Manchester City forward Silva is foiled by the Greek side's defence
By Mike Henson
Manchester City could not find a way through a resolute Aris Salonika defence as the first leg of the Europa League last-32 tie ended goalless.
Striker Edin Dzeko failed to convert Aleksandar Kolarov's low cross from City's best chance of the first half.
Dzeko's header forced a great save from Michalis Sifakis, before Neto sent a fierce effort just wide for Aris.
Mario Balotelli returned for City as a late substitute and saw a bicycle kick float wide in the dying stages.
The hosts had never lost in 24 European matches at the Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium and in finishing second in Group B had beaten the cup holders Atletico Madrid.
City manager Roberto Mancini may take solace from the fact that Aris' two previous English opponents at the ground, Chelsea and Ipswich, went on to respectively win the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1971 and the Uefa Cup in 1981 after failing to win in Greece.
A fevered atmosphere doubtless helped build Aris' formidable home record and after the teams had emerged to a flurry of tickertape and a firework display, Raul Bobadilla fuelled the home fans' enthusiasm as he prowled dangerously around Jerome Boateng.
But City dominated the early possession and David Silva's dipping shot forced Sifakis into a plunging save before Micah Richards' appeals for a penalty were waved away by referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco.
Dzeko was supported by an attacking trio of Carlos Tevez, Silva and Shaun Wright-Phillips interchanging positions and probing dangerously behind him, but struggled with his finishing.
The Bosnian's first sight of goal was provided by Kolarov's low cross threaded through a forest of legs, but, although Dzeko's control was sharp, his stabbed shot looped up tamely for Sifakis to gather.
Shortly afterwards, the former Wolfsburg player's trundling shot on the edge of the box failed to match the neat turn that had preceded it.
Daisuke Sakata's darting runs down Aris' left flank had appeared their best hope of an unlikely breakthrough before Gareth Barry and Joe Hart accidentally collided, nudging the goalkeeper out of his area as he attempted to clear upfield.
It was a good opportunity for Brazilian free-kick specialist Neto, but his effort drifted narrowly wide of the post.
City finished the half on top as a through-ball from Tevez sliced open the Aris rearguard, but the pass proved a touch too strong as Dzeko chased in vain.
In the second half, Aris pushed forward trying to change the momentum of the match and immediately posed more questions of the visiting defence.
Ricardo Faty glanced a header wide when a less subtle touch was required before Juan Carlos Toja shaped menacingly to shoot but only found Hart's midriff with a skidding 20-yard effort.
Dzeko then had Sifakis at full stretch as he nodded Barry's cross goalwards before his swerving effort crashed into the hoardings with the goalkeeper struggling to cover his ground.
In between those attempts, Neto gave Hart a fright as he unleashed a long-range effort that the England number one could only palm away.
Mancini introduced Ballotelli from the bench for his first appearance since picking up a knee injury in December, but appeared to have settled for the draw as he withdrew Dzeko in favour of Pablo Zabaleta with seven minutes remaining.
A late flurry of attacks almost earned City a lead to take to Eastlands for the return but Balotelli's overhead kick strayed wide, before Richards fluffed a headed chance from a corner.
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