Stalemate frustrates Panathinaikos and Rubin
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Panathinaikos FC 0-0 FC Rubin Kazan
Neither side could muster enough chances to break the deadlock in Athens with a goalless draw doing Group D's bottom two sides no favours.
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Panathinaikos FC remain bottom of UEFA Champions League Group D after FC Rubin Kazan held their section rivals to a 0-0 draw in a tight encounter in Athens.
Goalscoring opportunities were at a premium though Kurban Berdyev's visitors posed a greater attacking threat. Sergei Kornilenko went close on several occasions while Djibril Cissé cut an isolated figure up front for the hosts, yet both sides could have won it in a frantic finale uncharacteristic of the contest as a whole. Panathinaikos now have a mountainous task to salvage their campaign after collecting one point from three matches. Rubin remain third with two points, three behind FC København.
Having lost to FC Barcelona and FCK, Panathinaikos were eager to get off the mark in the section and they began brightly, controlling the early possession. Shorn of the suspended Gilberto Silva and injury victims Sidney Govou, Sotiris Ninis and Sebastian Leto, however, the Greens struggled to fashion chances. It was not until the 17th minute that they threatened when Stergos Marinos' dangerous cross was diverted over by a combination of Cissé and César Navas.
Rubin's first opening came seven minutes later when Kornilenko headed Bebars Natcho's corner narrowly wide. Berdyev's team grew in confidence as the half unfolded and Panathinaikos had Loukas Vyntra to thank after he diverted Kornilenko's goal-bound shot behind, with home keeper Alexandros Tzorvas then making a smart save from Alan Kasaev's strike from distance.
Panathinaikos's best hopes of a goal seemed to rest on the right flank, and Cissé missed an opportunity to break the deadlock when he headed Vyntra's inviting centre wide a minute before half-time. Nikos Nioplias sought to inject some pace after the interval, introducing both Lazaros Christodoulopoulos and Damien Plessis. But it was the visitors who remained more menacing going forward, Tzorvas again showing excellent reflexes to push a Kasaev shot around the post on 64 minutes.
Cissé thought he had done the trick for the hosts 13 minutes from time but the former Liverpool FC striker was flagged offside when he headed Christodoulopoulos' free-kick beyond Sergei Ryzhikov. Nioplias handed 16-year-old midfielder Charis Mavrias his competition debut – the second youngest player in UEFA Champions League history – but despite late chances for Aleksandr Ryazantsev and Vyntra, the breakthrough did not come. It left the home fans, and both teams, disappointed.