With very few chances in the game, Italian media focused on a group of away fans who threw bottles at Bulgarian supporters and made fascist salutes and chants.

Italy has been battling a soccer hooligan problem in recent years while there have been tensions with eastern European immigrants throughout the country.

"The fans need to be punished," Italian soccer federation president Giancarlo Abete told Rai television. "Tickets were sold with names on them so we can trace every single person."

On the field, debutant Simone Pepe had an average game while fellow striker Giuseppe Rossi, who came on as a substitute for his first cap, was more involved and could be pushing for a start in Wednesday's home match against Montenegro in Lecce.

Forward Luca Toni will be missing through suspension after picking up a booking in Sofia but he probably would not have started anyway.

The struggling Bayern Munich frontman made another uninspired appearance as a substitute with the lively Alberto Gilardino starting ahead of him.

"I'm satisfied with the way we played," Italy coach Marcello Lippi told reporters. "We didn't create many chances but we also didn't allow the Bulgarians to score. This team is growing in experience after every single match."

Italy top Group Eight with seven points from three games.

(Reporting by Mark Meadows; Additional reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Martin Petty)