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UEFA Europa League
March 8, 2013
• Arena Naţională, Bucureşti
Referee: S. Karasev
• Attendance: 50016
R. Rusescu 34'
Thanks for joining me for this Europa League tie tonight. I hope you have enjoyed the coverage, even if you're a Chelsea fan! If you're on Twitter, don't be afraid of searching me out (@RyanRyanBenson)! Take care, and good night!
Steaua take a slender 1-0 lead into the second leg at Stamford Bridge, and few will deny that the hosts were good value for that win. Raul Rusescu's first-half penalty was the difference, but many will argue that the decision was harsh on Chelsea defender Ryan Bertrand. Nevertheless, Steaua's hard-fought win was nothing less than they deserved.
90' + 5'
Fulltime in Bucharest! The reigning European champions loses this first leg 1-0 to Steaua.
90' + 3'
What an opportunity to get a second goal! Gardos stole the ball from Chelsea and then broke forward, but instead of picking out Tatu to his left or Chipciu to his right, he tried to go alone and his eventual shot was blocked.
90' + 2'
Raul Andrei Rusescu
90' + 2'
Bourceanu's corner is pretty dreadful as it is cleared by the first man - Fernando Torres. Back Steaua come, however.
90' + 1'
Popa does well to earn Steaua a corner down their right as he holds off pressure before knocking the ball against his marker.
We have another brief stoppage now as Terry fouls Szukala in the Steaua penalty area. Play is back underway soon after, however.
Chelsea are back on the front foot as Marin plays the ball into the central areas from the left, but Lampard's low shot goes well wide of the target.
The Romanian stopper seems to be alright and play is continued. It wouldn't be surprising if Tatarusanu was just buying his team-mates a bit of respite.
Luiz steps up to take the free kick and he goes for goal, but his effort glides over the bar. Tatarusanu takes the resulting goal kick, but opts to put the ball out of play so he can receive medical attention. He appears to have hurt his hip.
Steaua prevent the corner from leading to a chance, but Chelsea have possession back within a few seconds. The move ends as Chelsea win a free kick about 35-yards from goal.
Leandro Ângelo Martins
Great save by Tatarusanu! Ivanovic hit a brilliant long-range pass to the left flank for Marko Marin. The substitute controlled the ball behind Rapa, the right-back, then cut inside Szukala before shooting towards the near post, but the goalkeeper turns it behind.
Chelsea are seeing a lot of the ball currently, but they are finding it so difficult to string together a meaningful set of passes due to Steaua's fantastic pressing.
Torres has the ball on the right and he tries to collect the ball after knocking it past Chiriches, but the young defender - who has been excellent tonight - easily beats the Spaniard to the ball.
Chelsea now knocking the ball around quite effectively, but their possession is confined to the middle of the pitch and they don't look to be creating much.
Steaua looking increasingly less inclined to attack at the moment, and their fans are noticeably quieter. They don't have much longer to hold on to this lead.
Good chance for Chelsea! Mata's cross from the left is poorly cleared by the head of Szukala and the ball almost drops for Torres. The Spaniard does get his head to the ball, however, flicking it behind him for Hazard to hammer goalwards, but Tatarusanu helps it over the crossbar.
There seems to have been a bit of role-reversal here as Chelsea are now the ones probing for an opening in the Steaua defence, with the hosts guarding the edge of their area.
A stumble in possession by Popa allows Chelsea to steal the ball and begin some sort of forward-thinking move. Oscar gets the ball on the right and skips away from a defender before crossing, but his effort is pretty dire as it goes over the goal and out for goal kick.
Latovlevici has been excellent for most of this match and he almost puts a great pass in for Chipciu, but Luiz sweeps up well and knocks the ball out of play. Safety first there from the Brazilian.
A promising couterattack looks to be on for the hosts as their interchangeable attackers move around each other. However, the impressive Chipciu plays a tired-looking pass left for Tanase, but the latter can't reach it.
Yellow Card John Obi Mikel
Laurentiu Reghecampf's side don't appear to be committing quite so many players forward now, but they still look capable of causing problems. Substitute Prepelita has his first real involvement as he is fouled by Mikel. The Nigerian is booked.
Chelsea are getting plenty of players forward here, but again a pass goes astray and Latovlevici smashes the ball against Oscar and it goes out. Meanwhile, the ineffectual Benayoun is replaced by Juan Mata. Surely the visitors will start creating chances now?
Chelsea are doing their best to conjure something in attack and Oscar crosses into the middle from the right, but the solid Chiriches gets a foot in and clears the delivery.
David Luiz breaks forward from the back, but the Brazilian loses possession and is out of position. Szukala plays the ball forward immediately and Chipciu manages to keep it in. The winger cuts inside from the right and picks out Tanase who arrives late, but the midfielder's first-time effort goes into orbit. He could have at least take a touch.
The midfield battle is rather feisty at the moment. Plenty of tackles flying in from both sets of players, but Steaua's men seem to swarm around their opponents.
Mihai Doru Pintilii
We have a break in play currently as Popa receives medical attention in the Chelsea penalty area. He appears to be okay, however, as he jogs back to the halfway line.
The intensity being shown by Steaua does not appear to be letting up at all. If anything their urgency seems to have improved since halftime.
Once again, the hosts attack down the left through Latovlevici, and this time his cross is a lot better. His delivery is hit low, hard and cut back towards the edge of the area. Tanase tries to control it and is tackled by Terry, but the ball goes straight into Rusescu's path who volleys the ball just wide.
Chelsea's defence remains camped on the edge of the area as Steaua knock the ball around them, probing for a way through. After an unsuccessful few moments, the ball it sent out wide to Latovlevici, but his cross is uncharacteristically poor.
Chelsea began the half in a decent fashion, but Steaua are on top once again, and they look particularly dangerous on the counterattack.
Yellow Card Mihai Doru Pintilii
Chelsea are less than impressed with some of Steaua's tough tackling. First Hazard is knocked to the floor by Chipciu, and then Pintili produces a wild kick on John Terry.
A clever passing move almost comes off to perfection for Steaua. Chipciu comes in from the right and passes to Rusescu. However, Rusescu steps over the ball and runs into the danger area, where Tanase tries to put his pass, but Luiz gets a foot on the ball and Chelsea clear.
Good play by Mikel as he skips pas the challenges of three players before slipping the ball through to Oscar, but the Brazilian is sent tumbling to the floor.
The action is underway once again between Steaua Bucharest and Chelsea in the Europa League. The away side kick off.
The teams are back out following halftime.
Thanks to @ezejameschinedu for this: "chelsea will lose the match by 1-0," and @Xclusivexyz for this: "why on earth should Benitez always use Bertrand and what happened to Moses and Ramires? We want Rafa out!!!! Benayoun also."
Here is a Tweet received during that first half: "me in India..at factory..working graveyard shift..checking out your live update..thanK man..3-1 in favour of Chelsea." Thank you for that @swatantra1885. Keep telling me your thoughts on Twitter. (@RyanRyanBenson)
Chelsea go into the break a goal down with the hosts looking far more comfortable than The Blues, but do you think they can claw this one back? Their attacking players have been quiet so far. Do they have the capacity to up their game on demand? Let me know on Twitter: @RyanRyanBenson.
No time added on in Bucharest as Steaua take a 1-0 lead into halftime, and deservedly so.
Yet again, a Chelsea corner comes to nothing as the first half edges closer to an end.
Another good save by Tatarusanu! Torres gets on the end of a lofted pass from the midfield and proceeds to hit it first time from the edge of the area, but the goalkeeper gets down and pushes it behind for a corner.
Hazard has done more in the last three minutes than he did in the opening 38 minutes and he is involved again as he jinks around in the area before looking to beat Rapa down the outside. He gets past the right-back, but runs the ball out of play. Poor.
Chelsea have another good chance as the corner is met at the near post by the head of Ivanovic, but it goes over Tatarusanu's crossbar.
Very good save from Tatarusanu! Hazard had until now been anonymous, but a quick passing move with Benayoun on the edge of the area allowed the Israeli to create space for himself. After receiving a pass from the Belgian, Benayoun shoots towards the bottom corner, but the goalkeeper palms it round the post.
If falling behind doesn't liven Chelsea up, I'm not sure what will. They have not troubled Steaua's defence at all really, and that needs to change.
Penalty Goal Raul Andrei Rusescu
GOAL!! Steaua Bucharest take the lead against Chelsea! Raul Rusescu won the penalty and then stepped up and slotted it home himself.
Yellow Card Ryan Bertrand
PENALTY STEAUA! After taking a few moments to think about it, the referee points to the spot following that previous bit of play! Bertrand looked to pull Rusescu to the ground to stop him heading a shot on goal, and the referee spotted it!
Steaua attack down the left and the ball is crossed into the area, towards the far post. Rusescu rises alongside Bertrand and the ball goes out of play.
A defensive error sees Szukala concede a corner against Torres, but like Chelsea's previous set-pieces, it comes to nothing. It only takes Steaua a matter of seconds to be back on the attack.
Steaua's right full-back Rapa has been quiet so far, but he is used to good effect in this attack as he overlaps and gets in behind Bertrand. After receiving a through-ball he crosses into the area, but it is just a little too high for Rusescu.
Some of Steaua's passing football has been excellent at times, and they put together another good move. Chipciu twists and turns away from Benayoun and Ivanovic before combining with Tanase and Pintilii. When the move gets near the penalty area Luiz steps out well to good effect and intercepts.
Chelsea have definitely grown into the match a little more over the past five minutes or so. Steaua look to build another attack as the goalkeeper Tatarusanu boots the ball forward, but Tanase is penalised for unfairly jumping with Terry.
Lampard jogs to the opposite side of the pitch to take the resulting corner. His delivery goes deep and his headed wide by Ivanovic.
Lampard plays the free kick into the area, but just before Terry can meet it with his head, a Steaua defender puts it behind.
Good play by Torres as he progresses down the right and draws a foul from Latovlevici. It was a clumsy tackle and Chelsea now have a good chance from the resulting free kick.
Promising move by Steaua as they look to catch their visitors on the break. Tanase cleverly keeps the ball from Oscar before moving it forward. Eventually Popa tries to cross from the right, but it is deflected out for the throw-in.
Chelsea have probably their longest spell of possession as Oscar does well to hold Bourceanu off down the right. After passing to Mikel, the ball is spread to Luiz on the left and the Brazilian wins a free kick after Popa's strong challenge.
However, Chelsea are offering even less in attack. Hazard, Oscar and Benayoun have hardly touched the ball so far.
Steaua are looking very comfortable so far, but their final ball has not been good enough, with Rusescu seeing little of the ball.
Promising move here by Chelsea as Torres gets the ball on the right side of the penalty area. The Spaniard takes the ball past Latovlevici, but then proceeds to kick the ball out of play off his other foot. He then stands looking bemused as to what just transpired. He probably couldn't do that again even if he tried.
More light-hearted appeals from the home support for a penalty as Latovlevici's cross hits Luiz on its way into Cech's hands, but again the referee wasn't interested.
Bourceanu's corner goes in, but Chelsea clear it without any problems. We still haven't had much to talk about in terms of chances.
Steaua win themselves a corner as Chipciu beats Ivanovic down the left, but the defender gets a foot in. Some sections of the crowd were calling for a penalty, too, but there was nothing in that.
Tanase gifts possession back to Chelsea, but as soon as The Blues have the ball boos ring out from all sides of the stadium. Within 15 seconds Chelsea knock the ball out of play carelessly.
Chelsea find a way out of their own half for a few moments, but Steaua soon win the ball back and Vlad Chiriches marches forward from the back. The defender puts a pass into Rusescu, but the striker he knocked to the floor by David Luiz.
The resulting corner isn't great as it goes into the area very low, but it does eventually drop to a Steaua player. However, Latovlevici blasts a shot well over from a tight angle.
Good play from Rusecu down the right as the forward takes on Bertrand before winning a corner from the left-back.
Steaua's good start continues as Chipciu breaks away from Mikel and shoots from range, but the young midfielder's effort goes harmlessly wide.
The hosts are looking confident on the ball in these opening stages, but Tanase loses the ball in the centre of the pitch. Lampard looks to break forward, but the ball to Torres is cut out easily.
The home side are straight on to the attack, but Chelsea clear their corner at the second time of asking.
The action is underway in Bucharest.
Chelsea's two Europa League goals so far this season have been scored in the final 15 minutes of ties.
Steaua have scored eight times in the last 15 minutes of European matches this season, 42 per cent of their overall output.
Laurentiu Reghecampf's side have lost only four of their previous 20 home matches in Europe.
The Romanians finished top of their Europa League group, above Stuttgart, FC Copenhagen and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Molde.
Now for some stats. Did you know that Chelsea and Steaua have never faced each other before in a competitive match?
We have just under ten minutes until kick-off in Bucharest, so let's get some predictions in. What do you think the score will be? I am going for a narrow away win for Chelsea; 2-1. Send your predictions to me on Twitter: @RyanRyanBenson.
And now for the Chelsea team: Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Bertrand; Lampard, Mikel; Benayoun, Oscar, Hazard; Torres. SUBS: Turnbull, Cole, Ferreira, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Mata, Marin
Let's get straight into the teams. Here is Steaua's starting XI: Tatarusanu; Rapa, Szukala, Chiriches, Latovlevici; Bourceanu, Pintilii, Popa, Chipciu, Tanase; Rusescu. SUBS: Stanca, Gardos, Filip, Prepelita, Tatu, Iancu, Adi.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE play-by-play of the Europa League tie between Steaua Bucharest and Chelsea. My name is Ryan Benson and I will be taking you through the action tonight.
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