Rubin Kazan 4 1 Shamrock Rovers
Nelson Haedo Valdez scored twice as Rubin Kazan took a big step towards the Europa league knockout stages with a comfortable 4-1 win over League of Ireland champions Shamrock Rovers.
Despite another brave attempt from Rovers to get their first Europa League points on the board, the hosts always looked in charge.
Valdez gave the Russian side an early lead, beating Rovers defender Ken Oman too easily and finishing calmly past advancing keeper Ryan Thompson.
Oman quickly made amends though when he equalised two minutes later. Ronan Finn won a free on the right which was whipped to the far post by Billy Dennehy for Oman to score with a header.
Rubin regained the lead on 36 minutes when Rovers failed to clear their lines and the ball broke to Natcho, who finished low with Thompson unsighted.
Valdez then profited from a fine pass by Noboa to make it 3-1 six minutes after the interval.
Ex-Newcastle striker Obafemi Martins got his name on the scoresheet from close range just after the hour mark, thanks to Gökdeniz Karadeniz’s cutback from the byline.
Yet even then, O’Neill’s team refused to lie down, Karl Sheppard’s volley clipping the top of the bar in the closing stages.
The Russian side now need just a point away to PAOK FC to qualify, while Shamrock Rovers welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Tallaght in one last attempt to secure at least a point from the group.
Rubin Kazan: Ryzhikov; Kaleshin, Sharonov, Navas, Bocchetti; Ryazan’s (Dyadyun 71), Boboia, Natcho, Karadeniz (Ansaldi 68); Valdez (Kasaev 61), Matins.
Shamrock Rovers: Thompson; Sullivan, Oman, Murray, Stevens; Rice; Dennehy, Turner (Twigg 81), Finn (O’Donnell 69), Paterson (Kilduff 69); Sheppard
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