There were no goals in a drab UEFA Champions League Group D encounter between Panathinaikos and Rubin Kazan in Athens tonight. The Greek side claimed their first point in the tournament and Rubin Kazan doubled their total after drawing with Barcelona, but neither will have much cause to remember the 90 minutes.
Rubin's Alan Kasaev went closest to a breakthrough when he was denied from six yards by Pana keeper Alexandros Tzorvas, but both teams appeared content to settle for a single point.
Neither goalkeeper was tested in an uneventful opening quarter-hour which brought only a booking for Rubin's Gokdeniz Karadeniz. Giorgos Karagounis finally brought the evening's first save from Rubin keeper Sergei Ryzhikov with a 30-yard free-kick before Djibril Cisse's effort was blocked by Cesar Navas.
Rubin finally awoke as an attacking force after 20 minutes, but Cristian Noboa shot over from range and Serghey Karnilenko headed Bebars Natcho's corner wide. Pana defender Jean-Alain Boumsong ventured forward and was unlucky to see an acrobatic overhead kick slip wide of the post before the Russian side pressed once more.
Alexander Ryanzantsev, who rocked the Nou Camp with a stunning opener in last season's 2-1 win over Barcelona, forced Tzorvas into his first save with a 25-yard blockbuster and Josu Sarriegi blocked Karnilenko's shot. Cesar Navas blocked from Cisse and Tzorvas tipped over Alan Kasaev's rising drive before Rubin's Salvatore Bocchetti's free-kick sailed wide. Kasaev was also off target from distance and Cisse headed wide at the other end as the half ended goalless.
Karadeniz fired a free-kick into the wall as the second half started in similarly low-key fashion to the first. Karnilenko's ambitious attempt from over 30 yards flew wide before Tzorvas kept out the best chance of the game with that superb close-range block from Kasaev.
The latter's free-kick was headed over by Bocchetti and Natcho's short corner led to a chance for Karnilenko, who headed wide. Noboa was then booked for fouling Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, who recovered to thump the free-kick into the wall.
The game ended in fitting fashion as Kasaev, the liveliest player on the pitch, was substituted before Pana's Junior Simao was booked and Natcho's free-kick sailed harmlessly into the arms of Tzorvas. Damien Plessis' shot at the other end was then blocked by Vitali Kaleshin.