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Stalemate seals Partizan progress

Thursday, 30 September 2004

[1] FK Partizan moved through to the group stage of the UEFA Cup after a tight 0-0 draw against FC Dinamo Bucuresti in Romania enabled the Serbo-Montenegrin side to progress 3-1 on aggregate.

Bright start

[2] The visitors, who also kept a clean sheet in Romania when defeating FC Otelul Galati 1-0 on aggregate in the previous round, started off brightly and enjoyed the majority of early possession. However it was Dinamo who had the first chance on goal, striker Claudiu Niculescu heading into the side-netting at the near post from Constantin Semeghin's cross.

Vukcevic impressive

[3] With teenager Simon Vukcevic looking impressive in midfield, Partizan continued to press forward and Pierre Boya tried his luck with a long-range shot in the 16th minute that went wide of Uladzimir Hayeu's goal.

Niculescu dangerous

[4] Although the Partizan defence stood firm in the face of a succession of deep crosses, Niculescu was looking increasingly more dangerous as the half went on, and went close for the home side six minutes from the interval with a diving header that flashed just wide of the Partizan goal.

Kralj saves

[5] Two minutes later Partizan goalkeeper Ivica Kralj was called into action for the first time when Niculescu again beat the visiting defence in the area, only for Kralj to turn away his firm header.

Hit post

[6] The second half was only six minutes old when Partizan went close to taking the lead. Vukcevic's long-range free-kick took a wicked deflection off a Dinamo defender but, with goalkeeper Hayeu beaten, the ball bounced back off the post.

Substitutions made

[7] Dinamo coach Ioan Andonie then made all three of his substitutions in an attempt to liven up his side, and one of the new arrivals, Dennis Serban, created their best chance of the match. His surging run found Florentin Petre, whose cross was back-heeled centimetres wide by Ionel Danciulescu.

Vukcevic close

[8] The longer the game progressed, the more gaps Dinamo left in their defence, and Vukcevic - the match's most impressive player - should have won the game for Partizan when he raced on to Branimir Petrovic's through-ball, only for Hayeu to stand firm and make a good save. The Serbo-Montenegrin team had already done enough to progress, however, and will take their place in Tuesday's draw.

Partizan's Pierre Boya (left) vies with George Galamaz