Araz take aim at Interviú
23 april 2010 17:20
With his team preparing a UEFA Futsal Cup semi-final against defending champions Interviú Madrid, Araz Naxçivan coach Alesio believes he has spotted chinks in the Green Machine's armour which he hopes his side can exploit.
The Azerbaijani Premier League leaders have been the dominant force on their domestic front for some time now yet Alesio told UEFA.com he is expecting a different class of opponent when his charges file out against Spanish giants Interviú at the Pavilhão Atlântico. "Of course it will be a really tough game but we've got a plan in place in order to surprise those who think the outcome will be a foregone conclusion," he said. "Having said that, we expect our opponents to set the pace and that will create difficulties for us."
A former Brazil futsal star, Alesio's reputation as a coach has been steadily growing and the 41-year-old is keen to produce as big a surprise in Lisbon this week as he did when leading Azerbaijan to the semi-finals of January's UEFA European Futsal Championship in Hungary. "People might think that we are just happy to be here but I don't feel that," he explained. "We're going up against the best teams at this tournament; against the European champions – but you know what? The favourites don't always win and that's what I've been telling my players every day."
Although Interviú have been enduring indifferent form at home, they arrive in the Portuguese capital heavily tipped to lift their fourth UEFA Futsal Cup title, yet doing so requires the Spanish side to firstly see off the challenge of an Araz outfit confident of springing an upset. "We've been monitoring the games they've lost in their domestic championship and – OK, they will be here with a different mentality – but we've seen some things," Alesio said. "Now let's play and see what happens.
Meanwhile, Interviú coach Jesús Candelas cut a calm figure as he discussed this year's tournament alongside his coaching counterparts in Lisbon.
Speaking to UEFA.com afterwards he conceded he was preparing to learn about Friday's opponents out on the playing surface. "You can have all the videos in the world about a certain rival; you can do intense scouting and find all the statistics you need, but until you actually play against a team you won't know what you're up against," he said.
Explaining that the atmosphere within his squad was "as it should be ahead of tournament of this stature", Candelas said the Spanish team's winning experience will play an important role in the semi-final. "We must keep our concentration as we are playing in a do-or-die situation which is what a play-off is, but our players realise they are creating history with this club so that shouldn't be a problem."