Greeks frustrate Udinese
Udinese were held to a goalless draw by PAOK Salonika in the first leg of the last-32 Europa League tie.
Last Updated: 16/02/12 10:15pm
Udinese were held to a goalless draw by PAOK Salonika in the first leg of the last-32 Europa League tie as the absence of injured captain Antonio Di Natale told.
Di Natale, top scorer in Serie A with 17 goals was missing with a foot injury, and while the Italians created plenty of chances for his deputy Antonio Floro Flores, he was unable to find the net with any of them.
Almen Abdi struck a post early on but it proved to be a frustrating night for Francesco Guidolin's men, who now face a tricky second leg in Greece.
Giorgos Fotakis sent an early sighter over the bar from distance for the visitors before Udinese began to exert some sustained pressure.
Abdi was unlucky to see his shot from the edge of the area come back off the upright before Dario Kresic managed to hold Floro Flores' attempted lob.
A powerful effort from Michele Pazienza flashed wide of the post from Giampiero Pinzi's free-kick before Kresic was again called on to deny Floro Flores.
Mehdi Benatia then tried his luck from range but his shot went over.
PAOK were being restricted to long-range efforts, with Konstantinos Stafylidis and Pablo Garcia both off target with shots from 30 yards.
Floro Flores was also content to strike from distance, but his 35-yard effort was easy for Kresic, who then needed to be far more alert to keep out a close-range effort from Pablo Armero as half-time approached.
Floro Flores came out shooting in the second half, but his first effort went wide before Kresic punched clear the second from closer range.
Fotakis saw a powerful shot comfortably held by Samir Handanovic before Udinese began to take control of possession again.
Abdi's long-range shot was wide while Benatia fired over from Abdi's corner.
Another set-piece from Abdi set up Pablo Armero but he too failed to keep his shot down.
Dusan Basta smashed a shot goalwards from the edge of the area but only found the arms of Kresic as Udinese failed to make the breakthrough.