Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Juve, First Place is Closer 0-0 in Russia with Zenit

The Bianconeri played well in the first half, twice hitting the woodwork with Mellberg and Iaquinta, while in the second half the Russians eventually broke out, with Pogrebnyak hitting the post. Ranieri kept the changes to a minimum, and Juve is now mathematically a point away from winning the group.

ST. PETERSBURG (Russia), 25 November 2008 - Juvenutus got a little closer to first place in Group H of the Champions League, but the maths still don't give them any certainty. Because in St. Petersburg, against Zenit, it ended 0-0. If Real Madrid win twice, one more point will be needed, at home against BATE in the next round in Turin. The Bianconeri showed that they had digested - as Ranieri would say - the loss to Inter, playing an excellent first half and then making a good start to the second. Then they blamed tiredness - also because Ranieri kept the changes to a minimum in search of a victory - and they got a fright at the end, when they were shaking, and not just from the bitter Russian cold.

THE SELECTIONS - Ranieri wanted to lock up first place in the group a round early and kept the changes to a minimum. Mellberg replaced Legrottaglie, while Iaquinta took Amauri's place. Camoranesi started the match, as did Nedved and Del Piero. Despite the fact that on Saturday evening they play Reggina in the championship, and that the risk of injury in the Russian cold was higher than usual. But 8 of the 11 who started against Inter were confirmed for this match: the youngsters De Ceglie and Giovinco were on the bench, and the baby Rossi was in the stands. Ranieri wanted to win.

JUVE'S POSTS - Zenit played possession football. Juve created dangers. Danger with Del Piero, who battled away at centre forward, but excelled with his finishing touches, trying to take advantage of the slowness of the Russian central defenders. Zenit, who have already finished their league championship in fifth place, were not in great physical condition. They controlled much of the play - given their position on the table, they had to make a game of it. They needed two wins to qualify: against Juve and Real (at the Bernabeu). A mission almost impossible. But they had to try, or at least follow their game plan. And there is always the qualification for the UEFA Cup within sight. And so you start with some unconvincing lateral moves, while Juve responds dangerously on the counterattack, with sudden raids through the middle of the pitch. The Bianconeri hit the woodwork twice: the outside of a post by Mellberg from a free-kick on the right by Camoranesi, and a second post hit by Iaquinta, off his left foot, from a cross by Molinaro. The third real chance fell to Del Piero, whose close range effort was blocked by Malafeev for a corner. At the end of the half the Russians made their presence felt in Manniger's zone: Tymoschuk went for power from a free-kick, Manniger kept it out for a corner. Then Zenit scored, through Pogrebnyak from a goal mouth scramble, but there was an offside. So the Russians had to start all over again. At the interval it was 0-0. A scoreline that was a little hard on Juventus, the more convincing side.

ZENIT'S POST - Juve also began the second half well. Del Piero controlled the ball on his chest and fired a left-footed shot, which was parried by Malafeev, and Nedved's follow-up went over the bar. Del Piero shot wide with only the goalkeeper to beat, from a cross by Iaquinta from the right. A bad mistake which spoiled a good game from the number ten. Then Zenit stepped up the pressure. And things got difficult. Danny went close to scoring three times: one was well saved by Manniger, another Marchisio came back to cover, and the last chance narrowly missed the target. Then Zenit got their piece of the woodwork. A powerful left-footer by Pogrebnyak from long range: post. Zenit's final assault was full-blooded, but in vain: it ended 0-0.

Source: Gazzetta.it (http://english.gazzetta.it/Football/Primo_Piano/2008/11/25/zenit-juv.shtml)


Anonymous said...

I think Juve should have won the match after their performance in the first half. But a draw will do because Real have a tougher match against Zenit.

Anonymous said...

i agree with you wes.....they go trough very easy in the first round!

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