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Rubin rue missed opportunity as PAOK make point

FC Rubin Kazan 2-2 PAOK FC
Giorgos Fotakis's goal nine minutes from time earned the Greek side a share of the Group A spoils after Rubin had overturned an initial deficit.

Diego Arias of PAOK vies with Rubin's Nelson Valdez
Diego Arias of PAOK vies with Rubin's Nelson Valdez ©Getty Images

PAOK FC earned a share of the Group A spoils as FC Rubin Kazan were made to regret not finishing off their opponents.

A second win in as many UEFA Europa League outings looked there for the taking for the hosts after goals from Bebras Natcho and Vladimir Dyadyun overturned Stefanos Athanasiadis's first-half opener. Yet, rather than push for a third, Kurban Berdyev's charges eased the pressure and Giorgos Fotakis punished them with nine minutes remaining, heading in at the far post after Vladimir Ivić and Etto had combined to good effect down the right.

Rubin had gone into half-time similarly disappointed, with nothing to show for their superior – if toothless – possession, having committed to grinding the visitors down rather than prising them open. It was 16 minutes before Alan Kasaev mustered their first shot in anger, lashing an effort from distance that Dario Krešić pushed away unconvincingly. And then they were behind.

PAOK broke with pace and Fotakis's ball to Giorgos Georgiadis carved the back line open. Goalkeeper Sergei Ryzhikov was coaxed from his line to cover, giving Athanasiadis a simple finish when the ball was squared to him.

It was all too familiar for Rubin, who have had more possession than any other side in the Russian Premier-Liga but have been haemorrhaging points and goals. Yet they emerged for the second period a force renewed. Gökdeniz Karadeniz and Natcho had efforts cleared off the line and Kasaev grazed the crossbar before the pressure told, Natcho darting into a crowded area and firing in a low effort that deflected in off Stelios Malezas.

Rubin were rampant, and forged ahead midway through the second period when left-back Oleg Kuzmin cut inside his marker and fired in a shot. Krešić was equal to it, but his parry hit Dyadyun and landed at the feet of the striker, who bundled in. Ahead for the first time, Rubin eased off – fatally.

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