ROME (AFP) - Champions Inter Milan were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw away to Bologna in their opening match of the 2010/11 Serie A season on Monday.
In a game delayed due to Inter's European Supercup commitments in Monaco on Friday, the nerazzurri took 45 minutes to wake up and then despite bombarding Bologna's goal in the second period, they could find no way through.
If playing last season's treble winners wasn't tough enough already, Bologna's preparations were thrown into disarray on the eve of the match when president Sergio Porcedda sacked coach Franco Colomba and temporarily replaced him with youth team boss Paolo Magnani.
But the hosts showed remarkable resilience, not least from goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano, who made a number of crucial saves, including one with his head.
Although Inter changed coaches in the summer -- Rafael Benitez replacing the Real Madrid-bound Jose Mourinho -- the starting XI in a 4-4-3 formation came straight from the Portuguese's mould.
However, Inter failed to sparkle and only reached something resembling their own high standards after the interval.
Benitez paid tribute to Viviano's performance but lamented his team's lack of freshness.
"He did very well with his head, with his hands, with everything," joked Benitez.
"In the beginning we had control, we did well but then they had some chances on the counter-attack, but in the second half we did everything we'd spoken about beforehand.
"We're lacking physical condition and then (Bologna) worked well in defence, they were organised and it wasn't easy to find space, but I'm happy with the reaction of my team in the second half.
"We hope to do better in future, we're at the beginning and everyone needs to understand that we must have more of the ball.
"We had some chances, we showed that even away we wanted to win. We had control, we did everything we could but we lacked freshness."
Magnani, who will not be in charge of Bologna's next game, said the next coach will inherit a team in good shape.
"We did well in the first half, physically and with our positioning, we did everything we'd talked about perfectly," he said.
"In the second half we struggled, they were winning the one-on-one battles.
"We've got all the credentials to do well, the president has tried to bring in youth to the squad, I think we have a great chance to have a good season."
Inter had a scare on 14 minutes as Marco Di Vaio played a crossfield ball over the top that both centre-back Lucio and goalkeeper Julio Cesar went for.
Lucio got in a weak clearance that went back across goal and left Julio Cesar stranded, but with an empty net to aim at Henry Gimenez lofted his shot hopelessly over the bar.
Inter were creating little of note with Esteban Cambiasso volleying over and Kenya international McDonald Mariga dragging a shot from the right well wide of the far post.
Bologna again threatened on 41 minutes as Di Vaio crossed for Gimenez but the 24-year-old Uruguayan took an age to bring the ball down and then fired over.
Late on in the half Wesley Sneijder dipped a free-kick just over the bar but Inter had failed to impose themselves on the first period.
After the break the champions started to turn the screw as Goran Pandev headed a Diego Milito cross straight at Viviano who then plunged to his left to keep out a rasping Sneijder drive.
On 73 minutes Viviano made a stunning one-handed save to keep out a Sneijder free-kick and then moments later the stopper saved Bologna again.
Substitute Coutinho crossed to Samuel Eto'o who came flying in to volley goalwards from two yards out but the ball cannoned off the unwitting Viviano's head, onto the bar and away to safety.
Despite being given a remarkable six minutes of stoppage time to try to find a winner, Inter could find no way through.
Their bitter city rivals AC Milan head the table after their 4-0 thumping of newly-promoted Lecce on Sunday.
|9||M. Di Vaio|
|Coach: P. Magnani|
for A. Ekdal 62'
for H. Giménez 68'
for G. Garics 90'
|MLS Review: Wright-Phillips treble inspires Red Bulls rout|
|Bender: We lacked ambition|
|McInnes unhappy after ugly bust-up|
|Cambiasso impressed with Leicester mentality|
|Valverde: Champions League is not an excuse|
|Simeone wants improvement in discipline|
|Conte keeping tabs on Pelle|
|Marseille deserved to beat Rennes - Bielsa|
|La Liga Review: Real end slump with rout, Atletico share spoils|
|Hart unsure on City future|
|Primeira Liga Review: Quinta inspires first Penafiel win, Braga claim late draw|
|ES Setif 2 TP Mazembe 1: Late winner gives Algerians the edge|
|Inzaghi upbeat despite defeat|
|Victory not ´revenge´ for Allegri|
|Simeone defends Jimenez|
|Ligue 1 Review: Gignac double takes Marseille top|
|Patience pays off for Tevez and Juventus|
|Eredivisie Review: Vitesse drop points again, Dordrecht salvage late draw|
|Serie A Review: Allegri wins on Milan return, Empoli fight back|
|Milan 0 Juventus 1: Allegri wins on return to San Siro|
|Klopp rues Dortmund display|
|Allardyce lauds ´outstanding´ first-half performance|
|Coton Sport 0 Al Ahly 1: Soliman screamer puts Egyptians in command|
|Newcastle earned friends with comeback draw, claims Pardew|
|Liverpool ´nowhere near the standard´ - Rodgers|
|Atletico Madrid 2 Celta Vigo 2: Nolito penalty frustrates champions|
|Bundesliga Review: Zinnbauer stops Bayern as Paderborn go top|
|Lambert to close training ground after bug|
|Poyet blasts lacklustre Sunderland|
|Goals and wins are coming - Dyche|
|Koeman calm after Southampton move second|
|Bruce bemoans Hull errors|
|West Ham 3 Liverpool 1: Hosts punish sloppy Reds|
|Mainz 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: Klopp suffers miserable return|
|Guardiola: Fixture congestion taking its toll|
|Deportivo thrashing answered critics - Ancelotti|
|League Two Review: Accrington thrill on Coleman return, Bury go top|
|Bony ´distraught´ after dismissal - Monk|
|Pardew praises senior players after Hull draw|
|Wenger: Ozil showed mental strength|
|League One Review: MK Dons hit Crewe for six, Swindon crush Sheffield United|
|Championship Review: Fulham woes continue under Symons|
|Scottish Premiership Wrap: Inverness overhaul Hamilton at the top|
|Hughes credits QPR fans|
|Aston Villa 0 Arsenal 3: Ozil shines as Gunners get back on track|
|Swansea City 0 Southampton 1: Wanyama leaves it late to down 10-man hosts|
|Deportivo La Coruna 2 Real Madrid 8: Ronaldo hat-trick helps end visitors´ Liga slump|
|Newcastle United 2 Hull City 2: Late Cisse brace lifts pressure on Pardew|
|Burnley 0 Sunderland 0: Both sides await first league win|
|Hamburg 0 Bayern Munich 0: Zinnbauer starts Hamburg reign with impressive point|
|Hosts strike gold on day two in Incheon|
|Redknapp hails Kranjcar quality|
|QPR 2 Stoke City 2: Kranjcar spoils Hughes´ Loftus Road return|
|Howard not expecting European hangover|
|J.League Review: Gamba clinch Osaka derby, Tokushima Vortis on the brink|
|Vermaelen ´getting better every day´|
|Rafael: I want to stay at United forever|
|Ulloa determined to maintain strong form|
|Vidic adjusting to Serie A referees|
|Conte: There is room for a professional Balotelli|
|Mourinho wants tougher sanctions for FFP breaches|
|Milan v Juventus: Allegri returns to San Siro|
|Allardyce lauds in-form Downing|
|Real Salt Lake 5 Colorado Rapids 1: Poor visitors lose again|
|Mignolet "aggressive", says Rodgers|
|´Old´ City approaching dangerous position, says Neville|
|Shakhtar´s Donbass Arena hit by shelling|
|Song excited to face hero Gerrard|
|Everything is normal, says Ancelotti|
|Partick Thistle 1 St Mirren 2: Craig´s side off the mark|
|Elche 0 Eibar 2: Hosts´ unbeaten run comes to an end|
|Freiburg 2 Hertha Berlin 2: Ronny strikes twice to deny hosts|
|Bordeaux 2 Evian 1: Hosts back on track against dismal strugglers|
|Willem II 2 NAC Breda 1: Braber leaves it late|
|Simeone: Confidence high at Atleti|
|Arsenal announce increased turnover|
|Paris Saint-Germain v Lyon: Jallet relishing PSG reunion|
|Consortium complete Reading takeover|
|Pearson relishing United test|
|Carlisle look to Curle|
|Tottenham v West Brom: Fully-fit visitors seek to end White Hart Lane hoodoo|
|League Two Preview: Coleman makes Stanley return, Curle in at Carlisle|
|Allegri expects emotional Milan return|
|Everton v Crystal Palace: Martinez expecting tough test|
|Tonev issued notice of complaint|
|Leicester City v Manchester United: Pearson vows to attack resurgent visitors|
|Palermo v Inter: Mazzarri urges visitors to maintain standards|
|Van Gaal plays down Ronaldo rumours|
|Manchester City v Chelsea: Costa and Aguero defy injury in title clash|
|Symons wants Fulham job|
|Bournemouth loan Boruc from Southampton|
|Levante v Barcelona: Visitors happy to continue with rotation|
|Mandzukic out for up to two weeks|
|Attacking threat pleases Martinez|
|League One Preview: Page starts new Vale chapter, Bristol City out to extend run|
|Mourinho admits Real desire|
|Assou-Ekotto banned for Anelka tweet|
|Pellegrini made me a scapegoat - Richards|
|UEFA open proceedings against Partizan|
|Guardiola warns of Hamburg backlash|
|Pellegrini rejects Toure criticism|
|Mourinho confirms Costa will start against City|
|Inzaghi plays down Allegri rift|
|Confident Swansea can beat Southampton - Sigurdsson|
|Jardim not expecting Guingamp to struggle|
|London to host Euro 2020 final|
|We need fans´ support - Coloccini|
|Eckert sets November target for corruption verdict|
|Warnock taking no risks over Chamakh|
|Redknapp bemoans Taarabt fitness issues|
|Bruce out to capitalise on Newcastle problems|
|Wenger hits out at Ozil critics|
|Rodgers: Sturridge could be fit for Merseyside derby|
|Juve move has given me confidence - Morata|
|We have more to come - Naismith|
|Pardew wants an end to ´mass hysteria´|
|Lille did not do enough, says Girard|
|Championship Preview: Fulham, Cardiff out to end weeks of turmoil|
|Pulis keen to manage again, speaks of Palace respect|
|Montella lauds Fiorentina´s spirit|
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: Sporting Kansas City, Herediano win well|
|Van Gaal will get United back into Europe - Robben|
|Emery: We will rely on our entire squad|
|Copa Sudamericana Review: Boca march into last 16, Emelec on track|
|Delph, Vlaar on Lambert hit list|
|Brazilian Serie A Review: Cruzeiro bounce back, Sao Paulo stunned|
|Copa Argentina Review: San Lorenzo, Racing Club eliminated|
|We cannot afford to lose - Silva|
|Murphy interested in Fulham job|
|Hecking furious after heavy loss|
|Dyke denies gift involvement|
|Napoli response pleases Benitez|
|Brandao handed six-month ban|
|Arena fined for MLS comments|
|Arena fined for MLS comments|
|Martinez enjoys ´special evening´|