Roma held by promoted Cesena

ROME - Last season's runners-up AS Roma were held to a scrappy 0-0 draw by promoted Cesena on Saturday in their first match of the Serie A season.

Cash-strapped Roma, without injured new signing Adriano, had the bulk of the play but clear-cut chances were at a premium as Serie A kicked off for the first time as a breakaway division independent of the rest of the Italian league.

Visiting Cesena, who have made some handy signings for their first Serie A appearance in 19 years, could even have snatched a shock winner in the second half.

Groups of Roma fans chanted before kick-off and refused to take their seats in protest against the introduction of compulsory supporter cards to enter stadiums in Italy.

The Italian government hopes the electronic cards will help authorities track the hooligan element but fans see them as an affront to their liberty and protests have been widespread.

In the day's earlier game, Genoa opened the Serie A season with a 1-0 win at Udinese thanks to substitute Giandomenico Mesto's overhead kick nine minutes from time.

Genoa have spent big in the close season in a bid to push for the Champions League places but new signing Luca Toni limped off with a hamstring problem in the first half.

Antonio Di Natale, who snubbed a move to Juventus in midweek, had Udinese's best chance in the pouring rain but the home side struggled in coach Francesco Guidolin's first game back in charge having failed to strengthen their squad.

The first round of games is completed on Sunday and Monday.

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