Down to ten men for more than an hour, FC Rubin Kazan came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw in their UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg at Real Betis Balompié.
Dídac Vilà, on loan from AC Milan, had put Betis in front after just three minutes. That lead looked especially safe – and a round of 16 meeting with Sevilla FC a step closer – when Rubin's Aleksandr Prudnikov was shown a second yellow card. However, Roman Eremenko's late spot kick meant honours ended even.
Betis are enduring a torrid campaign, ten points adrift of safety in the Liga and onto their third coach in two months, yet any such problems were not apparent in a slick first-half performance. The early goal helped, of course, both the timing and the manner as Vilà lifted the ball over Roman Sharonov as he cut in from the left, then headed past Dmitri Torbinski before lashing into the far corner from an acute angle.
If that was a heavy blow for Rubin in their first competitive outing since rounding off the group stage unbeaten on 12 December, things were soon to get worse for the Russian club in Seville. Léo Baptistão had threatened a second before Prudnikov departed after an ill-timed tackle on Juanfran on 28 minutes. Betis, already in control, began to turn the screw as Cedric had a half-volley tipped over before flicking past keeper Sergei Ryzhikov and just wide of a post.
Cedric was back posing Ryzhikov problems after the restart, having a header beaten away, but it was Betis custodian Antonio Adán who was next to pick the ball out of his net. Eremenko made no mistake with his 74th-minute penalty after being felled by Lorenzo Reyes.
©UEFA.com 1998-2011. All rights reserved.