Monaco and Zenit draw 0-0 in Champs League
Oct. 01, 2014
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Monaco managed to hold Zenit St. Petersburg to a 0-0 draw in Group C of the Champions League on Wednesday after both sides failed to take their chances.
Zenit, which is unbeaten in all competitions this season, and Monaco have four points from two matches. Bayer Leverkusen was hosting Benfica later.
Having sealed a 1-0 victory against Leverkusen against the run of the play in its opener, Monaco dominated this time around but was denied by a string of good saves by Zenit keeper Yuri Lodygin.
Zenit recovered from its poor start after the break but Monaco's defense was able to cope with the pressure.
Monaco stuck to its usual game plan of holding possession as the visitors got off to a bright start.
With Geoffrey Kondogbia and Jeremy Toulalan marshaling the midfield, Monaco immediately showed its attacking intentions when Dimitar Berbatov was picked out by Argentinian striker Lucas Ocampos in the third minute, only for the Bulgarian forward to see his left-footed shot saved.
Nabil Dirar went close in the next minute with a long-range effort as Andre Villas-Boas' team was almost caught cold.
Zenit players struggled to string passes together but remained dangerous on the break, with Portugal playmaker Danny's shot ending wide following a good move in the 10th minute.
Ocampos missed the chance to put the visitors ahead just before halftime when he controlled the ball before unleashing a powerful half-volley from the edge of the box that Lodygin tipped over the bar.
Zenit returned for the restart with the same determination that has helped them go 15 games unbeaten this season, with Monaco being lucky to see Jose Rondon miss a glaring chance from close range in the 50th minute.
The Venezuelan striker found himself in an excellent position after Hulk's cut-back, but his weak shot posed no threat to Monaco keeper Danijel Subasic.
The hosts continued to push forward and Rondon, who has scored seven league goals this season, had another chance six minutes later. Aleksandr Anyukov picked him out with a fine cross from the right, but Andrea Raggi's fine defending prevented him from hitting the target.
Zenit gradually took control of the game but could not find the net, with defender Nicolas Lombaerts sending his header from Hulk's pass straight at Subasic in the 65th.
Monaco substitute Yannick Ferreira Carrasco, who replaced Berbatov, went close to scoring his first Champions League goal in the 73rd minute, forcing the Zenit keeper to make another fine block before hitting the post with the rebound.