Adrian Neaga was satisfied that Arsenal FC's players "were not from another planet" after FC Steaua Bucureşti's narrow defeat against the English side.
Robin van Persie scored the only goal of the night to give the English side a 1-0 win in Bucharest, but 28-year-old Neaga was pleased that his side had not been outclassed. "We proved that we are a strong European team," said the midfielder. "We did our best and played well. If we had scored, the final result would have been different. Anyway, one could see that Arsenal's players were not from another planet."
Goalkeeper Robinson Zapata agreed that the two teams were more closely matched than reputations would suggest. "Up until Van Persie's goal we were equal to Arsenal, but we had bad luck. Arsenal are a very strong team, but we proved that we can play quality football. Now we will fight until the end for the qualification in the last 16. There are still chances and we have to believe in them, and if that is not possible, we can qualify for the UEFA Cup."
'Not as strong'
Steaua owner George Becali harked back to last season's UEFA Champions League group stage when Steaua lost home matches to Olympique Lyonnais and Real Madrid CF 3-0 and 4-1 respectively as he reflected on the Arsenal game, the team's first European match under stand-in coach Massimo Pedrazzini. "Madrid and Lyon did not give us any chance," he said. "Arsenal were not as strong. They could have been defeated."
Kolo Touré did well to head a Nicolae Dică effort off the line while substitute Victoraş Iacob also passed up a great chance to score for Steaua, leaving some with a bitter taste in their mouths at full-time. Midfielder Romeo Surdu said: "Arsenal are a fantastic team but they could only beat us with a lucky goal, while we missed some incredible goalscoring opportunities." With no points from their opening two Group H fixtures, Steaua now need a dramatic revival in their upcoming away and home fixtures against Sevilla FC if they are to progress to the knockout phase.
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