Nicolae Dica insisted his coach Cosmin Olaroiu should take the plaudits despite the No10 scoring twice in FC Steaua Bucuresti's superb 4-1 victory away to FC Dynamo Kyiv last night.
It was Steaua's first match in the UEFA Champions League in a decade but the Romanian title-holders showed no nerves at the NSC Olympiyskiy Stadium, with Dica registering once in each half. His sumptuous curling free-kick put Steaua 3-1 up at the break and underlined the confidence with which he is playing at the moment, having struck six times in the Romanian league and twice for his country this season.
The result was the biggest shock of Matchday 1 - only Juventus and FC Bayern München have defeated Dynamo by that margin in the European Champion Clubs' Cup in Kiev - although the forward said he and his side were only following Olaroiu's orders. "We played the way we had to play and we respected everything our coach told us," he said. "In this team there are several players who have played for a long time together and it's time to achieve something important."
After knocking out R. Standard de Liège in the third qualifying round to reach Group E, the 1986 European champions had already gone a long way to erasing the memory of last season's heart-wrenching loss to Middlesbrough FC in the UEFA Cup semi-finals. This success will give Steaua further confidence, but they are not getting ahead of themselves.
"First of all, we have to forget this match and concentrate exclusively on what is to come," Valentin Badea, scorer of the Steaua's second goal, said. "First we have to play domestic derbies against [AFC] Rapid [Bucuresti] and [FC] Dinamo [Bucuresti] and only after that do we face Olympique Lyonnais. We have a big advantage for that game because we will play in our stadium and have the full support of our fantastic fans. After beating Real Madrid [CF] 2-0, they are favourites, but who knows?"
'Happy and proud'
Ovidiu Petre, who appeared as a late substitute, was the only player in the Steaua team who had played in the UEFA Champions League before - in the colours of Galatasaray SK. Any fears that the Romanian club would be outclassed were soon banished, making a mockery of Badea's pre-match concerns. "I'm happy and I'm proud we didn't make fools of ourselves on the pitch," he said. As yesterday's performance proved, there was no danger of that.
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