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Kuban exit after Valencia draw

Valencia CF 1-1 FC Kuban Krasnodar
Lorenzo Melgarejo equalised with six minutes remaining but a draw proved insufficient for the visitors to emerge from Group A.

Kuban exit after Valencia draw
Kuban exit after Valencia draw ©UEFA.com

UEFA Europa League debutants FC Kuban Krasnador signed off with a 1-1 comeback draw against Group A winners Valencia CF, who finished with ten men.

Needing to win at the Mestalla and other results to go their way to advance, Kuban failed to fulfill their side of the bargain, but can take heart from a spirited showing after Lorenzo Melgarejo cancelled out Paco Alcácer's opener with six minutes left. The hosts' group stage campaign ended on a sour note when Victor Ruiz was dismissed late on.

After an even opening, Valenica took control and almost opened the scoring when Míchel headed João Pereira's measured cross against the crossbar. The Russian side responded with intent, but a wave of intricate moves failed to produce an end product, while Hélder Postiga and Ricardo Costa both went close at the other end.

Kuban coach Viktor Goncharenko introduced former Liverpool FC forward Djibril Cissé after the break, and the 32-year-old almost made an immediate impact. Latching onto Costa's errant pass, Cissé bore down on goal, but Diego Alves was comfortably his equal. Miroslav Djukić's charges quickly wrestled back the initiative, edging in front after 67 minutes.

Shortly after replacing Postiga, Paco Alcácer took receipt of Éver Banega's defence-splitting pass and drove beyond Aleksandr Belenov from the tightest of angles. Not to be denied, the visitors hit back with six minutes remaining, Melgarejo heading in after good work from Gonzalo Bueno on the left. More drama was to come when Ruiz saw red for a challenge on Anton Sosnin.

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