On Wednesday the first UEFA Champions League game of the day took place up in chilly Saint Petersburg, as Russian Premier League club Zenit were held at home to a 0-0 draw by AS Monaco.
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Zenit, managed by former Chelsea and Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas, couldn’t break down a stubborn Monaco and the visitors had the best chance to seal all three points in a poor game at the Petrovsky Stadium. Zenit have scored 12 goals in their last five matches but never looked like scoring as they failed to follow up their impressive 2-0 victory away at Benfica on matchday one with a win at home.
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With less than 20 minutes to go Yannick Carrasco’s deflected shot clipped the foot of the post as Monaco came agonizingly close to taking the lead. Zenit brought on veterans Aleksandr Kerzhakov and Andrey Arshavin late in the game to try and grab a winner but Monaco looked more likely to grab the victory as Fabinho struck wide and was a nuisance down the right hand side. The Ligue 1 side will be much happier as they return to the Principality with a valuable point in Group C as both teams are joint-top on four points.
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Benfica and Bayer Leverkusen square off in the other game in Group C on Wednesday, as they now a win will put them just one point behind front-runners Zenit and Monaco. Monaco now face Benfica home and away in their next two games, while Zenit play Bayer Leverkusen twice in pivotal matches.
On this showing, both sides will have to play much better to advance to the last 16 of the Champions League but in a fairly weak group it may be enough.