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It was testimony to the strength-in-depth of the English club game that the team ranked 33rd in the country's league pyramid, Wigan Athletic FC of the Championship, could hold an FC Rubin Kazan side enjoying a nine-match winning streak in UEFA competition.
However, according to Nick Powell – whose 40th-minute equaliser secured a 1-1 Group D draw against the Russian Premier League outfit – FA Cup holders Wigan are in a false position of 13th in the second division.
The 19-year-old forward is tipping Owen Coyle's men to reach the UEFA Europa League knockout stage, a scenario which also becomes more likely for Rubin defender Iván Marcano and his colleagues after this "very positive result" in north-west England.
Nick Powell, Wigan forward
It's fun. Everyone likes to play in Europe and even though we're newcomers, we've held our own and I think we can win the group. It doesn't matter if we win or not [in Kazan on matchday four] – we are definitely going to go through. I thought we dominated the first 15–20 minutes, but then when they got the goal, they overtook us and we're too hot for us – we were struggling to get a foothold in the game. We got our goal back and then I thought we were the better side.
I'm quite confident. We just need another win and I think we'll be there [in the round of 32]. Wigan played nice football last year and were unlucky to go down. We're not doing that well in the league but the results don't show how well we play. We're not a mid-table Championship side – we should be in or around the play-offs later in the season. We're holding our own in Europe and I think we should go through.
Ryan Shotton, Wigan defender
At the start of the game we would have taken a draw against Rubin Kazan, who have some great players and some [European] experience. Maybe at the end of the day we should have nicked it. We were the better team and have done really well. Rubin have some great players and great movement – they pulled us out of position as you saw with their goal. They weren't easy to defend against, but I thought we did great. We set the pace, won the ball back and got at them. We've got to get a result there. If we set our stall out, sit in and make ourselves solid, we can counterattack them. It's going to be great.
Stephen Crainey, Wigan defender
They're a good side who did really well in this competition last year and I thought it was going to be a really tough match. However, the lads did very well. We thoroughly deserved a point and maybe could have got the three. We've got five points from three games now and hopefully we can build on that in the next game. We know it's going to be tough over in Kazan, but hopefully we showed them that we can hurt them. Hopefully we can do that over there – yes, they have some quality players, but so do we.
Iván Marcano, Rubin defender
It's a very positive result for us. It has taken us onto seven points and it's also good for us that [previously point-less] Maribor won [3-1 against SV Zulte Waregem]. The situation is really positive. I don't think there was much difference between the first and second halves. Maybe they went more direct at times, and even though they didn't have a huge amount of success with it, they could still create danger for us. We also had trouble finding solutions to their game. I don't really like picking out one of the other three teams in the group [as Rubin's strongest competitors]. They all seem to be excellent teams. The main thing is that we now have seven points, which is a strong position to be in.
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