match Stats

FCB, 2
ARAZ, 2

FCB: Cristian, Torras, Gabriel, Javi Rodríguez, Lozano, Sedano, Ari Santos, Fernandão, Lin, Saad, Tolrà i Wilde.

Araz: Tveryankin, Felipe, Tota, Farzaliyev, Borisov, Salyanski, Fuste, Farajzade, Thiago, Dantas, Mammadkarimov and Amadeu.

GOALS: 1-0, Wilde, min 10; 2-0, Lozano, min 15; 2-1, Farajzade, min 19, and 2-2, Amadeu, min 35.

Attendance: 3.184 espectadors.

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