Wigan Athletic FC and FC Rubin Kazan remain well appointed to progress from Group D after having to share the spoils in a 1-1 draw tonight.
Pacesetters Rubin appeared ready to register their first win on English soil when Aleksandr Prudnikov flashed in a 15th-minute goal. Yet Wigan restored parity before half-time through Nick Powell's accurate shot, and the point accrued by each club keeps them first and second in the table.
Prudnikov had finished emphatically at Scott Carson's near post after Chris Mavinga's pass from the left sliced open the home defence. At that stage the team from Tatarstan could scent a tenth straight UEFA competition victory since last season's quarter-final second leg against Chelsea FC – Kurban Berdyev's men having entered the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League in the second qualifying round.
In football's Lancashire heartland a traditional English centre-forward was found at the source of Wigan's best work, No9 Grant Holt. However, the equaliser came from Holt's young assistant Powell, two-goal hero of the home success against NK Maribor, who capped off a neat passing exchange with a clean low strike from outside the box.
The club occupying the 33rd rung of England's professional ladder – second-division Wigan – were proving no pushovers for a Russian Premier League outfit beaten on two previous visits to these shores. While Aleksandr Ryazantsev might have doubled the visitors' tally, Jordi Gómez powered the hosts' best opportunity over the crossbar in a first half which ended with the FA Cup holders in the ascendancy.
With Berdyev a renowned tactician, Latics boss Owen Coyle increasingly found himself engaged in a tactical stalemate punctuated only by free-kicks and substitutions. The deadlock was almost broken around the 70-minute mark with chances at either end, first for the sliding Roman Eremenko, then for Wigan's Marc-Antoine Fortuné and Nick Powell. Later, Callum McManaman and Fortuné went closer still, but despite Maribor winning at SV Zulte Waregem, the ensuing draw was no handicap to either side's prospects.