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Steaua scratch seven-year itch in Romania

Published: Saturday 4 May 2013, 19.26CET
FC Steaua Bucureşti have been confirmed as Romanian champions with five games to spare, 20-goal striker Raul Rusescu noting: "It is a fantastic feeling to be the best."
by Paul-Daniel Zaharia
from Bucharest
Steaua scratch seven-year itch in Romania
Raul Rusescu has been Steaua's star striker this season ©AFP/Getty Images
Published: Saturday 4 May 2013, 19.26CET

Steaua scratch seven-year itch in Romania

FC Steaua Bucureşti have been confirmed as Romanian champions with five games to spare, 20-goal striker Raul Rusescu noting: "It is a fantastic feeling to be the best."

FC Steaua Bucureşti have won their 24th Romanian title, after the only side that could still catch them – FC Petrolul Ploieşti – drew 2-2 at CS Turnu Severin today.

Goals from Raul Rusescu and Łukasz Szukała secured Steaua a 2-0 home win against CS Pandurii Lignitul Târgu Jiu on Friday night, with Rusescu – who has now scored 20 this season – setting himself a scoring target after the final whistle. "I am happy that I helped the team," he said. "This is what I always want and what I will do in the last rounds. I want to reach 24 goals to mark the club's 24th title."

The success ends a seven-year spell without the title for Romania's most successful club – and caps an excellent season for Laurențiu Reghecampf's side, in which they also reached the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League. Rusescu, who won the title in 2008/09 with FC Unirea Urziceni, added: "It is a fantastic feeling to be the best – to dominate the championship with such authority."

Steaua's domestic dominance was absolute: they have won the most games of any side in the league this season (21), and lost the fewest (2); they have also scored the most goals (64) and conceded the fewest (23). Should they maintain their 16-point lead at the top of the table, they will record the biggest winning margin in a Romanian title race since the three-points-for-a-win rule was introduced in 1994: FC Dinamo Bucureşti set the record, winning the 1999/00 title by 12 points.

Steaua's success coincides with Easter celebrations in Romania, and coach Laurențiu Reghecampf felt it was more than a coincidence. "The fact that we became, from mathematical point of view, champions on a holy day can be regarded as a sign," said the 37-year-old. "Now it's Easter and we have all reasons to be happy, because we worked hard for this. Becoming champions today means that God loves us."

Last updated: 04/05/13 23.24CET

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