Europa League: Atlético 0 – 2 Rubin Kazan
Rubin Kazan have ended Atlético’s streak of 20 consecutive victories at the Vicente Calderón and are on the edge of knocking the reigning champions out of the Europa League.
The Russians took advantage of poor defending by Atleti to score early on and held on admirably during the course of the second half despite being down a man. They were rewarded in the dying seconds of the game when Pablo Orbaiz added to Karadeniz’ earlier goal to beat Atlético 2-0.
In the sixth minute, the entire Atleti defence neglected to close down their opponents, allowing former Málaga striker Salomón Rondón to shoot at goal from the edge of the box. Sergio Asenjo, our regular goalkeeper in the Europa League this season, spilled the Venezuelan’s shot and Gokdeniz Karadeniz was first to respond to the loose ball. The Turk had initially set up the attack and then finished it off to give the visitors an early lead.
Rondón continued to be a menace and nearly doubled Rubin’s lead after bringing down a cross on his chest, but Asenjo did well to intervene before Rondón could strike.
Atlético struggled collectively and lacked any kind of inspiration. Radamel Falcao didn’t get any service up front and stepped out to collect the ball, which lead to him shooting just inches wide a minute before the break. It was the first time Atleti came close and the for the second time in as many games the Rojiblancos failed to record a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes.
Shortly before the break Falcao created some space for himself and dribbled inside. With the Colombian lining up for a shot, Rubin captain Sharonov saw no other option than to bring Falcao down just outside the box, which resulted in Sharonov’s second booking of the night after bringing down Cristian Rodríguez with a similar foul earlier in the game.
After the red card Rubin nearly suffered another big blow, but Filipe Luís fired wide from close range after a clever run inside the box.
The fans, who had turned up in small numbers, hoped to see a stronger Atleti in the second half where they could benefit from a numerical advantage, but it wasn’t until the hour mark, when Simeone took off defenders Cata Díaz and Filipe for offensive midfielders Raúl García and Saúl, that the team was able to pin down their tiring opponents.
During the remainder of the game Russian goalkeeper Ryzhikov turned out to be an unavoidable object as he denied Tiago and then stopped a series of shots by Arda, Saúl and Cebolla Rodríguez. Atleti came even closer to a goal when Falcao fired a shot towards goal which smashed against the crossbar.
When Adrián then missed an unmissable opportunity, Atleti fans started to realize this just wasn’t their night. The unfortunate forward headed wide from close range after Raúl García headed on a corner.
In the added time Cebolla Rodríguez missed another incredible chance when he fired wide from just five meters out.
In the 95th minute Sergio Asenjo was sent forward by Simeone for a corner kick, but the goalkeeper was caught horribly out of position when Rubin were able to rush forward one more time. Pablo Orbaiz was able to put the ball into the back of the net unchallenged and seemed to seal the Europa League tie early on. Sending his last man forward seemed a rash decision by the Argentine coach with a return leg still on the line.
Line-up: Asenjo; Juanfran, Cata Díaz (“60 Raúl García), Godín, Filipe (“66 Saúl); Arda, Tiago, Mario (“46 Koke), C. Rodríguez; Adrián and Falcao.
Goals: 0-1 Karadeniz (“6); 0-2 Orbaiz (“95)