CFR 1907 Cluj proved their Matchday 1 victory at AS Roma was no flash in the pan as they held Chelsea FC to a goalless draw in Transylvania.
No one gave the Romanian champions much of a chance against last season's UEFA Champions League runners-up, but they emerged with a point from a game in which both teams struggled to carve clear scoring chances. Chelsea dominated possession, especially in the second half, and Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba came close. For the hosts Eugen Trică missed a glorious opportunity before half-time and hit the outside of the post after it. Both sides now have four points and share the lead in Group A, so Chelsea's biggest concern will be an injury to Drogba who was carried off after 58 minutes.
It did not take much to get the vociferous home support going. After only two minutes they roared their approval as Petr Čech had to rush from his area to clear after Sebastián Dubarbier had broken free. The hero of Rome, Juan Culio, made a few promising runs down the left, and almost released Dani after eleven minutes, only the Portuguese midfielder had strayed offside. Midway through the half a flowing, end-to-end Chelsea move, orchestrated by John Mikel Obi, culminated in Drogba blazing wastefully over and soon after Lampard forced Eduard Stăncioiu into a low diving save.
Perhaps the best opening arrived on 27 minutes, when Dubarbier's lofted pass found Trică free just inside the box, but he snatched at the volley and the ball trickled well wide. On the half-hour it took a last-ditch tackle by José Bosingwa to deny Alvaro Pereira as he bore down on goal. Trică's second volley of the evening had much more venom yet lacked accuracy. Moments later Pereira's rifled low shot from the left evaded Čech's stretch, whistling narrowly wide. Then, with the interval looming, Lampard found Drogba with a free-kick from the right but the centre-forward missed the ball completely. Maurizio Trombetta's men were comfortably holding their own.
CFR pinned back
CFR started the second half brightly, with Gabriel Mureşan drilling in a free-kick from fully 30 metres that Čech gathered at the second attempt. Right away, however, Chelsea went even closer, with Nicolas Anelka, on for Salomon Kalou, setting up Lampard whose close-range effort was deflected behind by De Sousa. The Brazilian defender came to his side's rescue again when he intercepted Florent Malouda's dangerous low delivery under pressure from Drogba, who was taken off injured following the challenge. Luiz Felipe Scolari's team were pinning the opposition back for lengthy spells.
Chelsea were determined to go for the victory and brought on 19-year-old Franco Di Santo for Malouda. The Argentinian striker had barely been on the pitch when he out-jumped Stăncioiu to head centimetres wide. Yet with ten minutes remaining Cluj came closest of all, Trică's left-foot shot shaving Čech's right-hand post. The Chelsea keeper then made a magnificent one-handed stop from Pereira as CFR again proved they are a match for the best in European club football.