Connect to share and comment

Football: Russian survivors Rubin ready for Chelsea

PlacardEnlarge
(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Russia's last surviving representatives in Europe, two-time champions Rubin Kazan, come into Thursday's Europa League quarter-final clash against English Premier League side Chelsea on the back of good league form.

On Saturday, Rubin clinched a morale-boosting 2-0 win over visitors Lokomotiv Moscow to move up to fourth in the Russian Premier League, with goals from Israeli midfielder Bibras Natkho and forward Vladimir Dyadyun.

But Rubin manager Kurban Berdyev, who led his side into their first Europa League last eight round with wins against holders Atletico Madrid and fellow Spaniards Levante, has said he was disappointed with the draw.

Chelsea are considered the strongest team left in the competition and were last year's winners of the Champions League.

"Like in the round of 32, we got probably the toughest opponent we could get," said Berdyev. "However, for us it will become just an extra motivating factor that will make this tie more attractive."

"We will try to give our best in these matches against a top English team to perform at their level."

Rubin and Chelsea have never met before in European competition and the west London club have won all four of their previous meetings with Russian opponents.

Rubin, based in the Tatarstan regional capital Kazan, will be visiting London for a second time, having lost 1-0 at Tottenham Hotspur in last season's Europa League group stage but won the return leg by the same score.

On Thursday Rubin will be without their striker Alexander Ryazantsev and the French midfielder Yann M'Vila, who are both sidelined with injuries.

Another midfielder, Alan Kasaev, is uncertain for the match at Stamford Bridge as he missed Rubin's last domestic league encounter through injury.

Rubin hold Russia's hopes in Europe after bigger-spending Zenit St Petersburg and Anzhi Makhachkala both had disappointing campaigns.

af/sjw/phz

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130402/football-russian-survivors-rubin-ready-chelsea