FC Rubin Kazan captain Christian Noboa said "our tactics were spot on, and we've shown to the world we can take points off Barcelona" after they drew 1-1 with the Spanish champions.
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FC Barcelona were hoping it would prove third time lucky when they travelled to FC Rubin Kazan in UEFA Champions League Group D.
Having taken one point from two matches against the Russian titleholders last season, Josep Guardiola's charges came up short again, however, drawing 1-1 after failing to break down a resolute rearguard. Despite Rubin seeing little of the ball − Barça enjoyed 74% possession − their captain and scorer on the night, Christian Noboa, was adamant "luck didn't play a part" in helping achieve another eye-catching result against their more illustrious rivals.
"People have asked me about this and said the first time was lucky, the second time maybe you were lucky as well, but three times ... I don't think so," said Noboa, who opened the scoring with a first-half penalty. "We trained very hard for this game, our tactics were spot on, and we've shown to the world we can take points off Barcelona."
Those tactics worked wonders for Rubin last season so it was no surprise they served up more of the same a year on. The impressive Vitali Kaleshin − immaculate in defence and at the hub of the hosts' few attacking forays − said their approach was "totally justifiable".
"We had to defend because it's impossible to play an open, attacking style against a team like Barcelona," explained the defender, who was brought down by Daniel Alves for Noboa's spot kick. "We are not the only team who play this way against Barcelona. We just tried to play as compactly as possible, achieved this and managed to get a good result."
Despite being outpassed and outshot for the majority of the game, Rubin might have stolen all three points had Obafemi Martins not struck the upright from Kaleshin's cross with three minutes to go. "I thought I had scored the winner but the ball hit the post," explained Martins. "I have to continue and that's football, but I'm still glad we managed to draw."
Barcelona did not produce the attacking football for which they are famed in the first half, yet could have gone into the break ahead but for Pedro Rodríguez spurning a couple of good chances. When facing such an obdurate team midfielder Andrés Iniesta said Barcelona have to "find better solutions to break down defensively-orientated opponents".
"We gave the impression in the second half that the longer it went on the more likely it was that we'd get a second," said Iniesta, "whereas maybe in the first we were lacking that belief due to the fact we were up against a very strong defence."