A different playoff format this year is expected to give some advantage for dark horse teams.
The Primera Division of the Liga Nacional de Futbol Sala (LNFS) will start the playoffs tonight, Tuesday (6/23), at Jose Maria Martin Carpena in Malaga. However, there will be many changes from previous seasons.
This season, LNFS had to stop at week 23 because of the corona pandemic. The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) also decided to stop the regular season, and allowed the playoffs only to be held with strict health protocols.
Usually, LNFS playoffs use the best of three system in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, and the best of five in the final. However, this time all matches up to the final will be held in a single match format, and completed within a week.
This format will allow for a number of surprises. One small mistake will make a big impact on the whole match. Moreover, the players also have not returned to the best conditions, because they just started training together since two weeks ago.
Alan Brandi Cuasnicu, the mainstay flank of Jaen Paraiso, hopes his team will be able to play more discipline when facing the spanish giant Inter Movistar tonight. The 32-year-old also hopes Los Lagartos players will be able to play with confidence.
“We need to be a competitive team, stay concentrated and believe in ourselves. I thin the key will be don’t make any mistake, because the physical condition won’t be at best with two or three weeks train,” said the player who won the 2016 World Cup with Argentina.
“We’ve trained for two weeks. That is insufficient, but we have no choice.
Jaen ended the 2019/20 regular season in eighth. They collected 33 points from 23 matches. After the last two seasons eliminated in the semi-finals, they certainly hope to go further this time.
To achieve this, Alan understands that Jaen must be able to continue to play in full of energy , despite playing in an empty stadium.
“Playing in an empty stadium will be strange. For us, this will be worse, because we are accustomed to play with great support. However, we need to accept this situation, and try to do our best.” concluded the former Benfica player.
Another team that will try to make a surprise is Levante UD. The Valencia based team finished seventh in the regular season and will compete in the playoffs for the second time in the club’s history.
Cecilio Morales Barbado, Levante’s flank, is also grateful that the playoffs can continue. However, he also stressed that the safety of the players remains a top priority.
“This is a good time to play, but the players need a good security to be able to play and enjoy [the match],” the 27-year-old said.
“I think it is a good idea for LNFS to restart [the league], because the teams need to finish the season to prepare for next season.”
Inter match against Jaen will be the opening playoff tonight (23/6), and followed by a match between Barcelona and Levante. Meanwhile, tomorrow (24/6) there will be a duel between Vina Albali Valdepenas and Osasuna Magna, and Elpozo Murcia with Palma Futsal.
The winners will return to compete in the semifinals on June 27, while the final will be held on June 30.