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    Zenit in goalless draw in Vladivostok

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    ST. PETERSBURG, July 15 (RIA Novosti) - UEFA Cup holders Zenit St. Petersburg were held to a 0-0 draw by Luch Energiya in Vladivostok on Wednesday in a match that the side's Dutch trainer Dick Advocaat had said was vital to the team's chances of retaining its Premier League title.

    Vladivostok is more than 6,500 km (4,040 miles) from St. Petersburg, and seven hours ahead of Russia's northern capital. The flight between the two cities lasts eight hours, making the game the furthest away league fixture in world soccer.

    Advocaat said before the trip that his side would "live St. Petersburg time" for the duration of the fixture, a policy which had seen them win their last two away games in Vladivostok. Luch Energiya were promoted to the Premier League in 2006.

    However, despite fielding a strong side that included Euro 2008 star Andrei Arshavin, Zenit were unable to break down their opponent's defense. The match took place in a downpour, making life difficult for both sides. Speaking to journalists after the game, Advocaat criticized the condition of the pitch, calling it a "disgrace."

    The result means Zenit remain in 11th place in the league. The Russian soccer authorities postponed a number of the side's matches before their UEFA Cup final against Glasgow Rangers in May, leaving them with a substantial backlog. Zenit are now 12 points behind league-leaders Rubin, with two games in hand.

    One dedicated Zenit fan was reported to have made the journey to Russia's Far East by using a combination of short, cheap train journeys and hitchhiking. The supporter, named only as Ivan on the Zenit fan club website, was said to have spent 19 days traveling to the game.

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