Monday, 27 April 2015|
Kairat Almaty have won the UEFA Futsal Cup for the second time in three years after defeating holders FC Barcelona in a tense final in Lisbon.
The much-anticipated decider got off to a captivating start as Wilde immediately had a chance for Barcelona, forcing Douglas to clear his shot from a tight angle. The Sporting Clube de Portugal fans, who had just watched their team claim bronze, were backing Kairat and their former player Divanei – who took to the mic before the game – but the Barcelona supporters were loud and their team were on top early, keeping forward-running Higuita back in his goal.
The Kairat goalkeeper did finally get to advance and, with his side's trademark five v four up and running, he smashed a strong shot onto the woodwork. At the other end, Bateria did similarly following Wilde's free-kick. Douglas nearly took the Barcelona goal off its moorings when he blasted onto the crossbar, and Lin kept up the frenetic pace by hitting the inside of the Kairat post.
Barcelona were boosted when injury concern Sergio Lozano took to the pitch, but Kairat went close once again when Joan's shot was superbly hooked off the line by Gabriel, playing his record seventh final. The Kazakh champions were not to be denied and they took the lead late in the first half, Humberto finishing off a fine move following Leo's pass.
Bateria so nearly equalised, but Douglas produced a goalline clearance to match Gabriel's. And then it was two as Divanei delighted the locals by acrobatically volleying in a Leo cross.
The holders tore into Kairat at the start of the second half, but Cacau's men were soon pushing again, Igor and Lukaian forcing saves from Paco Sedano. Higuita turned Lin's effort just past the post, yet the goalkeeper was beaten in the 30th minute when Wilde played a free-kick square and Saad's shot squeezed in under the No2's dive.
Almost immediately afterwards, however, Lozano was sent off for a sliding foul on Mikhail Pershin. The extra man was made to count when Igor turned in Divanei's pass, but 24 seconds later Lin pulled it back to 3-2. Sedano then somehow denied Lukaian from point-blank range, with Kairat not sitting on that slender advantage
There was a blow to Barcelona in the closing minutes as Wilde left the pitch on a stretcher and they just could not force the equaliser, Higuita making the last save from Bateria ten seconds before time.