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Juve make point to ensure top billing

Published: Thursday 11 December 2008, 0.53CET
Juventus 0-0 FC BATE Borisov
A second-half penalty miss from Sebastian Giovinco did not prove decisive as Claudio Ranieri's men claimed the point they required to win Group H.
by Richard Aikman
from Stadio Olimpico
Juve make point to ensure top billing
Sebastian Giovinco fires a free-kick over the bar ©Getty Images
Published: Thursday 11 December 2008, 0.53CET

Juve make point to ensure top billing

Juventus 0-0 FC BATE Borisov
A second-half penalty miss from Sebastian Giovinco did not prove decisive as Claudio Ranieri's men claimed the point they required to win Group H.

Juventus could afford a second-half penalty miss from Sebastian Giovinco as they drew 0-0 at home against FC BATE Borisov to progress to the first knockout round as the winners of Group H.

Madrid second
Starting instead of Alessandro Del Piero, the 21-year-old blazed Juve's best chance over the bar with seven minutes of the second half played. Marco Marchionni also went close, hitting the post, as La Vecchia Signora dictated proceedings to maintain their unbeaten record in the competition this season. The two-time winners finish the section level on 12 points with Real Madrid CF, but finish top after beating the Spanish champions home and away.

New-look Juve
With Paolo De Ceglie deployed on the left wing, Marco Marchionni on the opposite flank and Cristiano Zanetti returning from a four-month absence to partner Pavel Nedvěd in the engine room, this new-look Juve team took a while to find their rhythm against a side with nothing to lose – BATE's fourth-place in the group having already been assured. Giovinco impressed with some nice touches and picked out Amauri twice from corners the striker could not direct goalwards early on, as well as firing two efforts just wide himself.

Manninger tested
BATE threatened sporadically themselves, Vitali Rodionov requiring a last-ditch tackle from Nicola Legrottaglie when he surged into the area from the right in the 16th minute and Mikhail Sivakov testing Alex Manninger from range with a low drive midway through the first period. However, it was the Bianconeri who began to dominate as the match wore on, perhaps in the knowledge that Madrid had taken the lead against FC Zenit St. Petersburg to threaten their claims on first place in Group H. The hosts twice picked out Amauri in the area after finding space to cross from the left flank, firstly through Nedvěd and then Cristiano Molinaro, but on both occasions defender Sergei Sosnovski was on hand to make crucial blocks.

Marchionni attempt
Sivakov, at full stretch, could only head straight at Manninger on 50 minutes, while Rodiovov contrived to head over after a delightful move between Sivakov and Sergei Kryvets as BATE made a positive start to the second half. Juve responded by surging upfield and hitting the post, Amauri speeding down the right before finding the unmarked Marchionni who failed to apply the finishing touch. As did Giovinco, as the forward blazed his penalty well over the bar after Kryvets had been penalised for handball. With Madrid now comfortably ahead in Spain, Claudio Ranieri sent Del Piero on, yet still Juve could not find a way past Sergei Veremko, who saved from Nedvěd and then Zanetti.

Bliznyuk shot
BATE could have taken all three points with 13 minutes left when a delightful move down the left resulted in Gennadi Bliznyuk weaving his way past three players, nutmegging Zanetti and poking a shot with the outside of his right boot narrowly wide. Juve responded through Del Piero, who stooped to head Marchionni's right-wing cross goalwards, only for Veremko to save the day once again for Viktor Goncharenko's side.

Last updated: 10/12/08 23.54CET

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