Real Betis Balompié came away from the Romanian capital with a goalless draw after a host of chances in the first leg of their UEFA Cup last-16 tie against FC Steaua Bucuresti failed to produce any goals.
A frantic opening few minutes seemed to promise a hatful of goals at the Lia Manoliu stadium, but in the end neither side could break through, although Betis will be happier as they now head back to Spain for the return fixture.
Steaua goalkeeper Carlos Alberto Fernandes had to be alert after just four minutes to fend off an 18-metre drive from Edu but moments later it was Betis who were on the back foot as Antonio Doblas saved a Sorin Paraschiv header from Banel Nicolita's cross.
However, after those opening salvos, the two sides seemed to get the measure of each other, and the game had become much tighter by the time Brazilian striker Robert shot narrowly wide from 15 metres out for Betis.
Steaua tested Doblas again shortly afterwards as the goalkeeper was forced to tip Dorin Goian's header over the crossbar as a Gabriel Bostina free-kick floated into the area, and later, defender Juanito Gutiérrez had to clear a right-footed effort from Nicolita.
Nicolita was the danger man again at the start of the second period, firing narrowly over the crossbar before team-mate Paraschiv stung Doblas's palms with a fierce shot. Steaua looked to be taking command but Betis stepped up a gear, and Juanito was not far wide from a Joaquín Sánchez corner.
Joaquín then tried his luck with a long-range shot which dipped just over Fernandes's crossbar, but the last chance of the game fell to the home side as substitute Daniel Oprita managed to direct Nicolita's corner over the Betis goal.
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