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Motherwell crash out in Russia
Stephen McManus scored an own goal and Bob McHugh missed a penalty as Motherwell lost 1-0 to Kuban Krasnodar to exit the Europa League in Russia.
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 Cisse 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 a 75th-minute penalty save from Charles Kabore.
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 issues ahead of Sunday's Scottish 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 came in 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.
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