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    ‘Well and Breathing Space team up again

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    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

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    Aberdeen defeat in pictures

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    TV: McCall wants ‘Well reaction

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    Motherwell 1 – 3 Aberdeen

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    TV: Fresh approach for McCall

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    Aberdeen Matchday Magazine Preview

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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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    ‘Well and Breathing Space team up again

    Motherwell FC and Breathing Space, Scotland’s mental health helpline, have renewed their partnership for the 2013-14 season.

    Steelmen boss Stuart McCall said: “I’m delighted that we have Breathing Space as our back of shirt sponsors for the third successive season.

    “As a club we are committed to the health and welfare of our fans and the wider community; this partnership is testament to this commitment.

    “Our staff and players will be promoting Breathing Space initiatives throughout the season. Low mood, anxiety and depression can affect us all throughout our lives, so raising awareness of this free helpline makes sense.”

    Breathing Space National Coordinator, Tony McLaren, added: “We are looking forward to working closely with Motherwell FC again. The fans are most certainly at the heart of this club.

    “We are confident that we will have another successful season of raising awareness of the helpline not only within Lanarkshire but across Scotland.”

    Breathing Space handles more than 6000 calls each month.

    The helpline is staffed by over 40 fully trained advisors who take calls relating to a wide range of issues including relationship difficulties, loneliness, isolation, stress, anxiety and bereavement.

    Many people suffering from low mood and depression feel particularly bad in the evenings; as a result the helpline is open from 6pm to 2am Monday to Thursday and 24 hours at the weekend (6pm on Friday to Monday 6am).

    If you think you need breathing space call 0800 83 85 87 or visit www.breathingspacescotland.co.uk for further information. A British Sign Language webcam service can be accessed from the website for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

    Extended highlights from the Fir Park as a leg-weary Motherwell lose to Aberdeen by three goals to one.


    MFC TV

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    Aberdeen defeat in pictures

    Pictures from the 1-3 defeat to Aberdeen in the Scottish Professional Football League Premiership at Fir Park.

    Snaps courtesy of SNSPix and Craig Foy Photography.

    [svgallery name=”aberdeen110813″]

  • Archive

    TV: McCall wants ‘Well reaction

    A defiant Stuart McCall insists his side will bounce back after a disappointing home defeat to Aberdeen.

    It’s the first time the Steelmen have lost on league duty to the Pittodrie club in almost five years and, in fairness, Derek McInnes’ side fully merited their victory.

    Motherwell looked tired almost from the get-go but got themselves in front thanks to another neat Henri Anier finish. However, the Fir Parkers would count the cost after giving away two penalties and a cheap goal from a free kick.

    However, McCall is adamant there is more to come from his side and hopes to prove it, starting with a tough trip north to face Inverness Caley Thistle next weekend.

    [pullquote]If anyone wants to right us off after two matches, that is fine because we’ll be back.[/pullquote]

    “If anyone wants to right us off after two matches, that is fine because we’ll be back,” he told MFC TV after the match.

    “I’ve got a really good dressing room and, already, there is a determination to put things right.

    “We were a bit careless today with the goals we have lost. We’ve given a bad penalty away then it’s a free header from Reynolds for the second.

    “The second penalty is a poor call from the referee, if he’s giving that then we’ll have six every match. That said, that didn’t cause us to lose the game.

    “Our whole focus will now be looking towards the Inverness game and looking to bounce back.”


    MFC TV

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    Motherwell 1 – 3 Aberdeen

    [tab:Match report]

    Phil McGhee at Fir Park

    The midweek efforts in Russia finally caught up with a tired looking Motherwell as they crashed to a 3-1 defeat to Aberdeen.

    Despite holding on to an early Henri Anier goal for almost an hour, three second half goals gave Aberdeen their first league win over ‘Well since November 2008.

    Under the management of Derek McInnes, the new look Aberdeen side proved too strong for a home side feeling the effect of their arduous midweek trip to Krasnador.

    However, after some great defending for the first hour, the Fir Park side contributed to their own downfall with two needless penalties allowing Niall McGinn to grab a double – although the second looked questionable to say the least.

    To add to ‘Well’s woes the other strike came from former defender Mark Reynolds.

    Stuart McCall recalled James McFadden, John Sutton, Lee Hollis and Iain Vigurs, who were rested from the leg weary Russian journey. Henri Anier was rewarded for his winner against Hibs and his perfomance in Krasnador, lining up alongside Sutton in the home attack.

    And the new partnership took less than a minute to pay off. Keith Lasley’s header was chested down by Sutton just outside the box and his turn and reverse pass sent Anier in behind the Dons defence.

    For the second week the Estonian showed great composure in front of goal calmly slotting the ball past Jamie Langfield for a perfect start on his home debut.

    Aberdeen with a host of new summer signings in their line-up came storming back. A superb pass from Willo Flood sent Niall McGinn racing into the box but hispowerful drive was well beaten away by Lee Hollis.

    The Dons came close to the equaliser after 8 minutes when Peter Pawlett skipped past Stephen McManus only to watch his thundering drive rebound off the cross bar.

    Motherwell defended solidly in the first half but were lucky to maintain their lead in the 28th minute. Calvin Zola collected the ballwide left but as everyone waited for a cross the towering striker curled the ball off the face of Hollis’ cross bar.

    At the other end Sutton was leading the line well and his lay offs provided Anier and Zaine Francis-Angol with opportunties to get beyond the visitors defence but without really troubling Langfield.

    The Dons resumed the second half on the front foot andonly a great tackle from McManus denied McGinnfrom 8 yards. From the resultant corner ‘Well raced to the other end but with Lasley and Anier in support Francis-Angol dithered and a great chance was passed up.

    That signalled the start of a brighter spell from the home side and after being tripped outside the box McFadden whipped his free kick high over the bar.

    Aberdeen were then gifted an equaliser after 61 minutes. Stevie Hammell failed to clear his lines at the edge of the box allowing Jonny Hayes to pounce on the loose ball only for McManus trip him and concede a penalty.

    McGinn confidently blasted the spot kick into the top corner to give Aberdeen the impetus especially as the Motherwell players began to tire.

    Fifteen minutes from time Dons grabbed the lead when Hayes curled a free kick into a packed box and Reynolds rose highest to power a header under the cross bar.

    ‘Well retained a glimmer of hope of grabbing an equaliser until the 82nd minute. A fantastic save from Hollis reacting to turn a Josh Magennis behind the post with his foot proved futile.

    From the resultant corner referee John Beaton awarded another penalty indicating that Shaun Hutchinson had been guilty of pulling an Aberdeen jersey.

    Although Hollis guessed correctly diving to his right the pace on McGinn’s spot kick drove the ball into the corner to make it 3-1 and ensure the Dons left with all three points.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Ally Reilly at Fir Park

    FT: Motherwell 1 – 3 Aberdeen

    90mins: 3 minutes added on

    83mins: Motherwell subs, Carswell, McHugh and Kerr in for McFadden, Lasley and Francis-Angol

    82mins: GOAL Aberdeen! Same outcome, McGinn makes it 1-3.

    82mins: Another Penalty to Aberdeen! Looked a soft one. No idea what that was for?!

    81mins: Great save from the feet of Hollis to deny Magennis!!

    75mins: Reynolds makes it 1-2 with a header from 12 yards.

    75mins: Aberdeen have a free kick from wide…. GOAL!

    72mins: Game getting stretched now. Looks like a few tired legs out there.

    70mins: Another Aberdeen sub, Pawlett off for Wilde

    66mins: Hector booked for a dangerous one on Sutton.

    63mins: Aberdeen sub, Magennis on for Zola.

    61mins: GOAL – McGinn fires it into the roof of the net. 1-1

    60mins: Penalty to Aberdeen! Hammell doesn’t clear and McManus gives it away.

    60mins: That’s a good chance there for Zola. Again though he swings at it and it goes wide from 10 yards.

    58mins: Great control there from Kenny Black. Ball comes off the top of the Phil O’Donnell stand and he cushions it perfectly :p

    55mins: Free kick in McFadden territory, but this one is well wide.

    54mins: Half-chance for Anier. Looked to latched onto Hector’s slack header back but Langfield got there first

    53mins: Vigurs booked for a late one.

    52mins: Motherwell break from that but Francis-Angol takes the wrong option when Anier was in plenty of space.

    51mins: Superb defending from McManus as he slides in on McGinn and clears! Inside the box, dangerous situation,

    50mins: Aberdeen sub, Anderson off for Robertson.

    48mins: Zola swipes at fresh air in the box. If he made contact he’d surely have burst the net.

    46mins: And we’re off!

    HT: Motherwell 1 – 0 Aberdeen.

    44mins: Closing stages of the first half then….Motherwell still 1-0 up

    36mins: Yellow card, Flood finds his way into the refs book. His reaction to his tackle on Ramsden did him no favours.

    32mins: Another free-kick for Motherwell. Looks a more promising position….and the less said about the rehearsed set-piece the better :p

    29mins. Aberdeen go close again! This time it’s Zola who see’s his left footed shot crash off the bar.

    26mins: FK to Motherwell some 30 yards out….McFadden clips it into the box but Reynolds heads clear.

    24mins: Anderson almost sticks the ball in his own net for what would have been a spectacular own goal. Goes narrowly past for a corner.

    17mins: Feels like The Dons are working their way into this. Ryan Jack curls a shot just wide from 20 yards.

    11mins: Corner to ‘Well. Francis-Angol’s cross deflected wide……Aberdeen clear.

    9mins: Pawlett hits the bar! Looked like the sliding Shaun Hutchinson did enough to divert it onto it,

    7mins: McGinn looking a threat. Latched on to a perfectly weighted through ball and fired straight at Hollis from an awkward position.

    5mins: Bit of a scare there for the ‘Well fans as Pawlett chases down Hutchinson’s backpass. Hollis gets there first and clears.

    4mins: McGinn and Zola combine well in the Motherwell box. Thankfully McGinn slices his effort well wide from 15 yards.

    1min: It’s 1-0 to Motherwell! Lovely reverse pass from Sutton to slot in ANIER who slides it home with style!

    1min: GOOOAALLLL!!!

    1min: And we’re off! #COYW

    Moments away from kick-off as Lasley and Anderson contest the coin toss.


    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “I don’t want to make any excuse but I know what it was like last season against St Mirren (following a Europa League game at Levante) when we were hanging on with 20 minutes to go.

    “I thought, to get anything out the game, we needed to be going into the last 20 minutes ahead.

    “It’s only natural, you get back in your bed at seven o’clock in the morning after the flight. If you’re still in there you can dog it out, but when you lose two goals like that, you could see the lift they got and we looked a bit leg-weary.

    “The better team won. You can’t afford to gift teams goals, especially good teams like Aberdeen who have threats all over the park.

    “Having said that, the third goal, if that’s a penalty then there’s six or seven penalties in a game.

    “But that’s not why we lost. We conceded two poor goals in quick succession.”

    Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes:

    “It wasn’t the start we wanted but I thought it was a foul leading up to their goal, a Motherwell player jumped right into Joe Shaughnessy.

    “But I thought our response was excellent. Even at half-time, we could easily have felt sorry for ourselves, in the fact we passed up a couple of opportunities and hit the bar twice.

    “They got their just rewards. It was a good strong performance with the right level of mentality.

    “They don’t need to show me we have good players, I know I have good players, it’s the other side we will need to show.

    “We will need to come from behind again and at no point did I feel we were ever going to give up the ghost. It was an immediate response and there was some real good play in the first half.”


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  • Archive

    TV: Fresh approach for McCall

    Stuart McCall says his players are feeling fresh and raring to go ahead of Sunday’s visit of Aberdeen.

    The Steelmen were in Russia on Thursday to face FC Kuban Krasnodar in Europa League action, but didn’t get back into the country until 6am on Friday morning.

    However, the manager is sure that aside from a couple of itchy mosquito bites, everyone is fit, including the returning Iain Vigurs, John Sutton and James McFadden who all missed the Euro trip nursing knocks.

    [pullquote]Just like the staff, the worst they’ve suffered is mosquito bites who must have had a feast the night we trained in Russia.[/pullquote]

    Speaking to MFC TV, the Fir Park boss said: “I’ve spoke the players and they’ve all said they had a good sleep yesterday.

    “Just like the staff, the worst they’ve suffered is mosquito bites who must have had a feast the night we trained in Russia.

    “I am covered in them and have had to use Calamine lotion to take the itch out. Other than that, everyone is feeling good. We’ve trained well this morning and we now prepare big match against Aberdeen on Sunday.

    “I saw them play last week against Kilmarnock and they performed well. McGinn and Hayes are always capable and Robson and Flood bring them experience, and overall they are a good side but so are we and it’s a game we’re really looking forward to. I

    “I’m sure they’ll bring a huge crowd with them so we need our support to be up for it as well.”


    MFC TV

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    Aberdeen Matchday Magazine Preview

    The first domestic Steelmen Matchday Magazine of 2013/14 is on sale when Aberdeen visit Fir Park on Sunday.

    But what is inside the 68-page issue?

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall and Captain Keith Lasley both return with the regular columns.

    The manager reflects on a busy few weeks at the club and the challenges presented by the Dons, and the skipper gives the view from the dressing room.

    The feature interview is with Fir Park new boy; Aberdeen-born Iain Vigurs. The former Inverness and Ross County man chats in depth to PA’s Gavin McCafferty about his hopes for the new season and his ambitions for his time at Fir Park. There is also the first of a souvenir poster in the centre pages for you to collect.

    But that’s not where the features stop!

    There is a 12-page section dedicated to our visitors, Aberdeen.

    Kris Jack introduces the new-look Dons side and there is a player-by-player breakdown of who is likely to line up in Red.

    New for 2013/14, we catch up with opposition manager Derek McInnes who discusses his hopes for his side and how he aims to try and emulate some of the consistency shown by the Steelmen in recent years.

    We are also delighted to have BBC Radio Scotland’s Richard Gordon on his hopes and aspirations as a self-confessed Dandy.

    Reading hitman Nick Blackman also takes time out to talk to Graeme McGarry about his spells at both Fir Park and Pittodrie.

    The features keep coming…

    The Evening Times’ Bert Mitchell chats to Academy Director Gordon Young about the progress made in the new set-up’s first year.

    Press & Media Manager Alan Burrows returns in ‘The Last Word’ and there is a new quiz, MFC Eggheads, pitting player vs player. The first week is the battle of the strikers with John Sutton taking on Bob McHugh.

    But wait, there’s more! We look back at the fantastic win against Hibs last Sunday and the home Europa League defeat by FC Kuban. There’s a report from the Under 20s opening day success against Kilmarnock, the latest news section as well as an in-depth statistical look at referee Kevin Clancy.

    We have the latest from The Ticket Office, Commercial and Community Departments, and update from the Well Society as well as the latest stats, facts and figures from the 2013/2014 campaign.

    Another new feature is the ‘Junior Steel’ kids page that will test the youngster’s quiz minds with puzzles and ‘Did you know’ facts.

    The programme is available for £3 and is will be on sale from the Club Shop as well as the usual sellers located in and around the ground pre-match.

    You can also order back editions or take a season-long subscription to the magazine by visiting the website of our publishers – Curtis-Sports –http://www.curtis-sport.com/

  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from Kuban Stadium

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


    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.”


    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!


    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.”


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