Sibir Novosibirsk 2-2 Rubin Kazan

The formations that began the game. When Sibir took the lead, Noboa began playing in a more advanced position. Ansaldi didn't offer much of an overlapping threat because Eduardo and Kasaev were doubling-up down that flank.

Russian Premier League strugglers Sibir Novosibirsk injected life into their survival battle by winning at Rostov last weekend. But with relegation rivals Krylya Sovetov Samara winning yesterday, Sibir knew they had to take three points against last season’s champions here to maintain any hopes they had of surviving.

Rubin came into the game in second place, wearied from playing Barcelona in the Champions League in the week, and knowing they also needed three points for their own domestic cause – keeping on the trail of runaway leaders, Zenit.

The sides’ league positions showed immediately – Rubin were superior to Sibir from the off. Without possession, they pressed high and in numbers, while with it, they were decisive and clever, and kept Aleksei Medvedev – back at his old club for the first time – well fed.

Sibir neglected to press, and found congesting the centre wasn’t preventing Rubin’s one-two moves that were easily keeping the ball in the final-third.

The visitors had a range of options in attack: Carlos Eduardo and Alan Kasaev dovetailed superbly – the Brazilian taking the back seat by making diagonal dummy runs that let the energetic Russian cut inside.

With the equally classy Christian Noboa nearby, the trio worked several sumptuous triangles to great effect.

Over on the right, Oleg Kuzmin and Andrei Gorbanets performed complementarily. Unfortunately, Gorbanets’ weak delivery too often wasted Rubin’s breakaways. Continue reading