MINSK, 21 November (BelTA) - The Futsal Champions League elite round kicked off at the Minsk Sport Center Uruchye on 20 November, BelTA has learned.
The Belarusian champion Stalitsa Minsk opened against Ukraine's Kherson in Group D to lose 1-2. The visitors got on the scoreboard late in the first half and extended the advantage after the break. Three minutes before the final hooter Vladimir Zhigalko scored one for Belarus.
Barca edged Sparta Praha 2-1 in the second match of the day.
Stalitsa Minsk will next face Sparta Praha on 21 November and take on Barca on 23 November. This season the Minskers have already hosted the Champions League matches. In mid October Evgeny Osintsev's team placed first in preliminary round Group 7, defeating Hovocubo (the Netherlands) 9-1, Toulon Elite (France) 3-1, and Liburni (Kosovo) 1-1.
The other elite groups:
Group A: KPRF (Russia, hosts), Dobovec (Slovenia), Halle-Gooik (Belgium), Mostar SG (Bosnia and Herzegovina);
Group B: Tyumen (Russia, hosts), Sporting CP (Portugal, holders), Novo Vrijeme (Croatia), Ayat (Kazakhstan);
Group C: Kairat Almaty (Kazakhstan, hosts), Benfica (Portugal), Pesaro (Italy), Murcia FS (Spain).
The four winners of the elite round mini-tournaments play the semifinals in single-leg knockout matches. Belarus has never reached the finals before. Sporting CP is the defending champion that defeated Kairat Almaty 2-1 in the final.
Photos by Sergei Sheleg