BELGRADE: Former European Cup winners Red Star Belgrade held Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli to a creditable 0-0 draw Tuesday as the Serbian club made their debut in the Champions League group stage.
Lorenzo Insigne rattled the crossbar in the first half for Napoli, while Red Star defender Milan Rodic made a vital goal-line clearance to deny Jose Callejon in the Group C encounter.
Home goalkeeper Milan Borjan also produced a sharp stop to keep out an effort from Poland international Arkadiusz Milik, as Red Star were restricted to a late attempt from Richmond Boakye.
“We didn’t do much wrong, we controlled the game but the finishing was lacking,” said Ancelotti, who took over at Napoli in the summer.
“It’s difficult to play against a defence like that of Red Star. Our forwards were alone in front of the goalkeeper several times but we didn’t have that bit of luck. I think we could have won.”
Red Star last appeared in Europe’s premier club competition in 1991-92, the season after they defeated Marseille in the final on penalties in Bari to lift the trophy.
Red Star players from that title-winning side performed a lap of honour before kick-off at a raucous Stadion Rajko Mitic, with Ancelotti — a three-time European champion as coach — in the opposing dugout.
The Italian left club-record goal-scorer Marek Hamsik and Dries Mertens on the bench, introducing them in the second half, although Napoli were unable to find a way past a Red Star backline that recorded an eighth clean sheet in 10 home matches this season.
Red Star go to Paris Saint-Germain, beaten by a stoppage-time goal in a 3-2 defeat at Liverpool on Tuesday, in their next game on October 3 while Napoli host Jurgen Klopp’s side in Italy.