Barca end Rubin hoodoo
Barcelona recorded their first-ever victory against Rubin Kazan at the fourth time of asking with a 2-0 win.
By Razwan Mirza
Last Updated: 08/12/10 3:55pm
Barcelona recorded their first-ever victory against Rubin Kazan at the fourth time of asking with a comfortable 2-0 victory in UEFA Champions League Group D.
Pep Guardiola sent out his young guns and they responded with goals from Andreu Fontas and substitute Victor Vazquez to erase the embarrassing 2-1 defeat by the Russians last season.
Rubin's consolation was a place in the last-32 of the Europa League.
Barcelona rested key stars Xavi, David Villa and Pedro, having already qualified for the knockout stages as Group D winners.
However, head coach Pep Guardiola kept Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Eric Abidal on the bench if needed with Thiago Alcantara and Andreu Fontas making their debuts.
Rubin went with their strongest possible line-up in a game which they knew they had to win.
The Russians showed little adventure in a first half of very few highlights in Catalonia.
Barcelona started the game in their customary fashion, using their excellent ball retention looking to probe for an early opening.
Thiago was the first player to threaten with an adventurous shot which flew over the crossbar.
Minutes later, Adriano showed good pace down the left before laying the ball into the path of Maxwell, who failed to keep his strike down.
Guardiola had to call on local boy Vazquez from the bench as Jeffren picked up an injury which forced him to leave the field, much to the disappointment of the crowd.
Barca stopper Jose Manuel Pinto was then called into action, saving himself a lot of embarrassment as Gokdeniz Karadeniz very nearly sneaked home his low drive from an acute angle, but the 'keeper showed a strong right hand to turn the ball away.
Rubin were relying on their experienced players and striker Karadeniz, who scored the winning goal at the Camp Nou last season, seemed to be finding his range causing problems down the left.
Just before the half hour mark the Turkish international wasted a good opportunity firing wide of goal when the unmarked Obafemi Martins was calling for a cross along the six-yard box.
Barca were soon forced into making their second change of the game as Bojan landed awkwardly after clashing with Salvatore Bocchetti and was replaced by another youngster, Marc Bartra.
The home supporters were up on their feet applauding the opening goal of the game just six minutes into the second half.
Thiago showed quick feet before pulling the ball back for Fontas, whose left-foot shot found the bottom corner via a deflection off the hand of the unfortunate Vitaly Kaleshin.
The centre-half became Barca's 16th different goalscorer in all competitions this season.
Lionel Messi was introduced into the action after 63 minutes but it was Rubin who immediately created their best chance of the game.
Rafat Murawski raced through the hosts' backline only to produce a weak chip which Pinto easily plucked out of the air.
Messi's impact was clear to see and he very nearly danced through the Russians backline with a weaving run past four players, only to stumble at the last moment.
However, Barca soon doubled their lead and secured all three points after 82 minutes thanks to Vazquez.The attacking midfielder calmly slotted away his right-foot effort beyond the reach of Ryzhikov to stretch the club's unbeaten run to 20 games in all competitions.
|Barcelona||Team Statistics||Rubin Kazan|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|3||Shots on Target||1|
|9||Shots off Target||2|