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Rubin beat Rovers to move closer to last 32

FC Rubin Kazan 4-1 Shamrock Rovers FC
The Russian side need just a point away to PAOK FC on matchday six to qualify after equalling their biggest ever win in UEFA club competition.

Nelson Valdez celebrates with team-mates after one of his two goals
Nelson Valdez celebrates with team-mates after one of his two goals ©Getty Images

FC Rubin Kazan moved to within a point of the UEFA Europa League round of 32 with a 4-1 victory against Shamrock Rovers FC.

Though Rubin's initial lead, given to them by Nelson Valdez, lasted only two minutes thanks to Ken Oman's header, the hosts always looked in charge. Bebras Natcho restored their advantage, and efforts from Valdez and Obafemi Martins took Rubin to a record equalling win in UEFA club competition – most recently achieved with a 3-0 win in Dublin on matchday one. Kurban Berdyev's team need only to draw in Greece against PAOK FC on matchday six to be sure of progressing.

Fast starters in the section with that opening victory against the Irish side in September, Rubin again swiftly out of the blocks on Wednesday. With ten minutes gone, Christian Noboa played in Valdez, who shrugged off the attentions of Oman and fired in.

Michael O'Neill's side were quick to respond, Oman heading in Billy Dennehy's free-kick at the far post, and could have gone ahead had Dennehy not shot straight at Sergei Ryzhikov having wriggled free on the right. Natcho was far more clinical on 36 minutes, swivelling on the edge of the penalty area and – in one movement – setting himself to bend a low shot into the bottom corner.

Even after Valdez profited from another fine pass by Noboa to make it 3-1 six minutes after the interval, the Irish Premier Division champions' spirit remained intact. They briefly maintained a real threat on the counterattack but were unable to stem the tide, Martins turning in from barely two metres out just after the hour following Gökdeniz Karadeniz's cutback from the byline.

Even then, O'Neill's team refused to lie down, Karl Sheppard hitting the bar in the closing stages.