A capacity crowd at the Üllöi úti stadium could not inspire Ferencvárosi TC to find a way past VfB Stuttgart in their UEFA Cup second round first-leg match.
In front of 17,000 fans in Budapest, Ferencváros battled hard but found their German visitors to be stiff opposition. The goalless draw means the advantage rests with Stuttgart for the return on Tuesday week.
The Hungarian hosts dominated the first half with coach József Garami keen to take an early stranglehold on the tie. However, Stuttgart were equally well prepared by their coach, Felix Magath, and proved dogged in defence. They attacked mainly through counterattacks but failed to inspire any clear-cut openings.
The best chance of the first half fell to Ferencváros's Hungary striker Attila Tököli. He picked up the ball in the 25th minute and unleashed a fierce shot which brought a sensational reflex save from goalkeeper Thomas Ernst.
Four minutes after the interval, Ferencváros had two chances in quick succession to take the lead and both fell to Zoltán Gera. The international striker, who scored a hat-trick earlier this month in Hungary's 3-0 victory against San Marino in a EURO 2004™ qualifier, had a header and a shot but could convert neither.
The game levelled out from that point on with both midfields cancelling each other out. It was a combative game, as six yellow cards demonstrated. The 69th minute saw Stuttgart find the net, only for the effort to be ruled out. Bulgarian playmaker Krassimir Balakov crossed for Christian Tiffert to score, but the ball was adjudged to have gone out of play before Balakov sent in his centre.
The visitors were on top in the closing stages, inspired by Belarussian substitute Aleksandr Gleb. The midfield player was the brightest player on the pitch in the last ten minutes but even his incisive play failed to lead to a goal.