Barça overcome defensive Rubin (2-0)
FC Barcelona completed their Champions League group campaign with a comfortable win against Rubin Kazan in Camp Nou on Tuesday evening thanks to goals from young duo Andreu Fontàs and Víctor Vázquez.
Barcelona (FCB).- Pep Guardiola's team faced another tough examination against European opposition as their Russian league visitors arrived in Catalunya determined to employ a rigorous defensive system.
Before the game Rubin had the chance to still make it through to the first knockout round of the competition if FC Copenhagen lost or drew against Panathinaikos, while Barça had secured top spot in Group D after defeating the Greeks side last time out. Instead, FC Copenhagen won in Denmark and the Blaugrana put paid to any thoughts Kurban Berdyev's side had of causing a surprise and the Russian outfit will not continue their continental challenge in Europe League after Christmas.
Victory did not look like something that the away team felt that they could realistically achieve and even the Rubin goalkeeper, Sergei Ruzhikov, began to try to run down the clock from early in the encounter. With a line of five or six players in front of him, the visitors' custodian looked on as the task was left to the home team to try and break down the barrier. Barça broke free and used a 3-4-3 system with Maxwell and Adriano pushing and Sergio Busquets sitting in the centre of defence was surprise in itself.
The outlook was identical to the previous three meetings between the two teams with FC Barcelona completely dominating and looking for any space that they could while Rubin remained very well organised and disciplined and hoped to find a way out on the counter-attack. Just like in the other three games also, chances were at a premium.
Early on Guardiola was forced to make changes as Jeffren Suárez suffered a knock after just 11 minutes and Bojan Krkic did the same with 33 minutes on the clock. Vázquez was on first and he was followed by B team starlet Marc Bartra as the home team maintained control of the ball and enjoyed 80 per cent of the possession.
Thiago Alcántara showed why he is so highly rated at the club as he cut in from the right before laying the ball back for Fontàs six minutes after the half-time break and the defender scored on his Champions League debut. The shot did take a deflection off Vitali Kaleshin and left Ryzhikov stranded, but the scorer was not complaining as he wheeled away in celebration.
Lionel Messi made way for Jonathan just after the hour mark and looked on from the bench as Barça netted a second with seven minutes remaining. Adriano set Vázquez free and the youngster curled the ball past the keeper. On a night when Barça had little at stake the hosts were able to prove that the youth production line is still working well as a number of hopefuls showed that they can play at the highest level.
1-0 Fontàs (min 50)
2-0 Víctor Vázquez (min 81)