Europa League: Shamrock Rovers 0-3 Rubin Kazan

Tallaght Stadium action
Gary Twigg and Roman Sharonov in aerial action during the Europa League game

Shamrock Rovers suffered a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Russian side Rubin Kazan in their opening Europa League group game on Thursday night.

Former Newcastle striker Obafemi Martins fired the visitors into a third-minute lead and Christian Noboa's piledriver on 50 minutes made it 2-0.

Gokdeniz Karadeniz scored the third with an impressive finish on the hour.

Nelson Valdez had his penalty saved by Ryan Thompson and Sergei Ryzhikov saved Stephen O'Donnell's spot-kick.

O'Donnell headed over in the first half and after the break Ronan Finn's close-range header was palmed away by Ryzhikov at the Tallaght Stadium.

O'Donnell saw his penalty saved in the 64th minute to deny the League of Ireland side a late consolation goal.

Rovers, the first Irish club to reach this stage of the competition, will renew their campaign with a glamour trip to Tottenham in a fortnight's time.

Kazan opened the scoring when Karadeniz, who was to prove a constant threat, made good ground down the left and cut inside before squaring the ball for Martins.

The Nigeria international span swiftly and although his left-footed shot was not the cleanest, his placement was more than adequate to send it into the bottom corner.

Nine minutes before the break Martins managed to get himself on the wrong side of central defender Craig Sives and drove into the box, where he was sent sprawling by the Scot in his efforts to make up lost ground.

Hungarian referee Zsolt Szabo immediately pointed to the spot and Valdez stepped up confidently.

However, Thompson dived to his right to keep out the spot-kick and made a second block before skipper Dan Murray hacked clear to spare the home side further damage and send them in at the break still in the game.

The visitors extended their lead in style with five minutes of the second half gone.

Noboa did not need to break stride to rifle a stinging half-volley into the top corner despite Thompson's best efforts.

The Irish side's fading hopes were dealt a fatal blow on the hour when Karadeniz capped a fine individual display with an inch-perfect curling finish off the underside of the crossbar after latching on to Bebras Natcho's inviting pass.

Michael O'Neill's men had a golden opportunity to grab a consolation goal four minutes later when Twigg was bundled to the ground inside the box by defender Cesar Navas.

But O'Donnell could not repeat his feat in Serbia as Ryzhikov saved with his legs as he dived to his left.

Rovers battled gamely as the clock ran down, but they were never able to find the quality they needed to take one of the half-chances which came their way as the visitors cruised towards the final whistle.

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