This season's UEFA Champions League campaign has mainly been one of frustration and missed opportunities for FC Rubin Kazan, but the deposed Russian champions finally had something to smile about on Wednesday. By beating FC København 1-0 at the Centralni Stadium, they secured their first win in six group stage home games and kept alive their hopes of reaching the knockout phase.
Throughout the current campaign, Rubin have had trouble creating and converting chances: Kurban Berdyev's men came into Matchday 5 having scored just once in four Group D outings. However, they doubled that tally thanks to Christian Noboa's penalty on the stroke of half-time, and the Rubin captain said it was nice to get the rub of the green for a change.
We finally had a bit of luck on our side because when we played Panathinaikos we had a number of chances but didn't convert them," said the Ecuadorean international, reflecting on a pair of 0-0 draws with the Greek team. "Today we managed to convert the penalty and we could have scored more, but the most important thing was the win."
Neither goalkeeper had much to do for long periods, and it took København – who knew a draw would be enough to send them through – until the 49th minute to muster their first shot on target. They bombarded Sergei Ryzhikov's goal late on yet were unable to conjure an equaliser.
"Copenhagen are a well-organised team and it was difficult game for us, but I don't think they were any better than us," concluded Rubin forward Sergei Kornilenko. "It finished 1-0, and I just think we wanted the three points more than they did."
Rubin – still third in the group, a point behind the Danes – must now overcome FC Barcelona and hope København come unstuck at home to Panathinaikos FC in order to make the last 16. The Premier-Liga outfit have been a thorn in the Catalan club's side and famously won at Camp Nou last season. However, Noboa expects Barcelona to be fired up for the rematch, despite the Group D winners having nothing to play for.
"They will want to beat us," the 25-year-old said. "They've tried to beat us three times already, and even though they have already qualified they'll be really up for the game and will want to win by a 4-0 scoreline or similar."
If Wednesday's defeat in Tatarstan was a setback for the Danish champions, Mikael Antonsson still believes his team are in the driving seat when it comes to finishing second in the section. "
We have everything in our own hands going into the match against Panathinaikos," the defender said. "If we win, everything is still in our hands and that feels very good."
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