Parma, Moscow share goalless draw
Defences were on top as a dour game finished goalless in Parma
PARMA, Italy -- Twice UEFA Cup winners Parma, fielding virtually a reserve team, drew 0-0 with CSKA Moscow in their UEFA Cup semi-final, first leg.
Giving priority to their battle against relegation, the Italians again fielded an under-strength side and omitted leading scorer Alberto Gilardino and influential midfielder Domenico Morfeo.
However, despite their weaker line-up, Parma stood firm against the Russians, the only club left in the competition who joined after elimination from the Champions League.
Parma's best opportunity fell to Francesco Ruopolo in the 14th minute.
The 22-year-old, who was playing in the third division last season, found himself in plenty of space but dragged his shot wide from a good position.
CSKA then came close to breaking the deadlock 13 minutes from time when a free-kick from Brazilian Daniel Carvalho cleared the bar by inches.
Apart from that there was very little for the sparse 7,298 crowd to get excited about.
Parma coach Pietro Carmignani was immensely proud of his players after a spirited display.
"They were at the top of their game - they played with tenacity, heart and they used their brains," he said.
"We have made sure the tie remains open. They have to beat us, but a scoring draw will take us through to the final."
Asked why his team had not been able to perform so well in the league, he replied: "In the UEFA Cup, we have no fear - psychologically we are a lot calmer."
Worryingly for Parma, CSKA have won all of their three home matches in the UEFA Cup with an 8-0 goal difference.
Parma, the twice UEFA Cup winners, have been close to bankruptcy since parent company Parmalat was placed in administration and they are struggling in 19th place in Serie A.
The second leg takes place in Moscow next Thursday.