Udinese Calcio's lacklustre run of form continued as they could only earn a goalless draw against PFC Levski Sofia in the first leg of their UEFA Cup last 16 tie.
After both sides were largely restricted to long-range shots during a disappointing night of football in Italy, Levski will feel that they have gained the upper hand as they prepare to welcome their opponents back to the Bulgarian capital for the second leg next week.
Eleven games without a win in Serie A, the home side got off to an understandably cautious start with Levski content to sit back and allow their hosts to come at them. However, it was Levski who had the first chance of the night with Cédric Bardon testing Udinese goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis's nerves with a drive that flashed just wide.
A minute later, Damiano Zenoni tried his luck at the other end with a strike from a similar range, but also saw his effort fly wide. Chances were few and far between for the remainder of the half with an optimistic 30-metre effort from Udinese's Fernando Tissone after 35 minutes briefly raising the temperature at the Friuli stadium.
Udinese upped the ante in the second period, putting their guests under more concerted pressure as they looked to grab an advantage in the tie. Five minutes after the restart, Roberto Baronio drew a decent save from Levski goalkeeper Georgi Petkov, while Christian Obodo tried his luck from range and only just missed seven minutes later.
Antonio Di Natale was next to chance his arm for the Italian side, blazing over the bar from just outside the penalty area. Levski, meanwhile, were happy to sit back in the second period, and may well feel optimistic about their chances of clinching victory on home soil in the second leg.