The game dubbed as Alessandro Del Piero vs David Trezeguet did not quite live up to the billing, as both the superstars failed to find that magical touch, leaving the Delhi Dynamos and FC Pune City to settle for a goalless draw in Match 3 of the Indian Super League.
Fans at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi had to wait for a while to watch their marquee player – Del Piero – come onto the pitch, but when he did, he was his usual masterful self, gliding with the ball and seeing passes than only he can see.
For all of Del Piero, and indeed, Delhi Dynamos' quality, though, the Pune City defence held firm, quelling attack after attack to ensure they walked away from the capital with one point.
With Del Piero starting from the bench, the immediate spotlight at kickoff was on David Trezeguet, who looked to bring that ridiculous goalscoring ability to the fore again.
The former Juventus and France international nearly broke the deadlock early on as well, running in behind the Delhi Dynamos defence only to mistime his early left-footed shot.
That was all she wrote for Trezeguet in terms of a big impact in the game, though, as Delhi Dynamos, roared on by a pretty strong crowd, took control, creating chance after chance without actually finding the back of the net.
Even without their marquee player Del Piero in their lineup, the Dynamos dominated in terms of chances, with Mads Junker and Francis Fernandes causing a lot of trouble to the five-man backline – typically Italian that considering the Pune FC manager Franco Colomba is from that famous footballing country – of the away side.
Fernandes had a glorious opportunity early in the game to make it 1-0, with Junker squaring a nice little pass for the India international. Fernandes, however, completely mishit his strike from 12 yards.
There were plenty more oh-how-did-he-miss-that and man-if-only-that-pass-was-a-yard-on-this-side moments for the Delhi Dynamos, as Junker, Fernandes and Hans Mulder all forced saves off Emanuel Belardi, who had to be at his best for Pune City, or caused plenty of worry to the goalkeeper.
Despite having five men in the defence, and the experienced Greece international Kostas Katsouranis playing in defensive midfield, the Delhi Dynamos kept finding a way through a little too easily, and the home team's manager Harm Van Veldhoven, sensing the ascendancy and the need to make it count, decided to bring on del Piero with just 34 minutes gone.
It took a while for the Dynamos to make that substitution, but the roar that met Del Piero's introduction, at the expense of Morten Skoubo, was deafening.
There was to be no immediate impact from the Juventus record goalscorer, though, as the match went into halftime goalless.
The second half bore the same pattern, with the Delhi Dynamos making all the running, while Pune City looked to spring on the counter, looking to make use of Trezeguet's still considerable pace against the high home team backline.
Del Piero looked to get on the ball as much as possible, winning plenty of freekicks with his trickery, but he was not quite able to find that exquisite through ball or sublime finish to send the home crowd into delirium.
The best chance of the second half fell to Junker as the former Denmark international, who has been in terrific form in preseason, found himself one-one-one with Belardi, who yet again stood tall and big to quell the Dynamos surge.
The longer the match went, the more influential Del Piero seemed to get, with the Italian threatening with a rasping strike that went just wide, while twisting and turning at will to cause plenty of worry to the FC Pune City defence.
However, it was another substitute Gustavo Dos Santos, who nearly struck the winner for Delhi Dynamos, placing a left-footed strike from the edge of the box, which finally beat Belardi, but not the post as the ball pinged off the woodwork and towards safety.