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Rondón earns Rubin point at Partizan

FK Partizan 1-1 FC Rubin Kazan
José Rondón cancelled out Saša Marković's sumptuous opener in Belgrade as the Russian Premier-Liga outfit rounded off Group H unbeaten.

Partizan's Vladimir Volkov shields the ball from Rubin striker José Rondón
Partizan's Vladimir Volkov shields the ball from Rubin striker José Rondón ©AFP/Getty Images

FC Rubin Kazan fought back to claim a draw at FK Partizan which maintained their unbeaten record going into the UEFA Europa League knockout stages.

Already assured of pole position in Group H, Rubin were marginally on top for much of the night in Belgrade but fell behind to Saša Marković's sumptuous strike eight minutes after half-time. José Rondón quickly levelled, though, and 1-1 it remained as Partizan, without a win in the section, at least avoided finishing bottom.

Rubin had the better of a first half low on enterprise from both teams, with Gökdeniz Karadeniz warming Nikola Petrović's gloves, but the second period was another matter. Saša Marković lit the fuse within seconds of the restart after being sent through on goal by Stefan Šćepović. Off-balance, the 21-year-old's finish befitted a player without a goal since September as he screwed horribly wide.

He quickly made amends; in some style too. Lazar Marković made a powerful run down the right and had the awareness to pick out Saša Marković on the edge of the box, but there was still plenty to do. The midfielder did it beautifully, cushioning an awkwardly bouncing pass with his left foot and lashing in a volley with his right. The celebrations from Partizan, bidding to escape fellow stragglers Neftçi PFK and the wooden spoon in the section, proved short-lived.

Rubin had not scored in two previous domestic outings yet made it look easy when Cristian Ansaldi cut in from the left and chipped a cross towards the far post, where Rondón was free to nod in. From then on the Russian side dictated play, with Rondón and substitute Sergei Davydov going close. However, the resulting stalemate would offer both teams some cause for satisfaction.