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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kazan Hits the Big Time With Barca Upset

APFC Barcelona's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, second left, dueling for the ball with Rubin Kazan's Roman Sharonov, left, during a Group F Champions League first leg soccer match at the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009.

MOSCOW — After only six seasons playing top-division football, Russian club Rubin Kazan has made the big time.

The tiny team, which was founded in 1958 and spent most of its history in the lower divisions, pulled off the biggest shock of this year's Champions League on Tuesday by beating defending European Cup champion Barcelona 2-1 in Spain.

"The inhuman stamina of the team was an inspiration," the Sovietsky Sport daily wrote Wednesday. "To play against Barca is to become Barca."

Aleksandr Ryazantsev and Gokdeniz Karadeniz scored a goal each at the Camp Nou stadium, while the defense was able to hold Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta in check long enough for the team to record its first-ever win in Europe's top club competition.

"I guess that Barca would have found it easier if we'd come out to play toe-to-toe with them, but it was always our intention to defend in numbers and hit on the break," Rubin forward Alejandro Dominguez said. "Now we can expect a huge welcome home, not just from Rubin fans but from all Russia because this was a historic win."

Once the victory was secured, the street party started in Kazan. The capital of the mostly Muslim Tatarstan region in the central part of European Russia is one of the country's largest cities, with more than 1 million inhabitants.

"This is an incredible day for our football that will go down in history," Tatarstan tourism minister Marat Bariyev said.

Rubin pulled off the feat despite being outshot 24 to 3. The only one that managed to elude Rubin goalkeeper Sergei Ryzhikov was a shot from Zlatan Ibrahimovic early in the second half.

"Awesome!!!" headlined the daily Sport-Express, which called Barcelona "the nuclear weapon of modern football." 
Rubin, which never played in the old Soviet Union league's top division, was promoted to the Russia Premier League in 2003 and finished third that season. After a 10th-place finish in 2007, the team won its first ever league title in 2008.

In European competition, Rubin twice played in the UEFA Cup, losing in the qualifying round in 2004 and then falling in the first round in 2006. 
But the team's debut in the Champions League had already produced a surprising result before the win at Barcelona, with Rubin holding Italian champion Inter Milan to a 1-1 draw in Kazan on Sept. 29.

The four points earned from three games have put Rubin into a tie for first place in Group F, level with Barcelona and Dynamo Kiev. Inter is last with three points. Only the top two teams in the group advance to the knockout stage.

Rubin will get a chance to move ahead of Barcelona on Nov. 4 when the Spanish team visits Kazan.

"We've beaten one of the great teams in the world," Ryazantsev said, "and I don't see why we can't do the same thing in the next match when they come to Russia."