The Russians came, the Russians saw and the Russians have successfully conquered the cauldron that is the Camp Nou.
Little known Rubin Kazan have created one of the biggest shocks in Champions League history when they stunned a seemingly indestructible
Aleksandr Ryazantsev gave the visitors an astonishing lead just two minutes into the game, but Barca’s incessant pressure paid off when they leveled through Zlatan Ibrahimovic two minutes into the second period. But Karadeniz Gokdeniz would have the last laugh when he smashed in the winning goal 15 minutes from time.
Rubin surprised mighty Inter two weeks ago when they took an early lead against the Serie A champions and the Russians went on to recreate their shock against the reigning Champions League winners.
Just 120 seconds into the contest, Aleksandr Ryazantsev pounced on a stray pass by Rafa Marquez and arrowed in a 30-yard thunderbolt past a hapless Victor Valdes.
Barca came close to an immediate equalizer two minutes later when Iniesta slipped Ibrahimovic into the box on the left channel but the Swede’s sidefooted shot was flicked away by Ryzhikov’s fingertips.
Ibra had another opening on ten minutes. Lionel Messi did all the hard work when he careened forward on the left channel, cut inside his defender and clipped the ball into the middle, but the big striker’s miscued half-volley was easily gathered by the Rubin goalkeeper.
Dani Alves was next to try his luck five minutes later when he latched onto Pedro’s long cutback but the Brazilian’s 20-yard piledriver flashed wide. Young Pedro himself had a glorious chance to restore parity on 25 minutes when he leaped above his marker to meet Dani Alves’cross, but Ryzhikov managed to palm the header away.
Rubin had an opportunity to double their advantage three minutes before the break when Alejandro Dominguez curled in a lovely freekick on the edge of the box but Valdes was equal to the task.
No one saw this shock coming and neither did Ibra
But what the visitors did to the Blaugrana in the first half, the hosts replied the favor in the second. Two minutes into the restart, the Catalans drew levelled when Xavi dinked a delicate through ball over the defence for Ibrahimovic, who took it on his chest before rifling a low cross shot past the goalkeeper.
Right on the hour mark, a free-flowing move involving Messi, Iniesta and Ibra found Pedro inside the area but his shot from a tight angle sailed straight into Ryzhikov’s arms. The busy Rubin goalkeeper had to be alert again moments later to deny Messi’s effort on the edge of the box after the Argentine combined brilliantly with Dani Alves.
Ibra then attempted an ambitious freekick from 30 yards out and although he struck it sweetly, it flew wide of the mark. Just as Barca were starting to settle into a rhythm, Rubin stunned the
Five minutes later,
The chances dried up for the home sides as the clock ticked down but deep into injury time, the Catalans were denied by the woodwork again when Toure Yaya’s header from a corner cannoned back off the post.
Kurban Derdyev valiant soldiers held on not only to pull off one of the greatest upsets in the competition’s history but they now jointly lead Group F along with Barca and Dynamo Kiev.
KS Leong, Goal.com
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