Rosenborg BK and AFC Ajax played out a goalless draw in their UEFA Champions League Group D encounter in front of a capacity crowd at the Lerkendal stadium in Trondheim.
Chivu in command
Both sides could point to a lack of cohesion and accuracy in their passing, but in fairness the defensive units were in the ascendancy. Ajax captain Cristian Chivu, in particular, had an authoritative 90 minutes in the heart of the Amsterdam side's defence. The Romanian international's timely interventions and imaginative passing stood out in what was a frustrating evening for both teams.
A first half that was peppered with robust challenges and a succession of fouls, and only came to life just after the half-hour mark when the lively Wamberto broke through the midfield traffic to feed full-back Hatem Trabelsi. But as the Tunisian international drifted inside to shoot with his left foot, striker Ahmed Hossam 'Mido' had already made an incursion into an offside position.
Before that both teams had failed to impose any rhythm to their play, with the Ajax frontline of Mido and Zlatan Ibrahimovic isolated from their midfield. However, once the Brazilian Wamberto moved into a withdrawn role behind the strikers, the Dutch outfit were a much more potent force coming forward.
Ibrahimovic goes close
It was from another Wamberto forward thrust that Ajax should have opened the scoring just before the break. As the ball broke in the area Mido saw his stabbed shot smothered by Rosenborg goalkeeper Árni Gautur Arason and the talented if somewhat erratic Ibrahimovic decided to back-heel the loose ball when a volley would surely have brought a goal. The Swedish striker, however, did go some way to making amends, with a fierce right-footed drive from 30 metres, which just skidded past the post.
Little change after the break
The was little change in the pattern of play in the second period although the introduction of winger Dagfinn Enerly gave Rosenborg much-needed invention - and it was from one of his tempting deliveries that the towering Azar Karadas almost headed in.
Home hopes raised
The visitors were becoming much more of a counterattacking threat and Ibrahimovic hit a rising shot just over the bar on 64 minutes. The home crowd's hopes were raised soon after as their direct approach once again found Karadas whose looping header landed just the wrong side of the post.
Changes to seal victory
The home should have broken the deadlock on 76 minutes as substitute Christer George miscued a left-footed volley from five metres. Wamberto then screwed a shot just across the face of the goal five minutes later and almost immediately Andy van der Meyde whistled an effort the wrong side of the post. In the dying moments Enerly went down in the area under a challenge from Jelle Van Damme only to become booking number four of the evening for what was deemed simulation.