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The introduction of Obafemi Martins as a half-time substitute proved key as VfL Wolfsburg came from a goal down to defeat FC Rubin Kazan 2-1 after extra time and progress to their first European quarter-final.
The German champions fell behind in the 21st minute of their second leg UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie to a fine low shot by Alan Kasaev and struggled to get going before the break.
The arrival of the Nigerian international changed matters, giving the hosts more pace and muscle up front. Martins went on to score the equaliser just before the hour mark then created the winner for Christian Gentner with only seconds left on the clock.
"Lucky me," said the 25-year-old former Newcastle United FC striker modestly. "I was happy when the coach [Lorenz-Günther Köstner] told me I would be starting the second half, and with a goal and an assist I am very content."
Even though the winner came as a penalty shoot-out seemed inevitable, Martins was still focused on getting the job done in regulation time. "I wasn't thinking about penalties. I think Rubin Kazan were so like I say, we were lucky we scored when we did."
Match-winner Gentner was appreciative of Martins' contribution. "I'm very happy for him because he has done well and has deputised really well for [the injured] Grafite, which isn't easy.
"Right at the end I managed to get into the box for one last effort, and he put in a great cross which I hit sweetly. I was tired because the pitch was pretty heavy, but it was worth it."
Rubin substitute Macbeth Sibaya revealed his team had carefully planned how to deal with the home side's attacking threat. "We know they like to whip the ball in low towards the near post and I think we managed to contain them well, but it was very unfortunate we lost like we did."
The 32-year-old South African international felt in the end the physical demands took their toll. "We were down to ten men [after César Navas was dismissed for his second bookable offence in the second period of extra time] and also we are just starting to play again after a long winter break."
Meanwhile Martins was evasive at the possibility of a possible return to England, with both Liverpool FC and Fulham FC potential opponents in Friday's draw. "I think it would be nice to go back there and see how the weather is," he said.
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