ST PETERSBURG - Zenit St Petersburg were held to a 0-0 home draw by Juventus on Tuesday as their hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout round faded away. The Italians, who had already qualified for the last 16, dominated in the first half and hit the post twice as the temperatures dipped below zero in Russia's second city. The home side, who had a goal disallowed for offside in the first half, increased the pressure after the interval but wasted a number of chances. Real Madrid beat Champions League debutants BATE Borisov 1-0 later on Tuesday to join Juve in the last 16 from Group H, leaving Zenit in third place and a consolation of qualifying for the UEFA Cup. Zenit coach Dick Advocaat, who had predicted before the match that his team would beat the Italians 1-0, rued the spurned chances. "Juventus is a top-class team and the draw was a fair result," the Dutchman told reporters. "But obviously we're all disappointed. We've played well in almost all our Champions League matches but came away with only five points out of 15. I feel we deserve better than that." MISSING SEVEN Juve, who were missing seven key players through injury including goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, midfielder Cristiano Zanetti and striker David Trezeguet, hit the post twice in the first 22 minutes. Defender Olof Mellberg struck the woodwork with a header from close range following a Mauro Camoranesi free kick. Then, Vincenzo Iaquinta was denied after a neat exchange between Pavel Nedved and Zdenek Grygera on the left. Alessandro Del Piero, who gave Juve a 1-0 win over Zenit in their first match in Turin in September, tested goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeyev with a powerful drive from the edge of the box right after the interval. The Juve captain also wasted an excellent chance 10 minutes later after being left unmarked with the goal at his mercy. UEFA Cup winners Zenit, who had trouble penetrating a tight Juventus defence in the first half, went close to breaking the deadlock twice in less than two minutes after the break. First, Portugal international Danny wasted a golden chance in the 66th minute before Russia striker Pavel Pogrebnyak hit the post with a low drive a minute later. Danny, Zenit's record 30 million euro signing from Dynamo Moscow this summer, missed the last scoring opportunity late in the match when his low shot just went wide off the far post.
25 November 2008
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