Denizlispor and Olympique Lyonnais played out a goalless draw in their UEFA Cup third round first-leg encounter in Turkey tonight.
Lyon miss Anderson guile
Lyon, who qualified for the UEFA Cup after finishing third in Group D of the UEFA Champions League first stage behind AFC Ajax and Internazionale FC, missed the attacking guile of the injured Sonny Anderson in a game of little goalmouth incident.
Respect for the visitors
Denizlispor, playing in their first European campaign, showed the visitors plenty of respect in the early stages, content it seemed to play long balls and hope to win any loose possession. However, the experienced Lyon defence were never forced on to the back foot.
Denizlispor come close
Lyon were finding plenty space down the flanks, with Péguy Luyindula and Tony Vairelles making telling runs. However, it was Denizlispor winger Ali Tandogan who almost opened the scoring on 21 minutes when his right-wing cross clipped the top of the crossbar.
The French side's midfield player Mahamadou Diarra received a yellow card for a late challenge on Ilyas Kahraman on 23 minutes and from the resulting free-kick the same player drove his shot well over the crossbar. Tandogan then sent another cross skidding in front of Coupet as confidence in the home ranks grew.
Calimbay adds another striker
Coach Riza Calimbay added another striker in the 36th minute, with Ersen Martin replacing Levent Kartop who had already been booked and was in danger of receiving a red card following a rash challenge on Juninho Pernambucano, but the first period ended with a succession of long balls.
Chances at a premium
The second half followed very much the same pattern as neither side were able to launch sustained attacks. Brazilian midfield player Juninho nearly directed a close-range flick goalwards in the 51st minute, but from then on chances were at a premium.
Juninho and Diarra combine
Juninho and Diarra were at the centre of much of Lyon's forward movements and on 63 minutes the pair almost combined to create an opening, but the ball refused to fall kindly. Diarra then had a fierce drive blocked on the edge of the area and as the match entered the final quarter Lyon looked the more likely to score.
Edmílson moves forward
The impressive Edmílson began to make his familiar forays into opposition territory and one of the central defender's runs almost produced a telling cross.
Üçüncü almost breaks deadlock
A number of substitutions by both sides in the final minutes looked to have ended any hopes of either team breaking the deadlock, but once such introduction almost produced a breakthrough as Denizlispor midfield player Bülent Üçüncü sent a 20-metre shot just wide of the upright. That, though, was the final meaningful action.