Beşiktaş JK picked up their first point of this season's UEFA Champions League as the Turkish champions produced a gritty performance to earn a goalless draw at VfL Wolfsburg.
After successive defeats, visiting coach Mustafa Denizli had set his squad the task of simply avoiding an unwanted hat-trick of Group B losses at a chilly VfL Wolfsburg Arena. Though they remain bottom of the section, the Istanbul side edged themselves back into the reckoning with an industrious display that stifled the hosts, for whom a frustrating night was completed with the 74th-minute dismissal of Grafite.
Wolfsburg coach Armin Veh had asked his habitually attack-minded team to rein in their more cavalier instincts, yet it did not take long for the German titleholders to get on to the front foot. Ricardo Costa headed over a corner after Beşiktaş goalkeeper Rüştü Reçber had misjudged the flight of the ball. Then an unmarked Edin Džeko had an excellent opportunity to reproduce his headed strike of Matchday 2, but the Bosnian international failed to find the target.
Beşiktaş were attempting to open their account after a point-less start to the campaign, and İbrahim Kaş tested Diego Benaglio with the home rearguard under pressure following a corner. However, with left-back Marcel Schäfer revelling in the space afforded him down that flank, Wolfsburg continued to threaten. A penetrating dart from the Germany player ended with low shot that forced Rüştü into a near-post save, before a pinpoint Schäfer centre found Džeko whose deft header sailed just wide of the far post.
Having dampened the locals' early ardour, Beşiktaş began to show more enterprise. Benaglio had to race off his line to gather at Bobô's feet before Nihat Kahveci's alert play enabled Rodrigo Tello to send a curling effort perilously close to the top corner. The danger posed by the away side proved fleeting, though. Wolfsburg used their overwhelming possession to good effect, even if the best of their first-half chances came courtesy of a miscued İbrahim Kaş header which released Džeko to fire tamely at Rüştü.
The former Turkish international was fortunate not to be picking the ball out of his net during a suffocating burst of Wolfsburg pressure just after the break. Having come to punch clear a high ball, Rüştü was left stranded but Christian Gentner blazed over the unattended goal. The Beşiktaş No1 then saw Džeko strike the outside of a post from an acute angle after the Wolfsburg forward had wriggled clear of Matteo Ferrari.
The traffic was not all one-way, and Alexander Madlung was required to step across smartly to prevent Nihat racing clear. However, Wolfsburg's hopes of a second group-stage win effectively disappeared with Grafite's red card following an off-the-ball incident involving İbrahim Kaş. The striker will therefore be suspended for the clubs' Matchday 4 encounter in Istanbul on 3 November, when Beşiktaş will be seeking the victory that will breathe fresh life into their campaign.