ITALIAN SERIE A

Angelo Massimino, Italy

Referee: Nicola Rizzoli | Attendance: 14000

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FT

Mutu return fails to inspire

Controversial striker Adrian Mutu returned to the Fiorentina line-up for the first time since completing a nine-month doping ban but could not inspire his side to victory in a frustrating encounter at Catania.

Both sides had plenty of chances to trouser all the points but both goalkeepers did enough to ensure it finished honours even.

The days prior to Mutu's return to action have been characteristically fraught, with the Romanian forced to issue an apology after being accused of leaving a waiter with a broken nose a fight in Florence.

As a result the 31-year-old was perhaps more relieved than he otherwise might have been to pull his boots back on, and was quickly in the thick of the action with his 25-yard drive forcing Mariano Andujar into a smart stop after three minutes.

Catania hit back from that scare with captain Adrian Ricchiuti rattling Sebastien Frey's crossbar with an effort from the edge of the area.

A breathless opening 10 minutes continued with Alberto Gilardino's diving header forcing another stop from Andujar, while the Italy striker was again denied by the Catania keeper a minute later, his headed effort clawed away low down by the right post.

Nicolas Spolli and Alejandro Gomez both headed presentable chances over Frey's bar as Catania came back into the game, while the Fiorentina custodian did well to gather Mirco Antenucci's turn and shot after 33 minutes.

Mario Santana carved out the final chance of an entertaining opening 45 but saw his cross-shot dealt with by the busy Andujar.

Just after the hour mark Mutu's half-volley from 25 yards flew high over the bar in what was Fiorentina's last meaningful chance of the night.

Catania bossed proceedings over the final 20 minutes, first Mariano Izco chanced his arm from range only to see the ball fizz just wide, before on 75 minutes the same player saw another effort from distance parried to safety by Frey.

Frey also denied Gomez 10 minutes from time before wrapping up a good night's work for both goalkeepers with another stop from Izco's speculative effort in the final minute.