Russians ruin Hoops' Europa League debut

Shamrock Rovers 0 Rubin Kazan 3

Shamrock Rovers 0 Rubin Kazan 3

There was no dream debut in the Europa League group stage for Shamrock Rovers on their historic first night as Rubin Kazan’s class was all too evident.

After all the hype and well-wishing, Rovers had the worst possible start as they gave away a dreadfully soft goal inside three minutes, and it got no better. Turk Gokdeniz Karadeniz crossed low from the left and ex-Newcastle winger Obafemi Martins turned home from 12 yards.

It should have been 2-0 on nine minutes, but thankfully for Rovers Nelson Valdez blazed over after taking the ball of Martins’ toe.

Rovers had another real let off ten minutes before the break when Martins won a penalty off Craig Sives after outpacing the Rovers central defender. But Ryan Thompson made a terrific save from the spot, diving to his right to save Valdez’s effort and then again from the Paraguayan’s follow-up.

But there was to be no reprieve four minutes into the second half when Rubin did double their lead.

Israeli Bebras Natcho’s cross from the right wasn’t properly cleared and Christian Noboa scored with a stunning rising right-footer from the edge of the area.

Within two minutes Rovers ought to have had a goal back, but Ronan Finn seemed to pull back on his header which was saved by Sergei Ryzhikov.

Not that they ever looked in doubt, the points were sealed by Rubin on the hour mark with another stunning strike when Karandeniz rifled in off the crossbar from the edge of the area to finish off a fine passing move.

The curse of the carpark end then struck again to deny Rovers as it was their turn to miss a penalty on 64 minutes.

Gary Twigg was tripped by Cesar Navas. However, Stephen O’Donnell, whose spot kick in Belgrade got Rovers into the group stages, had his penalty saved by the feet of Ryzhikov.

The butt of an upright then prevented Rubin getting a fourth from Natcho’s low drive.

Rovers to their credit pressed until the final whistle, substitute Billy Dennehy bringing a save a full stretch from Ryzhikov from a free-kick on 80 minutes.

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