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APOEL held at bay by resilient Slovan

APOEL FC 0-0 ŠK Slovan Bratislava
The Slovakian champions had Matúš Putnocký to thank for a remarkable second-half save from Christos Kontis that kept this tie level.

There were no goals between APOEL and Slovan at the GSP Stadium
There were no goals between APOEL and Slovan at the GSP Stadium ©Getty Images

ŠK Slovan Bratislava will host APOEL FC at the Štadión Pasienky on 3 August with their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie still hanging in the balance after a first-leg stalemate in Cyprus.

Chances were at a premium for most of this evenly balanced contest, but the visitors were grateful to their goalkeeper Matúš Putnocký for pulling off a remarkable second-half save from Christos Kontis to keep the match all square.

With Slovan playing a containing game with a view to scoring on the break, early opportunities were scant. Karel Jarolím's side almost took the lead after 20 minutes, though, when Jiří Kladrubský's shot snaked just wide of Dionisios Chiotis's left-hand post. Peter Štepanovský followed suit soon afterwards with a 25-metre strike that had similar results.

APOEL began to stir to life, Paulo Jorge rising to head a left-wing free-kick by Constantinos Charalambides just wide. However, it was not until after the break that Ivan Jovanovič's charges began to push forward with any great conviction, second-half substitute Aílton missing a good chance after racing through on goal on 63 minutes.

Moments later, the best chance of the match fell to Kontis, who met another Charalambides set piece only for Putnocký to thwart him from point-blank range. Slovan might have made the Cypriot champions pay for their profligacy when Karim Guédé raced down the right, but his tantalising cross narrowly eluded Filip Šebo, who subsequently blazed over when well-placed with just a minute remaining.

APOEL also had their share of late chances, Ivan Trickovski shooting into the side netting after being put through by Nuno Morais and Aílton's shot deflecting wide for a corner with only seconds remaining. But the two sides must try again next week.