Holders Atletico Frozen Out by Rubin in Moscow

New York Times
Thursday 21st February, 2013

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Atletico Madrid’s bid for a second successive Europa League crown ended in freezing Moscow on Thursday when they only managed a 1-0 win over Rubin Kazan in their last-32 second-leg match and limped out 2-1 on aggregate.

A 2-0 success for the Russian side in last week’s first leg in Madrid, including a second goal in the fifth minute of added time, had left Diego Simeone’s team with a difficult task on the artificial pitch at a near-empty Luzhniki Stadium.

The Argentine coach decided to leave a host of regular starters back in Spain, suggesting the club are focusing on maintaining second spot in La Liga and securing a berth in the more prestigious Champions League next term.

Atletico missed the creativity of Arda Turan and Koke and although striker Radamel Falcao twice went close they struggled to break through the massed ranks of Rubin defenders until six minutes from time.

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