Adrian Mutu makes comeback but can't fire Fiorentina to victory...
Not even the long-awaited return of Adrian Mutu from a doping ban was enough to spark a dull match into life, and the resultant 0-0 draw means that both sides remain mired in the bottom half of the league table.
The home side started brightest and Catania captain and set-piece specialist Giuseppe Mascara struck the woodwork with a sublime free-kick as the Sicilians put down an early marker.
However, Fiorentina gradually forced their way into the game and took control of the match for short period.
Romanian striker Mutu, who was making his first appearance in nine months due to the aforementioned doping ban, had two opportunities to mark his return with a goal. In the 8th minute, he met a Mario Santana cross with a powerful downward header but Mariano Andujar flew to his right to flick the ball behind for corner.
Then, two minutes later, the Catania goalkeeper denied him once again when he parried the Fiorentina number 10’s low strike.
From then on in Catania re-assumed control of proceedings with Mascara and his dead balls proving particularly troublesome to la Viola.
First, Niclas Spolli headed a Mascara free-kick over the bar, and then Alejandro Gomez repeated the feat when he glanced Mascara’s inswinging corner over at the near post.
The only other real chance of the first 45 fell to Mirco Antenucci, who took a pass from Gomez and swivelled expertly before firing a snap-shot at goal, but Frey made a comfortable catch and the half petered out to a goalless conclusion.
Unfortunately, the match failed to pick up from the lull that preceded the half-time break and the second half was a dull affair in which neither side really managed to get out of first gear.
Mascara curled an effort well over the crossbar in the 51st minute and Mutu followed suit with an almost identical effort seven minutes later.
Mutu went a little closer with an ambitious volley from 25 yards just after the hour but Andujar was never in any real trouble.
At this stage, neither side looked as if they wanted to push on in search of a goal in the risk that they might lose one at the other end.
However, Catania midfielder Mariano Izco was one player who didn’t look happy to rest on his laurels and he drove forward in search of a goal. He worked space for a shot on goal in the 73rd minute but fired just wide then failed to hit the target again a couple of minutes later.Like the first half, the second 45 minutes drifted towards the somewhat inevitable 0-0 draw. Although the result is not a disaster for either side, the Catania fans were not at all happy and let their side know it with howls of derision on the final whistle.
The Florence side have the chance to build on their away point when they host Chievo in next Sunday’s early kick-off, while Catania face a daunting trip to Genoa to face an in-form Sampdoria later in the day.