Red Star Belgrade marked their return to Europe's grand stage with a battling 0-0 draw against a frustrated Napoli at Rajko Mitic Stadium on Tuesday.
The highly fancied visitors probed patiently from start to finish but were unable to deny the Serbian champions a hard-earned point on their first appearance in the competition for 26 years.
Though Lorenzo Insigne and Mario Rui both struck the crossbar either side of half-time, it was a largely unconvincing way for Napoli to commence their Champions League campaign.
Carlo Ancelotti may instead have to manufacture positive results against both Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain if his team is to escape a tough Group C.
0 - This only the third match in the history of modern Champions League in which Napoli haven't scored. Caged.— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) September 18, 2018
Napoli's command of possession translated into few early scares for Red Star outside of an audacious Insigne rocket that came back off the woodwork.
Though his defence was under constant examination, Milan Borjan only had one real save to make before half-time, the goalkeeper smartly covering his near post to block Arkadiusz Milik's first-time effort in the 29th minute.
Napoli were again frustrated by the frame of the goal when Mario Rui skimmed a free-kick off the top of the bar soon after the restart as opportunities for the opener began to flow more regularly, Jose Callejon next having a mishit finish cleared off the line by Milan Rodic.
But genuine chances were ultimately too few to deserve a winner and the Serie A side could themselves have been punished late in proceedings, David Ospina up to the test of a Richmond Boakye shot from the edge of the area.
What it means: Napoli not yet a threat
Napoli, at least on this evidence, seem destined to finish third in their group for the second season running.
They found it tough to slice open an opponent that showed little interest in attacking and do not yet appear a credible danger to denying Liverpool or PSG a place in the knockout rounds.
Pat on the back: Rodic a rock
Part of Serbia's World Cup squad, Red Star defender Rodic seems sure to add to his two international caps if he maintains the form of this excellent display.
The left-back was a steadying influence throughout the contest and produced two vital interceptions in the second half, the latter a match-saving clearance off the line from Callejon.
Boot up the backside: Milik not the right man
Poland striker Milik will be disappointed not to have made more of an impression with a starting opportunity ahead of Dries Mertens.
The 24-year-old cut an isolated figure despite his side's dominance, and should have done better with a rare sight of goal midway through the first half.
Key Opta stats:
- Red Star have not won any of their previous nine matches in the European Cup/Champions League against sides from Italy (D5 L4).
- Red Star have seen just two goals in their last six European matches (exc. qualifiers), with the Serbian side scoring once and conceding once.
- Red Star have kept a clean sheet in each of their last four European group stage matches, although they’ve only scored once in that period.
- Jose Callejon created seven goalscoring chances for Napoli against Red Star; a club record in the competition for a player.
Red Star return to domestic duty on Sunday to meet city rivals Partizan Belgrade in the Eternal derby, while Napoli will hope to rediscover winning form in a trip to Torino.
|Ronaldo exit makes all the difference for Real Madrid – Luxemburgo|
|Manchester United´s Chelsea Blues and other one-sided rivalries|
|Babbel fears for Kovac´s Bayern future|
|Bradley homers again, Red Sox take 3-1 lead over Astros|
|Ayton, Doncic shine on NBA debuts|
|Leonard focusing on future after Raptors debut|
|MLS Review: Rooney stunner seals DC win, Sounders clinch play-off spot|
|Pochettino ´proud´ of Dier for Ramos tackle|
|Wallabies name three uncapped players for All Blacks clash|
|Lakers coach Walton will monitor LeBron´s minutes, plans to use deep rotation|
|Lloris: United´s Pogba unfairly judged because of transfer fee|
|´Phenomenon´ Mbappe deserves Ballon d´Or, says Buffon|
|Dodgers on cusp of World Series after beating Brewers|
|Mata braced for ´difficult month´ at Man United|
|WATCH: Rooney scores wonderful free-kick for DC United|
|Kaino handed five-week ban for striking Roberts|
|Bears star Khalil Mack ´day-to-day´ with ankle injury|
|Anthony has ´a clearer understanding´ of his role with Rockets|
|Brewers remove Miley after one batter against Dodgers|
|Rams rule out Kupp for 49ers game|
|Giants owner Mara to talk with Beckham Jr|
|Bamberg battle back to claim Champions League win|
|MLB investigated alleged Astros sign stealing, found no wrongdoing|
|Timberwolves star Wiggins to donate $22 for every point this NBA season|
|Red Sox´s Sale won´t start game five of ALCS|
|Tsitsipas and Shapovalov advance at Stockholm Open|
|Witsel to Dortmund is signing of the season - Martinez|
|Pique confident Nadal will play in 2019 Davis Cup|
|Seeds suffer in Moscow and Luxembourg|
|Johnstone grabs hat-trick as England ease past France|
|Pogba and Mourinho disagreement over Instagram video, confirms Pereira|
|Nuggets coach Malone signs contract extension|
|Mayweather accepts Khabib´s challenge: ´We´re fighting´|
|Slovenia sack Kavcic as head coach|
|Morgan and Rashid star as England win rain-reduced ODI in Sri Lanka|
|Romagnoli aims to make Gattuso proud in Milan derby|
|Naldo signs Schalke extension|
|Bills to start quarterback Anderson against Colts with Allen out|
|O´Sullivan makes 147 at ´hellhole´|
|Barcelona know when captain Messi is angry – Abidal|
|Bertens loss hands Pliskova last WTA Finals berth|
|Liverpool star Mane undergoes hand surgery|
|F1 Raceweek: Happy hunting ground for title-chasing Hamilton - US GP in numbers|
|Canelo signs record-breaking DAZN deal|
|England hit by another Vunipola injury absence|
|Gruden: Oakland Raiders ´aren´t tanking´|
|Chiesa focused and happy at Fiorentina|
|We´ll see what´s possible - Henry not limiting Monaco´s ambitions|
|Wembley sale off after Khan offer withdrawn|
|Football needs people like Arsene - Pires keen for Wenger return|
|Abbas five-for torments woeful Australia as Pakistan take control|
|Henry: Wenger and Guardiola inspirations for my coaching career|
|Pires backs Henry and Vieira for Ligue 1 success|
|Bolt rejects Valletta offer|
|Wenger ready for January return to management – but where?|
|NBA 2018-19: The LeBron James effect on teams he has joined|
|Svitolina qualifies for WTA Finals after Pliskova loses|
|Genoa will sell ´superstar´ Piatek, admits president|
|Moutinho targets European qualification with Wolves|
|Embiid: 76ers-Celtics isn´t a rivalry, they always kick our a**|
|Vinicius ´calm´ as he waits for Real Madrid chance|
|Nothing else to say - Ramos posts clip of supposed Sterling stamp|
|Chiellini joins Mind the Gap campaign to help players prepare for retirement|
|Injured Kusal Perera replaced by Kusal Mendis in Sri Lanka squad|
|Big names return for Scotland´s November Tests|
|Essien tells Loftus-Cheek to stay and fight for Chelsea chance|
|Nainggolan relishing challenge of first Milan derby|
|Curry: Slap me if I tire of championship celebrations|
|Sevilla don´t fear Messi or Barca – Kjaer|
|Low: Dropped Muller is still very important for Germany|