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Napoli and Utrecht cannot break the deadlock

SSC Napoli 0-0 FC Utrecht
Defences held sway at the Stadio San Paolo as both teams took a point from their Group K openers.

José Ernesto Sosa (left) vies with Utrecht's Mihai Neşu
José Ernesto Sosa (left) vies with Utrecht's Mihai Neşu ©AFP

SSC Napoli drew for the third match in succession after being held by FC Utrecht in UEFA Europa League Group K.

Having taken two points from their first two matches of the Serie A campaign, Walter Mazzarri's men were forced to settle for another draw on the European stage. Chances were few and far between in Naples, with perhaps the best falling to Ricky van Wolfswinkel just before half-time for a Utrecht side now without a goal in three matches.

Walter Gargano was first to try his luck in a half which never threatened to come to the boil, firing in a shot from outside the area which forced Michel Vorm into a full-stretch save. Utrecht responded with Edouard Duplan bursting to the byline and when his cross was cleared to the edge of the area, Tim Cornelisse drove in a low shot which Morgan De Sanctis beat out.

Utrecht fashioned the best opening of the night 11 minutes before the break, when only the spin of the ball prevented the Eredivise team from taking the lead. Dries Mertens' cross from the left bisected De Sanctis and Salvatore Aronica affording Van Wolfswinkel, steaming in around the back, enough space to direct a header on goal which drifted agonisingly wide of the far post.

Ezequiel Lavezzi headed Juan Camilo Zúñiga's cross wide on 66 minutes in a rare scare for the visitors, before the Argentinian international tested Vorm with a low drive. Van Wolfswinkel could have done better than side foot Mertens' cut-back over soon after, though the hosts could have won it themselves late on when Lavezzi's low centre missed everybody on its way across goal.