Inter's ten held in Russia
Italian champions Inter Milan were held to a 1-1 draw in their second UEFA Champions League group stage match at Russian champions Rubin Kazan on Tuesday. Argentine striker Alejandro Dominguez scored a superb opener for the hosts, who chalked up their first point in the tournament, while Serbian midfielder Dejan Stankovic was on target for Inter.
"I wish we could get more points from two matches but everything goes as it goes," Inter manager Jose Mourinho said after his side were left on two points from two draws in Group F which also includes Barcelona and Dynamo Kiev. Kazan's good playing was not a surprise for me. They performed very spectacular football in front of their home crowd. Rubin could win but we also had chances to clinch three points. In general I'm satisfied with the result."
The hosts, playing their first ever Champions League game on home turf, made a lively start and Inter, who had three wins and one defeat in six previous matches against Russian opposition, were initially content to sit back. Their cautiousness backfired in the 11th minute, when the mercurial Dominguez received a pass from Alexander Bukharov before dribbling past two Inter defenders and firing a rising shot into the roof of the net past Julio Cesar.
Jose Mourinho's side responded positively, creating several scoring opportunities, but Kazan's Spanish defender Cesar Navas spurned a clear-cut chance to extend his side's lead when he headed Dominguez's cross wide from close range. Inter levelled after 25 minutes, with the unmarked Stankovic heading home Maicon's precise centre from the right flank.
Roared on by a capacity 25,000 crowd, Kazan took the game to their illustrious opponents in the second period and their hopes of victory were boosted when Inter's Mario Balotelli was sent off for a second bookable offence just after the hour-mark.
The Italian champions found themselves pinned back in the game's last 10 minutes and Kazan skipper Sergei Semak came inches away from securing all three points when his right-footed effort from the edge of the six-yard box struck Julio Cesar's left-hand post and rebounded to safety.
"We played with courage and discipline but unfortunately missed our chances in the second half," Rubin coach Kurban Berdyev said. "I'm happy with my players' creative performance tonight but a little bit upset with the result. We need to keep on working hard to keep alive our chances for a place in the play-offs."