Saturday 16 December 2017

Guide to Rubin Kazan

Rubin Kazan are based in the Republic of Tatarstan, a part of Russia with an eventful history. some nationalists tried to establish it as an independent republic at the start of the 20th century, but the Bolsheviks put an end to that.

Kazan is a wealthy city, and Rubin joined the Russian top division in 1992. Serious investment has brought them success over the last decade, with league title wins in 2008 and 2009.

Star players

Obafemi Martins is the best known player in this part of the world and is likely to figure this evening. Rubin paid £17m for his services.

Paraguayan international striker Nelson Valdez is rated as a 50-50 chance to start. Italian defender Salvatore Bocchetti has previous experience on Irish soil -- he made his international debut at Croke Park in 2009.

Lost in translation

The visiting media from Rubin Kazan were slightly bemused by the protracted nature of the pre-match press conferences, with translation a complicated business.

While Rovers had to call in an interpreter who normally works with the army, Rubin arrived with their own man, although Ecuadorian Christian Noboa appeared to have better English.

Rubin actually have three different translators on their books to cope with the variety of nationalities in their squad, including someone who specifically looks after the Israeli midfielder Bebras Nacho.

Number of the day

140,000 The prize in Euro for the team who takes all three points this evening. It's €70,000 for a draw. To put that in context, winning the League of Ireland would be worth €100,000 to the Hoops. This is a different ball game.

Memory lane

November 1966

After a home draw at Dalymount Park, Shamrock Rovers went to Germany to face a star-studded Bayern Munich team and came back from two goals down to level matters on the night and take the advantage overall on away goals.

Alas, a late strike from a certain Gerd Muller killed off the upset.

Irish Independent

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