For crack Brazilian outfit Malwee/Jaragua, their dream of conquering the Intercontinental Futsal Cup has turned into something of a recurring nightmare. For the third consecutive year, the South Americans took on Boomerang Interviu in the final of the prestigious competition and, just as in the two previous editions, the Spaniards emerged victorious.
There was to be no third-time-lucky for Malwee/Jaragua as the Madrid-based powerhouses strode to a 3-1 victory and a third successive Incontinental title. To further underline their dominance, Boomerang walked away with the pick of the individual honours, with the tournament's best player and best goalkeeper awards going to Schumacher and Luis Amado respectively.
The fourth edition of the elite competition was held in the Portimao Arena in the Portuguese city of Portimao, between 3 and 8 April 2007. Also taking part were Malwee's fellow Brazilians Carlos Barbosa, winners of the first edition of the tournament, Portuguese sides Sporting and Benfica, Japan's Nagoya Oceans, World United from the USA and Angolan outfit Toyota.
The stuff of champions
So, what is the secret behind the Spaniards' success? "We still get excited about winning titles and that's extremely important," explains flying winger Marquinho. "It's a real pleasure playing for such an ambitious side, and winning a trophy like this is no mean feat. It's a long and difficult road to get here, because first you have to win the league and then the European Cup."
In the grand final it was Malwee/Jaragua who opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, only for Boomerang Interviu to level seconds later through Marquinho, swiftly followed by goals from Neto (26') and Brazilian maestro Schumacher (28'). "We didn't deserve to go a goal down because we created a host of scoring opportunities, especially in the first period," says the man who grabbed Boomerang's vital equaliser. "But we levelled the match straight away and took control of the game, which helped us edge in front on the scoreboard. The third goal took the wind out of their sails and tiredness got the better of them."
As a result, confidence in the Boomerang Interviu camp is sure to be sky-high ahead of the club's next challenge: the semi-finals of the UEFA Futsal Cup. The Madrid side face their countrymen ElPozo Murcia, who will be hosting the Final Four phase of the tournament, for a place in the Final, with Belgium's Action 21 Charleroi going head-to-head with Dinamo Moscow of Russia in the other semi.
More disappointment for Malwee
The dejection on the faces of the Malwee/Jaragua players was there for all to see after yet another final defeat. Star man Falcao felt this latest reverse had a logical explanation: "We didn't have time to use the lead to our advantage as they scored immediately after we'd gone ahead. It's a shame but I hope we can learn from our mistakes."
Coach Fernando Ferretti, meanwhile, refused to dwell on what might have been: "We lost against a better team, but we performed well and are going to work hard to try and win the title next year."
Stealing in to take the final podium spot were Lisbon giants Sporting, winners over eternal rivals Benfica in the play-off for third place. In a thrilling encounter, Sporting twice went behind to their near neighbours before hitting three goals in seven minutes to seal a 4-2 success. "We deserve this prize for all the effort we've put in," said Deo, Man of the Match against the Encarnados. "Having lost narrowly against Boomerang in the semi-final, we swore we'd take third place, and it feels really satisfying to have done just that," concluded the Leões' star performer after the game.
Group A - Standings
1. Boomerang Interviu 7 (+8)
2. SL Benfica 6 (+9)
3. Carlos Barbosa 4 (-1)
4. Nagoya Oceans 0 (-16).
Boomerang Interviu 8-1 Nagoya Oceans
SL Benfica 6-1 Carlos Barbosa
Carlos Barbosa 2-2 Boomerang Interviu
Nagoya Oceans 0-5 SL Benfica
Carlos Barbosa 4-0 Nagoya Oceans
SL Benfica 2-3 Boomerang Interviu
Group B - Standings
1. Malwee/Jaragua 9 (+17)
2. Sporting CP 6 (+10)
3. World United 3 (-9)
4. Toyota 0 (-18)
Toyota 1-9 Malwee/Jaragua
Sporting CP 9-1 World United
World United 4-10 Malwee/Jaragua
Sporting CP 6-1 Toyota
Sporting CP 1-4 Malwee/Jaragua
World United 6-1 Toyota
Malwee/Jaragua 6-2 SL Benfica
Boomerang Interviu 3-1 Sporting CP
Play-off for 7th place
Nagoya Oceans 6-2 Toyota
Play-off for 5th place
Carlos Barbosa 9-4 World United
Play-off for 3rd place
SL Benfica 2-4 Sporting CP
Malwee/Jaragua 1-3 Boomerang Interviu