Zenit in goalless draw with Juventus, need miracle in Minsk

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Zenit St Petersburg drew 0-0 with Juventus at home on Tuesday evening, and now must hope for a minor miracle in Minsk to maintain any hope of qualifying for the playoff stages of the Champions League.
MOSCOW, November 25 (RIA Novosti) - Zenit St Petersburg drew 0-0 with Juventus at home on Tuesday evening, and now must hope for a minor miracle in Minsk to maintain any hope of qualifying for the playoff stages of the Champions League.

The match went ahead despite rumors that it was to be postponed following an explosion near Zenit's training ground that killed three people.

Juventus, playing without seven top players, including goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, hit the post twice in the first half. However, Zenit largely dominated the opening 45 minutes, and had a goal ruled out for offside towards the end of the half.

Juventus came out strongly immediately after the break and could have had a goal within seconds of the restart, with Vyacheslav Malafeyev saving a vicious shot from veteran Alessandro Del Piero, the author of the only goal when the two sides clashed in September.

Zenit star Andrei Arshavin looks set for a winter move to Europe, and the match was almost certainly his final home appearance. Anxious to say goodbye with a famous win, the diminutive forward combined well with Pavel Pogrebnyak in the 65th minute to set up a great chance for record club signing Danny, but the Portuguese international was unable to take advantage.

Minutes later, as Zenit continued to press, a long-range Pogrebnyak shot came back off the outside of the post.

Zenit's Dutch trainer Dick Advocaat substituted Arshavin in the 70th minute, replacing him with Viktor Fayzulin, in a move that the commentator on the Russian Sport channel described as "tough to understand."

With less than 10 minutes to play, it was Danny who again found himself in a good shooting position, but his shot trickled agonizingly wide of the far post with the keeper beaten. As time ran out, Zenit forced four corners in a row, but were unable to get a clear shot on goal. There were no more chances for Advocaat's men.

The draw means that unless Belarusian champions BATE Borisov take points off the mighty Real Madrid in Minsk later on Tuesday, the most Zenit can hope for is third place in Group H, and a spot in the playoff stages of the UEFA Cup.

GROUP H

Juventus - 11 (five games)

Real Madrid - 6 (four games)

Zenit - 5 (five games)

BATE Borisov - 2 (four games)

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