A youthful FC Barcelona side did what their senior colleagues had failed to do in three attempts as the Spanish champions ended Group D with a 2-0 win against FC Rubin Kazan.
Andreu Fontàs and substitute Víctor Vázquez scored the goals – their first for the club – at the start and end of the second half as the section winners passed Rubin into submission. In any event, the visitors' UEFA Champions League days were numbered as FC København's 3-0 win against Panathinaikos FC meant this result was academic, and they will now turn attention to the UEFA Europa League.
Andrés Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernández were named in an all-Barcelona shortlist for the FIFA Ballon d'Or on Monday but none were in the starting XI as Josep Guardiola, with top spot already assured, experimented. Fontàs and Thiago Alcántara were handed their UEFA Champions League debuts but before their merits could be assessed the coach had other things to concern him.
The game was 13 minutes old when Jeffren limped off with a groin strain and before half-time Bojan Krkić had joined him in the treatment room after a blow to the head. As if Guardiola's intention to blood the newest alumni of Barcelona's renowned La Masia youth system had not been clear their replacements were Vázquez, on his second UEFA Champions League outing, and another debutant, Marc Bartra.
Naturally the passing and movement were less fluid, less confident, and the hosts could have fallen behind on 15 minutes. Gökdeniz Karadeniz fed the overlapping Cristian Ansaldi on the left and whether the Argentinian meant to shoot or cross the effect was a superb stop from one of the old guard; the 35-year-old Pinto, who was deputising for Víctor Valdés.
Barcelona's injuries meant they reverted from a three to a four-man back line, but the flip side was that defenders had more scope to attack – Fontàs needed no invitation. Six minutes after the restart Thiago cut in from the right following a corner and the central defender, 21, stabbed the ball in via the outstretched hand of Vitali Kaleshin.
The highlight of the remainder of the match looked like being either the introduction of Messi, who produced some trademark dribbling, or Rubin's best chance which Rafał Murawski flicked casually into Pinto's hands. Barcelona would not be denied by these opponents a fourth time, however, and with seven minutes remaining Adriano fed Vázquez, who bent a right-footed shot past the exposed Sergei Ryzhikov.
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