In a game where profligacy proved a key and recurring theme, Inter Milan were held to a 0-0 draw by Shakhtar Donetsk in Kiev, as both sides finally put a point on the Group D table.
The Italian champions were poor throughout; their caution their particular downfall as the rigidity of their 5-3-2 shape didn't allow them any sort of transitional fluidity between phases, and they suffered wave after wave of pressure as the home crowd roared Shakhtar on.
It would be a match with plentiful chances for both sides: Nicolo Barella rattling the crossbar with a curling effort and Edin Dzeko missing a sitter at the back post for the visitors, and Alan Patrick and Dodo denied firmly by Slovenian goalkeeper Samir Handanovic between the visiting sticks.
The Ukranian side were the side to take the game by the scruff of the neck, trying to play at breakneck pace to unsettle their Italian opposition, who seemed to prefer a slower tempo focussed on intricate build-up, mixed in with a lack of fluidity owing much to Simone Inzaghi's formational choice.
The Inter head coach wouldn't change formation but personnel with half an hour to go, bringing on his Turkish playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu and Joaquin Correa to add more directness to the visiting frontline.
Yet it would be the hosts that looked the more likely to score: they lacked that focal point up front after a horrific early injury to their new striker Lassina Traore after a collision with Denzel Dumfries, but they were creating chances, carving open an often water-tight Inter defence time after time.
It's back to the drawing board for both sides - neither will be happy with a point - and Shakhtar will really need Real Madrid to have an off-day should they want to have any chance of progressing.
TALKING POINT - INTER TOO DEFENSIVE?
The 3-5-2 has been a system that Antonio Conte flourished with, but with Inzaghi at the helm, it doesn't quite seem right for the Serie A champions.
They lacked any sort of urgency or pace on the counter and in the transiton, with none of the three midfielders looking to get beyond or around the strike partnership pf Martinez and Dzeko, with both looking isolated at times against Mykola Matvienko and Marlon.
Granted, that's not necessarily Matias Vecino nor Marcelo Brozovic's game, but the reasoning for Barella staying more disciplined in his position is unclear.
Calhanoglu and Correa's introductions improved the attacking output a tad, but they were outworked and outplayed by Donetsk, who, had they had a clinical finisher, would have deservedly won that game.
Shakhtar Donetsk's Brazilian midfielder Pedrinho in action during the UEFA Champions League football match between Shakhtar Donetsk and Inter Milan at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev on September 28, 2021
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH - PEDRINHO, SHAKHTAR DONETSK
The epitome of what any Inter player was not.
Direct in his running, energetic, working tirelessly off the ball and in the press, the 23-year old gave Federico Dimarco a fright down the Inter left, pinning the left wing-back back in his own half at times, ensuring that the Italian couldn't make the most of more advanced crossing opportunities.
It was a complete performance from the Brazilian wide man that really did merit a goal, but as aforementioned, profligacy was what let Shakhtar down at the last.
Milan Skriniar, Shakhtar Donetsk-Inter, Getty Images
5': CLOSE! Huge chance for the home side! Pedrinho comes close and forces Handanovic to work as he drags his shot wide after a mazy run. Inter are shaken early!
14': Tete stretches his legs for the first time... he takes on Bastoni... but the big centre-half stands firm. Barella now in the opposition half... he advances... he's gone for a curler! He's rattled the crossbar!
64': Defensive slip from Matvienko... Martinez nips in! He's skied it.
86': Correa... cutting in onto that right... great save by Pyatov.
87': Here's the resuting corner... de Vrij! Another strong hand from Pyatov.
This is the third goaless draw between these two sides in two seasons - both games they played against each other last term ended 0-0 draws as well.