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Ten-man FC Steaua Bucureşti got the result they came for as they advanced as Group E winners – though they endured a few late scares as FC København's equaliser briefly revived the Danish side's own UEFA Europa League hopes.
After a first half low on intrigue the second was full of it. Steaua's Cristian Tănase was sent off four minutes after the interval, but the visitors from Romania still forged ahead through Raul Rusescu midway through the second period. FCK, needing victory to go through, finally forced an equaliser through Igor Vetokele with three minutes left. However, Steaua held on through four frantic minutes of added time and will take their place in the last-32 draw on 20 December.
There was a lot at stake for both teams in a cautious opening, with misplaced passes common and chances rare. Steaua had the best of them. Rusescu went close with a fizzing drive and only Lars Jacobsen's superb sliding block denied Tănase what looked a certain goal. Stefan Nikolić then squandered a good opportunity, let down by his first touch.
Tănase's departure soon after the restart – when he was booked for a second time after simulation – turned the tide. Ragnar Sigurdsson blasted over from close range after Andreas Cornelius had nodded into his path. Substitute Vetokele had a header well saved by Ciprian Tătăruşanu and the keeper did even better to keep out Cornelius's effort moments later.
As København chased the breakthrough it promptly arrived – at the other end. Alexandru Bourceanu dispossessed Thomas Delaney and the ball fell to Rusescu, who sent an unstoppable missile past Kim Christensen. Vetokele gave København a lifeline, nodding Jacobsen's cross past Tătăruşanu. A second strike proved elusive, though, so Steaua and a relieved VfB Stuttgart – beaten 1-0 by Molde FK – go through.
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