By Paul-Daniel Zaharia at the Gheorghe Hagi stadium
Romanian side FC Otelul Galati held FK Partizan to a goalless draw in the first leg of their UEFA Cup second qualifying round tie, despite the home team having to play in Constanta, 250km from their home town, due to stadium regulations.
Partizan, who reached the UEFA Champions League group stage last season, beginning their campaign by drawing with eventual winners FC Porto, boasted an experienced team including Ivan Tomic, Zoran Mirkovic, Saša Ilic, Ivica Kralj and Albert Nadj. However, Otelul, who beat KS Dinamo Tirana 8-1 on aggregate in the first qualifying round, were not overawed and looked the more likely side to score of most of the match, especially after Nadj left the pitch injured in the first half.
However, home goalkeeper Cornel Cernea had to be alert on 29 minutes when Gheorghe Rohat turned the ball towards his own goal. Six minutes later, Ciprian Mozacu - recently signed by Otelul from FC Brasov - shot narrowly wide at the other end.
Ten men hold on
The visitors were reduced to ten men 23 minutes from the end when teenage defender Nemanja Rnic received his second yellow card. But although Otelul increased the pressure, they could not pick up a lead for the return in Belgrade on 26 August.