Last-gasp Kuban deny Swans

2013-11-07 21:30
Wilfried Bony (AFP)

Paris - For the second time in two weeks English Premier League outfit Swansea have blown a lead against Kuban Krasnodar by conceding a last-gasp equaliser in the Europa League on Thursday.

Despite playing the last quarter of an hour with 10-men following defender Xandao's red card at the Kuban Stadium in the Circassian city founded by Cossacks at the end of the 18th century, the Russians netted two minutes into injury time through Ibrahima Balde to earn a 1-1 draw.

Ivory Coast forward Wilfried Bony had given the Welsh visitors an early lead but just as Djibril Cisse's penalty at the Liberty Stadium had cost them a win, so too this time Senegal forward Balde's clever lofted finish broke Swans hearts.

A victory would have given Swansea one foot in the knock-out stages but instead they could lose top spot in Group A if Valencia win at St Gallen later on Thursday.

Swansea were off to a dream start as Bony put them ahead after just nine minutes.

A slick passing move that saw the ball seemingly shift between the entire team several times over ended up down the left where Roland Lamah sent over a low cross that Alejandro Pozuelo failed to gather.

But Bony was on hand to control the ball, shift his weight from one side to the other, and then fire home a low shot behind the diving Aleksandr Belenov.

By then Kuban could have been a goal to the good themselves but former Liverpool striker Cisse's finish from a good position was weak and straight at Michel Vorm.

For all the Welsh side's attractive build-up play it was the hosts who should have at least been on level terms at the break but Ivelin Popov wasted a pair of good chances, blazing his first shot high over the bar while skewing his second well wide of the post.

Kuban had the ball in the net early in the second period but Cisse's fine low strike was chalked off as he was well offside.

Having dominated large spells with their intricate possession football, Swansea were now hanging on.

Cisse showed great strength to hold off Ben Davies before turning on the edge of the box and fizzing a shot just beyond the far upright.

It looked for all intent and purposes as if a goal was coming but the Russians shot themselves in the foot moments later as Brazilian Xandao picked up a second yellow card for a foul on Alvaro Vazquez and was promptly sent off.

Kuban didn't give up, though, and Popov's flick over the defence beat Ashley Williams and Balde ran on to chip Vorm from a tight angle to snatch a share of the spoils.

In another Anglo-Russian clash, Rubin Kazan opened a clear gap at the top of Group D with a 1-0 win over second-placed Wigan, although the Championship outfit are likely to drop down.

Full-back Oleg Kuzmin hit the winner midway through the first period after escaping down the right and finding acres of space behind the Wigan backline.

Wigan will drop to third if NK Maribor beat Zulte-Waregem in the other match.


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