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UEFA Champions League
October 22, 2013
• Arena Naţională, Bucureşti
Referee: M. Jug
• Attendance: 23899
Leandro Tatu 88'
M. Diaz 48'
So, Steaua extend their winless streak in the Champions League to 20 matches and the two sides will return to European action when they meet in the reverse fixture on Wednesday November 6. Thanks for joining me, Max Bentley, on this live commentary. Until next time, goodbye!
FT: Steaua Bucharest 1-1 Basel. Leandro Tatu's late equaliser earns the Romanian champions their first point of the Champions League group stages but the look on Laurentiu Reghecampf's face suggests that their European dream is over. Marcelo Diaz's wonder-strike gave the visitors the lead but the Swiss side conceded at the death to put their own qualification hopes in jeopardy.
90' + 3'
Steaua continue to apply the pressure in the closing stages but Basel stand firm. Latovlevici's raking pass picks out Popa but his shot is well blocked by Voser.
90' + 1'
Incidentally, Eden Hazard has put Chelsea 3-0 up at Schalke in the other game in this group.
Steaua win a corner but they cannot make it count as Bourceanu's delivery is headed clear. The home fans are really behind their side now.
That is Steaua's first Champions League group stage goal this season. Can they now find a late winner?
Assist Adrian Popa I
Goal Leandro Ângelo Martins
STEAUA EQUALISE!!! The Romanians have finally found a way past the Basel defence as Popa gets past Voser down the right and his pinpoint cross picks out Tatu in the box and the Brazilian does not disappoint, volleying into the net from close range.
G. Serey Die
Final change for Basel as Arling Ajeti comes on to replace Serey Die. Not long left for the Swiss side now. They are closing in on a crucial three points.
Popa produces some neat stepovers on the right corner of the box but Ivanov watches the ball closely and produces an expert tackle to take the ball away from the nimble winger.
The Romanians are continuing to pour forward and Latovlevici's diagonal ball just evades the run of Kapetanos, who had got away from his marker. Can they find the equaliser?
ANOTHER CHANCE GOES BEGGING FOR STEAUA! Voser's sloppy clearance falls to Bourceanu on the edge of the box and the Steaua captain opens up his body but can only curl a left-footed effort wide of the post.
Marcelo Diaz has already scored one spectacular strike but his free kick strkes Tatu in the wall and is eventually cleared to safety. Less than ten minutes remaining for Steaua to salvage their Champions League dream.
Filip becomes the second Steaua player to be booked after a mistimed challenge on Stocker. Good chance for the Swiss champions here but they will be in no rush to take it.
Yellow Card Łukasz Szukala
Tatu does well to pressurise Ivanov into conceding a corner but Bourceanu's delivery is well headed clear by the Bulgarian. Salah looks to launch a counter attack but he is outnumbered by the retreating Steaua defence.
Basel look determined to keep their clean sheet and Schar produces two clearances in quick succession to clear crosses from the left. Steaua are starting to throw more players forward now as time is running out for the Romanian champions.
Second change of the game for Basel and it is a slightly defensive-minded one as Mohamed Elneny replaces Marco Streller.
GOOD CHANCE FOR STEAUA! Popa finds space down the right wing and his brilliant low cross picks out Tatu but the Brazilian leans back and fires an effort over the crossbar. Reghecampf looks bemused on the touchline.
Streller plays a neat pass behind Gardos for Salah to chase. However, the Egypt international is denied a route to goal as Georgievski gets back brilliantly to make a crucial tackle.
Tamase continues to cause problems down the left for Steaua and his accurate low cross into the middle is somehow deflected wide by Kapetanos with the goal gaping. Fortunately for the Greek, the linesman's flag was raised.
Meanwhile in Germany, Fernando Torres has scored again to put Chelsea 2-0 ahead over Schalke.
Behrang Safari is unable to continue after suffering that muscular injury and he is replaced by 22-year-old Thaulant Xhaka.
Yellow Card Daniel Georgievski
Georgievski becomes the first Steaua man to be cautioned after a late tackle on Stocker. Elsewhere, there is a concern for Safari who appears to have suffered a muscle injury.
GOOD SHOT FROM FILIP! Serey Die is dispossesed in a dangerous area and the ball falls for Filip on the edge of the box who stings the gloves of Sommer with a fierce drive. That certainly pleased the home fans. Can they find the equaliser?
The fans are getting really restless now as Tatu allows a ball to run through for Kapetanos, only for the Greek striker to fail to anticipate it. As things stand, Basel would join Chelsea and Schalke on six points.
Basel continue to exert the pressure with Stocker looking to muscle his way through to goal. However, he cannot seriously test Tatarusanu, under pressure from Gardos.
Mihai Doru Pintilii
Lucian Ionuţ Filip
Last roll of the dice for Steaua as they opt to make their final change. Lucian Filip comes on to replace Mihai Pintili. Can the substitutions pay dividends?
WHAT A CHANCE FOR LATOVLEVICI TO REDEEM HIMSELF! Popa's cross somehow finds its way to Latovlevici at the back post and the left-back cuts inside Voser before he wildly slices wide with his right foot.
Basel come forward once again but Tatarusanu is on hand to deny Serey Die's shot from the edge of the box.
Nicolae Claudiu Stanciu
Leandro Ângelo Martins
The home side need to change something here as the Swiss side are beginning to take control. Reghecampf spots the danger and replaces Nicolae Stanciu with Leandro Tatu. That has not pleased the fans.
The home crowd jeer loudly when Pintilli's cutback hits the referee and allows Basel to counter attack. Fortunately for the Slovenian official, the move breaks down.
Basel are looking to take advantage of a wounded Steaua but Safari's teasing cross into the box is well headed clear by Latovlevici. Can the Romanians respond?
Assist Marco Streller
Goal Marcelo Díaz
BASEL TAKE THE LEAD! Latovlevici is the culprit as he gifts possession to Streller and the forward lays the ball off to Marcelo Diaz who curls the ball first time over the reach of Tatarusanu and into the top corner from the edge of the box. Wonderful strike, the Swiss champions lead!
The Romanians look to make a quick start and Tanase surges down the left before his inviting low cross is well saved by Sommer.
The referee blows his whistle to get the second half underway and there is a change for the hosts as Pantelis Kapetanos replaces top goalscorer Federico Piovaccari up front.
Steaua coach Reghecampf has labelled this tie as a must-win and if that is the case, the Romanians have only 45 minutes to salvage their European campaign.
HT: Steaua Bucharest 0-0 Basel. All square at the halfway mark as the Romanians' search for a first Champions League group stage goal continues. Laurentiu Reghecampf's side have shown plenty of promise in the opening 45 minutes but it is Basel who have looked the more dangerous and they went closest when Valentin Stocker's deflected effort cannoned back off the crossbar. Both sides are desperate for the three points so let's hope for more attacking football in the second half.
No, they can not. Stocker has delivered some fine set pieces in this first half but this is not one of his better attempts as Tatarusanu comfortably plucks the ball out of the air. With that, the referee blows the half-time whistle.
Basel continue to press before the break and Diaz's teasing cross is headed behind by Szukala for a corner. Can the Swiss side take advantage?
Basel are looking to snatch a goal before the break but Stocker's mazy dribble is brought to a halt by Gardos' well-timed challenge.
BASEL HIT THE BAR! Stocker receives the ball on the edge of the box and his left-footed effort takes a wicked deflection off Szukala before looping over Tatarusanu and off the underside of the woodwork!
This is a good spell for Steaua and Latovlevici's corner is met brilliantly by the head of Szukala, forcing Sommer into another save.
LATOVLEVICI GOES CLOSE! Steaua win a free kick on the right corner of the box and the left-back lays the ball off to Bourceanu before striking a curling left-footed shot narrowly wide of the right post. That certainly had Sommer scrambling.
GOOD SAVE BY SOMMER! Georgievski's good tackle allows him to set up Tanase on the left side of the box. The midfielder takes a touch before his low left-footed drive is well parried by the Basel goalkeeper. He could perhaps have taken an extra touch there to give himself a better angle but a good effort nonetheless.
Incidentally, Steaua are unbeaten against Swiss opponents in their last four home games. Can they add Basel to that list? It's been a pretty even 33 minutes so far although Basel have perhaps created the better openings.
WHAT A CHANCE FOR BASEL! Safari exchanges passes wonderfully with Stocker but he opts to try and beat Tatarusanu at his near post and can only hit the side netting. Wrong option from the Swede - he had fellow white shirts in the middle.
Safari gets forward from left-back excellently to reach a long diagonal ball but his cross into the middle is poor and easily intercepted by Pintilli. Both sides have looked threatening but are yet to seriously test either goalkeeper.
Tanase has looked the liveliest player on the pitch for Steaua and he cuts in from the right before his fizzing left-footed drive is well held by Sommer. That's much better from the Romanian champions!
Basel are looking dangerous from set pieces and Stocker's corner is nearly turned into the goal at the front post. You get the feeling there will be goals in this one.
Marcelo Diaz gives the ball away in a dangerous area but Stanciu disappointingly kicks the ball in front of him, allowing Ivanov to diffuse a promising counter attack.
Yellow Card Kay Voser
Voser joins Schar in the book after another mistimed challenge on Tanase. The Steaua No.10 is certainly proving a tricky customer for the Swiss defence.
Basel are looking threatening whenever they attack however, especially with Egyptian Mohamed Salah cutting in from the right. Will we see a goal before half time?
Yellow Card Fabian Schaer
Schar picks up the first booking of the game after his mistimed tackle on Tanase gifts Steaua a free kick. However, Stanciu's set piece is poor and Sommer makes a comfortable save.
Basel attack down the other end immediately and it requires a brilliant challenge from Gardos to prevent Salah from placing his shot into the bottom corner.
CHANCE FOR STEAUA! The Romanians attack down the right again and Voser's poor header falls to Stanciu on the edge of the box but he can only fire over the bar disappointingly with his left foot.
Steaua are looking for the long ball over the top but on this occasion Ivanov does well to steal the ball away from Popa.
Steaua have not won a home Champions League group stage match since 1996 when they defeated Polish side Widzew Lodz 1-0. Can they end that miserable winless run this evening?
OFF THE LINE! Basel have suddenly sprung into life and Georgievski is the reason that they are not ahead as he produces a wonderful goal line clearance to deny Ivanov from putting the Swiss champions in front.
GOOD CHANCE FOR STRELLER! The Swiss striker is sent clear through on goal and he races away from Gardos but can only fire straight at Tatarusanu.
Georgievski marauds down the right wing but his cross, aimed for Piovaccari, is well plucked out of the air by Sommer. The Romanian side seem to have identified that wing as a weakness.
It is Steaua who continue to exert the early pressure but Ivanov does well to rise highest to clear Bourceanu's teasing free kick. Can they make the pressure count with their first goal of this season's group stages?
There has been an early goal in the other game in this group as Fernando Torres has given Chelsea a 1-0 lead away at Schalke.
Last season Basel narrowly missed out on being the first Swiss side to reach a European final when they were defeated by Chelsea 5-2 on aggregate in the Europa League semi-finals.
Ivanov looks vulnerable defending a long ball pumped from the back but his defensive partner, Schar, gets across brilliantly to prevent Piovaccari from advancing through onto goal.
It's a bright start from the hosts and Stanciu's cross is half-cleared by Schar, allowing Latovlevici a shot from the edge of the box which takes a deflection and goes behind for a corner.
The Slovenian referee blows his whistle and Steaua gets the game underway in Bucharest.
Captains Alexandru Bourceanu and Marco Strellar begin the handshakes between the respective sides as a 'Say No To Racism' sign is passed around. Tonight's official is Matek Jug from Slovenia.
The teams emerge from the tunnel with the famous Champions League anthem booming around the stadium. It's hardly a sell-out but the Romanian fans are making a fair old racket.
However, Steaua have tasted European success before and they lifted the European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1985/86 when they defeated Barcelona in a penalty shoot-out.
Incidentally, despite their poor European form, Steaua have been in good form in the Romanian league, winning eight and drawing one of their nine fixtures. Basel also top the Swiss league, losing only one of the first 12 matches. Who will come out on top today? Kickoff is five minutes away.
Basel coach Murat Yakin makes three changes to the side which defeated St Gallen 3-0 on Saturday. Arlind Ajeti, Matias Delgado and Taulant Xhaka drop out of the side with Behrang Safari, Marcelo Diaz and Mohamed Salah coming in.
Steaua coach Laurentiu Reghecampf makes two changes to the side which beat Viitorul Constanta 4-0 on Friday. Cristian Tanase and Iasmin Latovlevici comes into the starting eleven with Adrian Cristea and Paul Pirvulescu dropping out. Alexandru Chipciu, who has undergone surgery on his tibia, starts on the bench.
BASEL (4-3-3): Sommer; Voser, Schar, Ivanov, Safari; Marcelo Diaz, Serey Die, F. Frei; Salah, Stocker, Streller.
STEAUA (4-2-3-1): Tatarusanu; Georgievski, Szukała, Gardos, Latovlevici; Bourceanu, Pintilii; Popa, Stanciu, Tanase; Piovaccari.
Without further ado, here are today's line-ups, starting with the Romanian champions...
As for Basel, they showed their quality when they defeated 2011/12 Champions League winners Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge with goals from Mohamed Salah and Marco Streller. However, their European campaign suffered a blow against Schalke as they were defeated 1-0 at home by the German outfit. Both sides will therefore be desperate to clinch all three points tonight.
Steaua Bucharest boss Laurentiu Reghecampf admits that his side have just one "last chance", claiming that his side's Champions League campaign will be over if they fail to beat Basel tonight. The Romanian champions have lost their opening matches to Schalke and Chelsea 3-0 and 4-0 respectively. Can they claim their first points of the group stage today? Bringing you all the action from the Arena Nationala, my name is Max Bentley.
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