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Panathinaikos stay cool under Rubin fire

FC Rubin Kazan 0-0 Panathinaikos FC
The reigning Russian champions made their visitors sweat at times in chilly Tatarstan but found Alexandros Tzorvas's goal well guarded.

Panathinaikos stay cool under Rubin fire
Panathinaikos stay cool under Rubin fire ©UEFA.com

FC Rubin Kazan and Panathinaikos FC once again played out a goalless draw to leave both clubs with it all to do if they are to qualify for the UEFA Champions League knockout stages.

The reigning Russian champions made most of the running against a cautious Panathinaikos side who rarely threatened. However, wayward finishing cost the hosts, while the visitors had goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas to thank, as he pulled off some key saves to earn the Greens a point.

The teams had played out a goalless draw two weeks ago in Athens, but Panathinaikos had a great opportunity to break the deadlock two minutes into the rematch after Rubin goalkeeper Sergei Ryzhikov picked up a back pass inside his area. However, Djibril Cissé failed to hit the target as Rubin had an early let-off.

That was to be the only sniff of a chance for either team early on as the visitors were content to sit back in numbers, regardless of their predicament at the foot of Group D, while misplaced passes and a lack of creativity severely hampered the hosts.

Kurban Berdyev's men began to pick up the tempo with the half-time break approaching, and had two great opportunities to open the scoring in the space of a minute. Aleksandr Ryzantsev forced Tzorvas into a fine save with a header from close range, and seconds later, Sergei Kornilenko, who scored his first goals in a Rubin shirt at the weekend, glanced another effort just wide.

Rubin continued to dominate after the restart and Ryzantsev had another great opportunity to score on the hour mark, but a heavy touch meant it went begging after he was put clear on goal following Carlos Eduardo's fine return ball.

Berdyev's men laid siege to Panathinaikos's goal as the final whistle approached with Ryzantsev and César Navas spurning great chances as a lack of a cutting edge in front of goal denied Rubin the three points. Both teams will now need a major upturn in fortunes if they are to qualify for the round of 16.