MADRID (AFP) – Holders Barcelona suffered their first European defeat in 10 months falling to a shock 2-1 home loss at the hands of Rubin Kazan in the Champions League group F match on Tuesday.
Russian champions Rubin produced the biggest win in their history to defeat the reigning European champions with Turkish midfielder Gokdeniz Karadeniz netting a 73rd winner to stun the Camp Nou.
|Barcelona's Lionel Messi (R) fights for the ball with Rubin Kazan's Russian defender Roman Sharonov (L) during the Champions League football match between Barcelona and Rubin Kazan at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona (AFP photo)|
It was Barcelona's first Champions League defeat since December 9 when Pep Guardiola's side lost 3-2 at home to Shakhtar Donetsk at the group stage - although they had already qualified - and the result blows the group wide open with all four teams capable of reaching the last 16.
Barca, Rubin and Dynamo Kiev all have four points with Inter Milan on three points after a 2-2 draw with Kiev on Tuesday.
"Any team can beat another one in football," said Guardiola. "It is a strong group with four league champions and we have to fight until the end to progress."
Aleksandr Ryazantsev shot Russian champions Rubin into a shock lead after just 70 seconds with a fine long-range strike.
Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic equalised for Barca showing good chest control before volleying into the corner three minutes after the break.
It was expected to be the platform for Barca to win the game but Kazan were clinical using one of their rare goalscoring chances to win the game.
"If we want to progress we have to win the next game in Russia (against Rubin Kazan)," said Ibrahimovic. "We had some good chances and hit the woodwork but didn't have much luck."
Rubin now have a great chance of progressing and coach Kurban Berdeyev admitted he was still getting to grips with the historic win.
"I thanked God for giving our fans a party they fully deserve," said Berdeyev. "We didn't think that we could win here."
With Thierry Henry out injured Guardiola rushed back Ibrahimovic, who sat out the Valencia match at the weekend, with Lionel Messi and Pedro Rodriguez on the flanks.
Rubin fielded third choice goalkeeper Sergei Ryzhikov, with his number 77 shirt hardly inspiring confidence, but he did well to thwart Andres Iniesta in the opening minute.
With 70 seconds gone Rubin stunned the partisan Camp Nou crowd, with some fans just coming into the stadium after being stuck in traffic, when Ryazantsev rifled in an unstoppable 30 yard drive.
A sloppy pass from Rafael Marquez gifted Rubin possession and Ryazantsev surprised Victor Valdes arrowing a thumping right-footed shot into the corner.
It was the first time Barcelona had gone behind in their nine games this season and provided them with a challenge.
It was a dream start for Rubin who built a barrier in front of their penalty area to try and defend their surprise lead.
The expected Barca onslaught came with Ibrahimovic squirming a tough volley wide after a great dribble and cross from Messi.
Dani Alves then drilled a shot just wide of the post and Pedro's header was pushed clear by Ryzhikov right next to the post.
Guardiola did not make any changes at the interval and the leveller came three minutes into the second half with Ibrahimovic controlling on his chest before volleying a first time shot into the bottom corner.
The goal threw Rubin's game-plan out of the window but Barca struggled to score a second and threw on teenage striker Bojan Krkic for Pedro in the 66th minute.
However, it was the Russians who struck again with a lightning counter attack finished off by Karadeniz in the 73nd minute.
Ibrahimovic smashed a shot against the crossbar five minutes later and Yaya Toure hit the post in stoppage time as Rubin clung on.
Barca have some tough away fixtures in freezing temperatures coming up with the return leg against Rubin in Russia on November 4 before going to Ukraine to take on Dynamo Kiev in December.