Wigan Athletic 1 Rubin Kazan 1

Wigan Athletic's Marc-Antoine Fortune holds his head after missing a late chance against Rubin Kazan
Wigan Athletic's Marc-Antoine Fortune holds his head after missing a late chance against Rubin Kazan
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WIGAN Athletic came from behind to secure a creditable point against experienced European outfit Rubin Kazan.

The Russians had arrived in town as the Europa League Group D leaders after big wins in both of the previous matches.

But Latics gave as good as they got in an entertaining encounter that became a scrappy affair after the break.

Both goals came inside an end-to-end first-half that saw Latics fall behind but show admirable spirit to stem the flow and hit back.

Rubin took the lead on 15 minutes when Aleksandr Prudnikov rifled past Scott Carson on the near post.

But credit Latics for their response, which arrived when Nick Powell finished off a lovely move with a magnificent strike into the bottom corner.

And the home side were almost rewarded for their desire to push for a winner when, in stoppage-time, substitute Marc-Antoine Fortune’s effort from point-blank range was superbly saved by Rubin goalkeeper Sergei Ryzhikov.

Owen Coyle had made five changes to his side for the game, with Grant Holt making his first appearance of the European campaign.

Also into the starting line-up were Stephen Crainey, Ryan Shotton, Chris McCann and Jean Beausejour, whose brief would surely have been to find the big striker as often as possible.

Latics had an early shout for a penalty when Powell fired against what appeared to be the arm of Chris Mavinga, but referee Florian Meyer waved play on.

Four years ago this week, Rubin went to the Nou Camp and rocked mighty Barcelona in the Champions League.

And they showed their quality by registering the opening goal with virtually their first attack on the 15-minute mark.

Mavinga provided the opening with a long ball from the back towards Prudnikov.

With Leon Barnett unsuccessfully claiming for offside, the centre-forward controlled and finished clinically under Carson.

Latics then had to hang in there as Rubin enjoyed some good possession and asked more questions.

Nice interplay saw Prudnikov get another sight of goal, but Emmerson Boyce was in the right place at the right time to clear the ball.

Aleksandr Ryazantsev volleyed just past the post, before Latics managed to see a bit of the ball again.

Ben Watson fed Holt, whose attempted ball to Powell fell before the on-loan Manchester United man.

The ball rolled out to Jordi Gomez, whose shot was well over the crossbar.

Holt was dominating in the air, and one flick-on found Beausejour.

The Chilean’s cross, however, flew over the danger area and out for a throw-in.

A long free-kick from Watson was then only half-cleared by the goalkeeper, but Holt’s acrobatic effort was driven into the ground and easily cleared.

Latics were enjoying their best spell of the game, though, and they fashioned another opening when Beausejour was brought down on the edge of the area.

Watson’s free-kick was straight at the goalkeeper, but the visitors weren’t so lucky six minutes before the break when Latics equalised.

Some lovely one-touch football from Powell, McCann and Watson opened up the Rubin rearguard.

And Powell had time and space to pick his spot from just outside the penalty area.

The goal was no more than Latics deserved for the way they had responded to the disappointment of falling behind.

But they nearly shot themselves in the foot when sloppy play at the back allowed Prudnikov to stab just past the near post.

Barnett was booked for a foul on Yann M’Vila as half-time approached, the Rubin man not happy at all about the connection with his back.

There was one final scare for Wigan as Torbinski flashed past the post, but the home side will have felt reasonably satisfied at the break and all-square.

Rubin threatened at the start of the second period when Shotton felled Torbinski just outside the box for a clear yellow card.

Roman Eremenko’s free-kick was straight into the wall, but the Russians remained in the ascendancy as Latics chased the ball.

Torbinski went in late on Powell and was cautioned, before Rubin substitute followed him into the notebook for a poor challenge on McCann.

Wigan were nearly in when a cross to the far post saw Holt fail to control, and that was the striker’s final involvement before he was replaced by Fortune.

He was quickly joined by James McClean and Callum McManaman, who replaced Beausejour and Gomez.

And Latics continued to push for a second goal - while always being wary of being caught on the counter.

The five substitutions contributed to the game becoming scrappy as time ticked by.

But Latics continued to be the most likely scorers, and McManaman nearly got in at the far post after a good flick by Fortune.

However, the angle was too tight and his attempted pull-back was blocked at the expense of a corner.

Sergei Kislyak had a decent chance to win it for Rubin in the closing stages, only to see his effort blocked by Barnett.

And Latics nearly fashioned a winner at the death when McManaman’s cross was back-heeled by Watson into the path of Fortune.

The big striker looked a certain scorer, only for Ryzhikov to pull off a wonderful stop to ensure honours ended even.

Latics: Carson; Boyce, Shotton, Barnett, Crainey; Watson, McCann; Gomez, Powell, Beausejour; Holt.

Subs: Nicholls, Perch, McArthur, Espinoza, McClean (for Beausejour, 67), McManaman (for McClean, 75), Fortune (for Holt, 62).

Rubin: Ryzhikov; Kuzmin, Sharonov, Marcano, Mavinga; Kislyak, M’Vila; Torbinski, Ryazantsev, Eremenko; Prudnikov.

Subs: Berezin, Kulik, Wakaso (for Torbinski, 59), Navas, Karadeniz (for Prudnikov, 74), Natcho, Mukhametshin.

Referee: Florian Meyer (Germany).