Neftçi PFK were left frustrated by a resilient KS Skënderbeu side in their UEFA Champions League second round qualifying first leg as the Albanian visitors earned a goalless draw in Baku.
Skënderbeu will go into the return leg next Tuesday with genuine hopes of progressing, whereas Boyukagha Hajiyev's home team may feel they missed an opportunity to take control of the tie given the chances they wasted.
Mirel Joca's Skënderbeu side made a bright start, applying some early pressure, but they soon sat back and focused on stifling their hosts. It was Neftçi midfielder Flavinho who emerged as the player most likely to find a breakthrough and he wasted the best opening of the first half when he failed to redirect Melvin Platje’s shot towards goal after 25 minutes.
Flavinho then turned provider five minutes before half-time, but Platje failed to test Skënderbeu goalkeeper Orges Shehi. With The second half brought few chances until Neftçi came to life in the closing stages. Flavinho shot wide after 75 minutes, then defender Denis Silva saw his shot saved at point-blank range by Shehi. The goalkeeper came to the visitors' rescue again in the 79th minute, when he thwarted an attempt from midfielder Julius Wobay.
For the Azeri champions and their fans it was a disappointing outcome and leaves them with plenty of work to do in Korca next week.
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