Kazakhstan footballer took failed drugs test before heroic goals in draw against Ukraine – but club only knew a day after the game
Midfielder Ruslan Valiullin was the hero of the hour for Kazakhstan after netting both of their goals in a 2-2 draw at home to Oleksandr Petrakov's side on September 1, including a 74th-minute leveler and another dramatic equalizer with the last kick of the game after Danylo Sikan looked to have sealed victory for Ukraine by scoring in the 93rd minute.
UEFA has now opened disciplinary proceedings over a drugs check the player is said to have failed on August 12, taking the test after his club team, Kazakhstan Premier League leaders Tobol, lost 5-0 at Slovak opponents Zilina to crash out of Europa Conference League qualifying.
"He says that he did not know [the drug was in his system]," Azamat Aytkhozhin, of the Kazakhstan Football Federation (KFF), told RIA, discussing the circumstances around the prohibited substance being detected.
⚽️ 90+3' Danylo Sikan puts Ukraine 2-1 up against Kazakhstan⚽️ 90+6' Ruslan Valiullin equalises for Kazakhstan with almost the last kick of the gameIt's all about the late drama in Nur-Sultan!Football, ey? 😍#KAZUKRpic.twitter.com/HNxiaFwBeg— William Hill (@WilliamHill) September 1, 2021
An interlocuter was quoted to have told the agency: “The club is preparing an official paper but the national team has nothing to do with this. This is a club story.
"The document [about a positive doping test] came to us on September 2 – that is, the day after the match with the Ukrainians.
"In that game, Valiullin suffered an adductor muscle injury, which is why he did not take part in the next games of the national team [losing 1-0 in Finland and drawing 2-2 away to Bosnia and Herzegovina].
Ruslan Valiullin Vs Ukraine by numbers:90' minutes played2 goals2 clearances2 blocked shots2 tackles4 ground duels won51 touches27 Acc. passes93% pass rate1 key passes2 succ long balls 2 shots on targetOutstanding performance. pic.twitter.com/PmAOaFdogp— Stats Prince (@StatsPrince) September 1, 2021
"He was at the disposal of the team but was being treated. Now Valiullin is already [back with] the club."
Ukraine endured a frustrating week as they extended their record of stalemates in all five of their World Cup qualifiers in the current campaign.
Petrakov saw his players take the lead against World Cup holders France before drawing 1-1, and a 93rd-minute equalizer for the Czech Republic meant they missed out on a win in Plzen in agonizing style.
OH MY GOD KAZAKHSTAN EQUALIZER IN THE 96TH MINUTE!!!!! Ukraine is, in fact, not back. Long ball flicked on and a fabulous finish by Valiullin for his second of the night— Liam (@AaronsonBurner) September 1, 2021
"We drew there and lost two important points," Petrakov told reporters when he was asked about Valiullin's positive test. "I'm not used to building my happiness on someone else's misfortune."
The Blue and Yellow would be outright second in their group behind France had they won in Kazakhstan, but could now be overtaken by Finland and Bosnia and Herzegovina, both of whom have a game in hand on them.
“[We] received information about the initiation of a disciplinary case by UEFA connected with a possible violation of anti-doping rules by Ruslan Valiullin," Tobol confirmed.
Kazakhstan vs Ukraine -2 goals in the 90th minute 🤯Ukraine thought they won Itbut a Valiullin brace has gotKazakhstan a deserved point.You’ve got to love international football.#WCQ— Kieran (@The_Irishkieran) September 1, 2021
"All information has been communicated to the [relevant] persons inside the club; at the moment, an internal check is underway to determine how the prohibited substances could have got into the football player's blood.
"The result of the test was sent to the player on September 2, when the player was already on his way to Finland as part of the delegation of the Kazakhstan national team."
Valiullin has won three caps for his nation since his debut against France in March and is closing in on 50 appearances for Tobol, who he joined in 2019.Also on rt.com ‘Be proud of who you are’: Rio Ferdinand reveals gay Premier League player was advised against ‘coming out’ by lawyer