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    TV: Highlights from Kuban Stadium

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    TV: McCall takes positives from defeat

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    FC Kuban Krasnodar 1 – 0 Motherwell

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    Gallery: ‘Well prepare for Kuban

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    TV: McCall aiming for upset

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    TV: Highlights from Rugby Park

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    Kilmarnock U20s 0 – 1 Motherwell U20s

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    TV: Highlights from Easter Road

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    TV: Anier delight at winning goal

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    TV: McCall pleased with impact subs

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    TV: Highlights from Kuban Stadium

    Highlights from the Kuban Stadium as an unfortunate Stephen McManus own goal hands Kuban a 1-0 victory.

    -WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS ON MFC TV-

    MFC TV

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    TV: McCall takes positives from defeat

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall was proud if his side despite crashing out of the UEFA Europa League in Russia.

    The Fir Parkers battled bravely all night, but were undone by an unfortunate own goal by the otherwise excellent Stephen McManus.

    It was always going to be a tough ask for the Steelmen; Kuban’s football budget reportedly being twenty times that of last season’s SPL runners-up.

    But Scotland coach McCall was adamant he would take positives from the performance into Sunday’s Premiership match with Aberdeen.

    “I was proud of them,” he said. “It was a good effort. I have watched them four times and I watched them on Sunday against Spartak (Moscow), and they are a really good side.

    [pullquote]Their opportunities came from two or three of our errors, they didn’t really cut us open. I have seen them cut some really good teams open.[/pullquote]

    “They are talking about (Ibrahima) Balde going for £10-11million and the boy in the middle (Charles Kabore) for £7-8m.

    “The focus was the game, to get to half-time and be in the game and then, if we can get ahead, start thinking about the tie.

    “Their opportunities came from two or three of our errors, they didn’t really cut us open. I have seen them cut some really good teams open.

    “Then they got the goal and we rocked for about five minutes but we battled away and it would have been the icing on the cake if we had scored at the end.

    “Bob’s disappointed and Mick (McManus) is disappointed but they have no need — people miss penalties and score own goals. It’s part of football.”

    -WATCH HIS INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    FC Kuban Krasnodar 1 – 0 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    Gavin McCafferty at the Kuban Stadium

    A brave Motherwell side battled hard but went down 1-0 to Kuban Krasnodar in Russia to exit the UEFA Europa league.

    The Lanarkshire side were relatively comfortable, without having seriously threatened to cut their 2-0 first-leg deficit, before McManus headed into his own net five minutes into the second half.

    Motherwell, who were without three key attacking players, had the perfect chance to level in the final minute after Djibril Cissè handled Stevie Hammell’s free-kick but substitute McHugh saw his effort saved.

    Their small band of fans at least had something to celebrate earlier when Gunnar Nielsen marked his debut with an excellent 75th-minute penalty save from Charles Kaborè.

    With a six-and-a-half-hour flight after the game, Motherwell manager Stuart McCall took the bold decision to leave key attacking players James McFadden, John Sutton and Iain Vigurs in Scotland to prevent them aggravating muscle injuries ahead of Sunday’s SPFL Premiership clash with Aberdeen.

    McCall insisted he was not being defeatist and the decision allowed him to pick a team more suited to tracking and pressing the opposition.

    Full-backs Fraser Kerr and Zaine Francis-Angol came in on the flanks of Motherwell’s five-man midfield with the energetic Stuart Carswell in the middle, while the hard-working Henri Anier would be asked to plough the lone furrow up front.

    About 50 Motherwell fans who had overcome the visa and travel difficulties were treated to some pre-match Cossack sword-fighting and dancing as the hosts marked their home European debut in style.

    The scale of Motherwell’s task was highlighted by the fact Kuban have not been beaten in the Russian Premier League since November last year, but the visitors made a composed start.

    The home side only made sporadic bursts forward in the opening quarter. David Tsoraev looped a header over following Ibrahima Balde’s clipped cross and Kabore charged into the box and cut the ball back but Anton Sosnin could not keep his volley down.

    Motherwell almost got in behind the hosts twice with Francis-Angol threatening to break clear until he was caught up, before Anier’s driven cross was deflected just wide after he pounced on a short header back.

    Balde almost got through on goal three times from Kabore balls but Motherwell survived each time and Nielsen made his first save in the 36th minute when he got down to hold Balde’s long-range strike.

    Kuban pushed Motherwell back for longer spells as the half progressed but Nielsen was not troubled again.

    It was so far so good for McCall’s plan to keep it tight and try to steal the opening goal before throwing everything forward in the final stages, but a decent start to the second half was punctured by McManus’s misjudgement.

    Left-back Roman Bugaev sent over a cross into the six-yard box but there was little apparent danger and McManus, facing his goal and under little pressure, headed straight into the top corner as he tried to clear over the bar. In defence of the defender, the ball was dropping at an awkward angle and it was obvious he was trying to scoop his header over the crossbar.

    Nielsen soon produced an excellent one-handed save to push away a 25-yard strike by Marcos Urena and then held Balde’s curling effort as the hosts stepped up a gear.

    But Motherwell threatened when Kerr got round the outside following Paul Lawson’s diagonal ball and crossed for Anier, who turned his man but was closed down as he shot, before Keith Lasley saw his follow-up shot charged down.

    McCall made a double switch with 20 minutes left but there was no change in tactics as McHugh replaced Anier and Adam Cummins came into the midfield anchor role for Lawson.

    Nielsen got his chance to shine when Hutchinson caught Balde after some quick feet from the Senegal striker. Kabore hit the penalty low and hard to the right of Nielsen but the Faroe Islands international got down quickly and produced a strong hand to push the ball away.

    Motherwell then looked set to end their European adventure on a further high but Aleksandr Belenov dived to his left to push away McHugh’s powerful spot-kick to make it seven consecutive European games without a goal for the Steelmen.

    Despite the defeat, McCall and his squad will no doubt take positives from the performance into Sunday’s clash with the Dons.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Alan Burrows at the Kuban Stadium

    FT: Kuban 1 – 0 Motherwell. Own goal on the 50th minute by McManus splits the teams. Both teams miss penalties via Kabore and McHugh.

    90mins: Missed by McHugh… Great save frmo Belenov to be fair. Still 1-0 Kuban and Motherwell’s Euro goal drought continues 🙁

    90mins: Penalty for Motherwell!

    83mins: Hammell booked for a trip at the edge of the box. Free-kick to the home side.

    82mins: Kuban introduce young Bezlikhotnov is on, Tsoraev is the man off.

    78mins: It’s Craig Moore’s top team debut for the Steelmen tonight too. Deserves it for how hard he has worked!

    78mins: Last sub for the Steelmen. Skipper Keith Lasley is off and is replaced by Craig Moore.

    75mins: Sub for Kuban. Balde is coming off and is replaced by Djibril Cisse…

    72mins: Penalty for Kuban..; Hutchinson fouls Balde inside the box. Kabore to take! Saved by Gunnar Nielsen (who has been brilliant tonight). Low to his right, the big stopper gets down brilliantly well.

    70mins: They will replace Anier (who has ran his backside off) and Paul Lawson who has given everything!

    70mins: Motherwell are going to make a couple of changes. McHugh and Cummins ready to come on for the visitors.

    66mins: Good chance passed up by ‘Well. Kerr cross finds Anier in the box. He turns ‘Well and should tee up Lasley but shot is blocked.

    65mins: Official attendance for tonight’s match is announced as 31,000…

    64mins: Sub Zhavnerchik gets his first real touch but sends a low shot way wide of goal…

    60mins: Sub for Kuban – Zhavnerchik comes on in place of the impressive Urena. 1-0 to Kuban…

    58mins: Another good save by Nielsen, this time from Balde low to his right. Big stopper has looked very solid indeed…

    55mins: Motherwell have a half decent look at goal. Carswell collects 30 yards out but his strike goes over the bar. Still 1-0 Kuban here.

    54mins: Another long range hit from Kuban – midfielder Kabore trying his luck again but it was way wide…

    51mins: What a fantastic save by Gunnar Nielsen. The big GK at full stretch to turn a Urena piledriver over the crossbar.

    50mins: It was Bugaev’s super cross from the left. The big defender was caught in two minds in front of the ‘keeper. Really sore on ‘Well…

    GOAL Krasnodar! Own goal from Stephen McManus (who has been fantastic too). 1-0 to the Russians.

    46mins: Motherwell get the second half going… Good luck to the lads and #COYW

    HT: Teams are out… Motherwell will get this second half underway Doesn’t look like any changes for the second half.

    HT: You’d imagine the manager will keep it the same for a time in the second half then really go for it last half hour or so…

    HT: Kuban Krasnodar 0 – 0 Motherwell. Steelmen have battled well. Not really been troubled too much to be honest.

    40mins: Resulting free-kick is taken by Balde but it’s poor, sailing way over the bar. Still 0-0 here in Russia…

    39mins: Lawson gives the ball away in the middle of the park. Kabore picks up but is fouled by Hutchinson. Defender goes into the book.

    35mins: Kuban get their first real shot on target, Balde’s low effort is routine for the big goalkeeper to clutch low to his right.

    33mins: At the other end, Kuban have had a lot in and around the box but Gunnar not had too much to do. Hopefully that continues for the GK.

    32mins: About thirteen minutes to the break. Motherwell doing okay here. Very much in the game but not really causing home side problems.

    24mins: A long-range shot from Urena looked troubling at first but it ends up high and wide of Nielsen’s post…

    22mins: It’s end to end stuff at the moment. Balde put in with another good ball. His attempted shot was blocked well by Hutchinson. Corner.

    20mins: Anier bursts into the box. He looks to cut it back but it hits Bugaev and smashes into the side net. Corner Motherwell!

    19mins: Another wee half sight from Kuban – Tsoraev fires a shot from about 30 yards but it sails high over the bar. No trouble for Nielsen.

    17mins: Almost immediately, Kuban are almost in through Balde but he takes a heavy touch and Nielsen is out to smother.

    16mins: Our first real venture up the park. Anier plays in ZFA but he was caught just as he was about to pull the trigger… Frustrating.

    16mins: On the park, Kuban enjoying most of the ball. ‘Well defence and midfield just about holding it together at the moment…

    15mins: Attention distracted here in the press box by perhaps the biggest mosquito you can imagine. More like a Seagull 😮 #hide

    13mins: Good chance for Kuban to take the lead. Neat play on the left flank. Kabore’s cut back to Sosnin is good but he blazes over…

    11mins: Motherwell doing okay at the moment. Keeping hold of the ball fairly well. Not really causing the home side any problems though.

    7mins: First half chance of the match drops to Kuban. Balde’s cross towards the back post is headed over by Tsoraev…

    3mins: Both teams trading possession – nothing much of note thus far. Home fans are in good form. Yellow and Green is the chant (apparently)

    1mins: Kuban kick-off, shooting right to left (towards ‘Well fans) when you look from the camera side…

    Teams are out – photos taken and Las and Belenov now exchange gifts before we get going… Looks like it’s the home side to kick off!

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “I was proud of them. It was a good effort. I have watched them four times and I watched them on Sunday against Spartak (Moscow), and they are a really good side.

    “They are talking about (Ibrahima) Balde going for £10-11million and the boy in the middle (Charles Kabore) for £7-8m.

    “The focus was the game, to get to half-time and be in the game and then, if we can get ahead, start thinking about the tie.

    “Their opportunities came from two or three of our errors, they didn’t really cut us open. I have seen them cut some really good teams open.

    “Then they got the goal and we rocked for about five minutes but we battled away and it would have been the icing on the cake if we had scored at the end.

    “Bob’s disappointed and Mick (McManus) is disappointed but they have no need — people miss penalties and score own goals. It’s part of football.”

    FC Kuban manager Dorinel Munteanu:

    “It is worth noting that this was the fourth match in a very difficult run of games.

    “So we had to give it much consideration and treat the opponents with respect. The opposing team had some chances may have wished to use them, so we started the game very carefully. Basically, trying not to give your opponent a chance.

    “Motherwell could have scored from the penalty spot themselves, but that did not happen.

    “Nevertheless, we should not belittle the level of the opponent. Still, this is a team that finished second in the championship after Scotland’s Celtic, the team is quite a decent level so you had to play and rigorously fulfill the task – to pass to the next round.

    “In the next stage, we will see even more serious contender, we will prepare for it.”

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”152″]

  • Archive

    Gallery: ‘Well prepare for Kuban

    Motherwell arrive in Russia and prepare for the Europa League Second Qualifying Round, Second Leg.

    [svgallery name=”kubantraining070813″]

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    TV: McCall aiming for upset

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall is in Russia to win despite missing three tops stars to injury.

    James McFadden, striker John Sutton and Iain Vigurs have all stayed back in Scotland after picking up knocks.

    The Fir Park boss admitted that in other circumstances, he may have risked them but the length of travel influenced his decision.

    However, that hasn’t dampened ambitions. The 40-times capped former Scotland midfielder is in Russia to win and is hoping an early goal can set his side on the way.

    [pullquote]We are here to be competitive and we want to win the game. The aim is to get the first goal and see where we go from there.[/pullquote]

    Speaking to MFC TV as his side trained at Kuban Krasnodar’s stadium ahead of the match, he said: “Faddy, Vigs and Sutty haven’t travelled as all three are carrying little injuries that would be affected not so much by the game but by the lengthy travel.

    “I spoke to the physio John Porteous and we both agreed it would be better if they stayed at home.

    “Having said that, we are here to be competitive and we want to win the game. The aim is to get the first goal and see where we go from there.

    “There is certainly no defeatist attitude amongst the squad, we have proved already when we go away in Europe that we can give it a go.”

    -WATCH HIS INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    TV: Highlights from Rugby Park

    Highlights from Rugby Park as a late Steven Higgins goal gives Motherwell U20s all three points against Kilmarnock.

    -WATCH THE FULL HIGHLIGHTS ONLY ON MFC TV-

    MFC TV

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    Kilmarnock U20s 0 – 1 Motherwell U20s

    Graham Barnstaple at Rugby Park

    Motherwell kicked off the new SPFL Under 20 season with a deserved 1-0 victory at Rugby Park.

    ‘Well substitute Steven Higgins was only on the park for fourteen minutes when he netted the game’s only goal just three minutes from full-time.

    Under 20s boss Jonatan Johanssen fielded a team short of first-team experience with Adam Cummins the only player who could count on any action with Stuart McCall’s side.

    Others like Lee Erwin and Craig Moore have been on the bench and played in pre-season matches this season and were looking to impress the watching Motherwell management team.

    The sides traded early chances with Cummins heading straight at Antonio Reguero for ‘Well whilst a long-range effort from Ross Davidson was straight at Ross Stewart.

    Tricky winger Dom Thomas was impressing for the visitors and his shot from 18-yards was well held Killie’s Spanish goalkeeper.

    The youngster then sent in a peach of a cross that the sliding Craig Moore could only touch agonisingly past the front post.

    It took Killie thirty minutes to create their first real chance when Greg Kiltie created space for himself in the box but Stewart turned his shot round the post.

    The Fir Park stopper then had to look lively from the resultant corner as he got down low to keep out a shot from Adam Hodge.

    The double chance gave the home side a lift and striker Robbie Muirhead created a couple of chances for himself. Firstly, he slipped past two defenders only to shoot wide from about ten yards out then, moments late, after creating space on the left edge of the box, his fierce drive was palmed away by the impressive Stewart.

    Motherwell responded with a couple of near things in the closing two minutes of the first half. Lee Erwin created space for himself by beating two defenders on the byline but his effort lacked the desired power.

    Then, with virtually the last kick of the half, the striker saw a free kick turned over the cross bar by Reguero.

    Motherwell started the second half brightly, putting pressure on Reguero’s goal almost immediately. The keeper pulled off an acrobatic save to deny Morgyn Neill at the back post, although the defender was adjudged to have been offside.

    The keeper then had to be at his best once again a minute later, this time tipping Moore’s header over for a corner.

    Killie’s response was to throw on Manuel Pascali as a sub, and almost right away they had a decent effort at goal when an O’Hara shot sailed just wide.

    Play switched back to the other end and once again the home side had to be grateful to their keeper as he kept out Moore’s 20-yard shot.

    Killie were forced to play out the last ten minutes with only ten men when O’Hara was forced to limp off after all three subs had been committed.

    This allowed Motherwell to snatch a deserved win with only three minutes left on the clock.

    Sub Steven Higgins ran on to a through ball which sent him clear one on one with Reguero and he kept his cool to slam a low shot into the bottom corner to seal all three points.

    Kilmarnock: Reguero, Trialist, Thomson (Pascali), Slater, Hodge, Syme, Whittaker (Hainey), Davidson, Muirhead, O’Hara, Kiltie (McEvoy).

    Subs Not Used: MacKay, Hawkshaw

    Motherwell: Stewart, Ferguson, Kellock, Cummins (Johnstone), Neill, McCafferty, Thomas, Leitch, Erwin (Higgins), Moore (Shirkie), Cadden.

    Subs Not Used: Currie

    Ref: Craig Napier

  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from Easter Road

    Highlights from Easter Road as Motherwell kick-off the new SPFL Premiership season with a 1-0 win over Hibs.

    -WATCH THE FULL HIGHLIGHTS ONLY ON MFC TV-

    MFC TV

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    TV: Anier delight at winning goal

    Estonian International Henri Anier was thrilled with his first goal for the club which handed ‘Well all three points against Hibs.

    The former Sampdoria and Viking Stavanger forward was only on the part for 14 minutes when he pounced, latching on to a powering Shaun Hutchinson header to slot it coolly past Williams in the home goal.

    The 22-year old could barely contain his excitement as he was mobbed by his teammates and speaking to MFC TV after the match, he admitted he is pushing for a spot in the starting eleven.

    [pullquote]That’s what my game is based on; finding the space in behind the defence. Thankfully the ball has come over the top and I managed to score.[/pullquote]

    He said: “I’m really happy that the manager brought me on and I scored but most of all I’m happy with the three points.

    “I saw a gap behind the defence (after Hutchinson’s header) and thought I’d go for it.

    “That’s what my game is based on; finding the space in behind the defence. Thankfully the ball has come over the top and I managed to score.

    “Hopefully I can push for a starting spot but I’m concentrating more on working hard in training and seeing what the manager thinks.”

    -WATCH HIS INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    TV: McCall pleased with impact subs

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall lauded the impact of his substitutions as ‘Well edged out Hibs 1-0 at Easter Road.

    McCall introduced internationals Henri Anier and Zaine Francis-Angol and both would play their part in the win.

    Antiguan Francis-Angol gave ‘Well additional pace and width on the flanks and Estonian Anier scored the winner, racing clear and slotting past Williams with just six minutes left on the clock.

    And McCall praised his side, who showed fantastic resilience after a gruelling battle against FC Kuban Krasnodar on Thursday night.

    [pullquote]When you make substitutions you want your substitutes to come on and have an impact, and obviously Henri did that.[/pullquote]

    “(I’m) delighted. I thought they started better but then I thought we controlled large parts without being dangerous,” he said.

    “And I thought in the second half the game on Thursday caught up with some of the lads, I thought we looked leg weary at times and I think the three substitutes helped gives us a bit of freshness.

    “When you make substitutions you want your substitutes to come on and have an impact, and obviously Henri did that.

    “So I’m really pleased with the victory, naturally, and a good start for the campaign.”

    -WATCH HIS INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV