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Feeble Fiorentina held by Steaua to bore draw

Fiorentina lacked spark and immagination as they failed to break down Romanian outfit Steaua Bucharest in a drab Champions League 0-0 draw here on Tuesday.

The Italians will feel like it was two points lost against a side – coached by former Romanian international Mario Lacatus who spent a season at 'La Viola' as a player – that presented a formidable wall in front of their goal and played with discipline and determination.

Fiorentina have two points from two Group F games – having drawn with French champions Lyon in their opener – with the 1986 European champions a point behind them and propping up the group.

A draw was a fair result in a match where neither side created anything more than half chances.

Fiorentina's Romanian forward Adrian Mutu, a former player with Steaua's bitter city rivals Dinamo Bucharest, was jeered heartily by the visiting fans but almost punished them after nine minutes, latching onto a long ball over the top from Mario Santana but blazing his volley over the bar.

Two minutes later and Steaua's Colombian goalkeeper Robinson Zapata rushed out to block a shot from Alberto Gilardino, who also had a strike blocked by Dorin Goian moments later.

Goian then freed Antonio Semedo with a long ball over top but the Portuguese forward slotted his shot wide on 16 minutes.

Both sides were lacking quality in the final third and after a Martin Jorgensen slip let in Semedo again, he crossed poorly and Banel Nicolita's shot from the edge of the box was blocked.

Semedo was enjoying much success down the Steaua left and he beat Jorgensen again before hitting his shot into the side netting.

Jorgensen had had such a torrid time that Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli replaced him at the break with Luciano Zauri.

But two minutes later Steaua came close as Colombian forward Dayro Moreno burst through only to have his shot blocked by two defenders.

Halfway through the second period Mutu clipped the outside of the post with a brilliant curling free-kick, which he himself had won with a terrible dive.

Mutu came close again 10 minutes later as he peeled off to the back post and headed a cross from substitute Zdravko Kuzmanovic into the side netting.

But the visitors were gifted a chance on 78 minutes as a terrible back header from La Viola captain Dario Dainelli released Nicolita who crossed for Semedo but goalkeeper Sebastien Frey brilliantly kept out his shot with his legs.

The last chance, in injury time, went to Steaua's Greek substitute Pantelis Kapetanos who was through on the right but he took a heavy touch allowing Italy defender Alessandro Gamberini to charge across and block.

Tue 30 September, 2008
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