Reading and Rubin Kazan played out a goalless draw in Ilz in Reading's final pre-season game during their trip to Austria.
No shortage of chances at either end of the field, but defences were on top in an entertaining game.
The game marked a first start for Marc McNulty, following his last-gasp equaliser last time out against Beşiktaş. He partnered Yakou Meite in the forward line, with Mo Barrow and Sone Aluko supporting on the flanks, but the game came just too soon for Jón Daði Böðvarsson after joining up with the squad on Wednesday.
The Royals carved out a great opportunity within five minutes of kick-off, a flowing move through the lines. Meite’s chest down allowed McNulty to steam onto the ball; after Barrow’s cross was cut out, it broke back for McNulty who rounded a challenge before striking into the goalkeeper’s arms.
Then the Russian outfit had a couple of chances in succession, each time through midfielder Igor Konovalov. Twice within the space of minutes, the ball broke his way on the edge of the area… each time, he fired a fraction over Vito Mannone’s bar.
It had been a blisteringly hot day in Ilz, but the temperature began to drop in the first period to everyone’s relief. The Rubin players were working especially hard to deny the Royals any opportunity to play their way through the lines.
And they looked dangerous on the counter too – midway through the first period Alexandr Bukharov was slipped in down the left channel but couldn’t find the angle as he struck first time. Soon after, former Swansea man Chico Flores fired off target as a delivery pinballed around the area.
But Reading began to look threatening again after an impromptu water break; Chris Gunter’s surging run down the right and a neat clip around a challenge allowed him to drill low, but his cross-shot was saved.
It could have been Rubin with the lead at half-time; Dmitriy Poloz had an effort deflected against the post, and Bukharov struck the woodwork in the same place on the follow-up. Konovalov tried to pick up the pieces but hit into Mannone's grateful arms.
Half-time: Reading 0-0 Rubin Kazan
There were three half-time subs for the Royals, with Liam Moore, Omar Richards and Smith all introduced to the action.
Meite, switched out to the right flank, looked to open the scoring just seconds after the restart - a bullet of an effort was just wide as he cut onto his left boot.
Rubin had a couple of chances in quick succession - but wasted both. Firstly striker Bukharov attempted a bicycle kick as Nikita Goldobin crossed from the right, but it was wide. And then Pavel Mogilevets was next to fire wide after being slipped in when the Royals had given the ball away upfield.
The Royals were faced with a new challenge for the final half-hour - Rubin changed all 10 of their outfield players, meaning fresh legs to contend with. Reading also introduced new players in smaller waves.
Half-time sub Smith attacked a Liam Kelly delivery but it was taken away from him; Barrow recycled the ball and this time Smith latched on, but the header was too deft.
After Rubin won a free-kick 40 yards from goal, Ruslan Kambolov struck first time - forcing Mannone to back-track and tip over the bar. From the resulting corner, the Royals managed to eventually clear their lines after some pressure.
John Swift was denied a match-winning goal in final few minutes of the game; Barrow got to the byline and hung up a cross in the six-yard box, but a sprawling save by Rubin's sub stopper kept the scores level. Goalless it ended.
Full-time: Reading 0-0 Rubin Kazan
Reading: Mannone (Ward 79), Gunter, Blackett (Richards HT), McShane (Moore HT), Ilori, Clement (Meyler 64), Rinomhota (Kelly 64), Aluko (Smith HT), Barrow, McNulty (Yiadom 71), Meite (Swift 71).
Unused subs: Edwards, Loader.
Rubin Kazan: Dzhanaev, Navas, Flores, Uremovic, Ustinov, Igor Konovalov, Bayramyan, Bukharov, Azmoun, Mogilevets, Poloz.
Subs: Ivan Konovalov, Akmurzin, Baburin, Granat, Kudryashov, Kambolov, Sorokin, Goldobin, Podberezkin, Shekari, Makhatadze, Bazaev, Mukhametzyanov, Gilyazutdinov, Kazanskiy, Yakovlev, Sharafeev, Giniyatullin, Chistyakov.