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Steaua's credentials face serious test

Published: Friday 15 September 2006, 21.45CET
Bucharest gets it first taste of UEFA Champions League football in 12 years as FC Steaua Bucuresti look to build on their winning start against Olympique Lyonnais.

Tournament statistics


Goals scored7
Attempts on target21
Attempts off target33
Fouls committed134
Yellow cards18
Red cards0
Published: Friday 15 September 2006, 21.45CET

Steaua's credentials face serious test

Bucharest gets it first taste of UEFA Champions League football in 12 years as FC Steaua Bucuresti look to build on their winning start against Olympique Lyonnais.

The visit of Olympique Lyonnais must be one of the most eagerly awaited fixtures in FC Steaua Bucuresti's recent history. It marks not just Steaua's first home game since last December at their revamped stadium but also their first UEFA Champions League group stage fixture in Bucharest in ten years.

• Steaua, who played their qualifying round matches at the Lia Manoliu stadium, go into the match on the back of a a dream start in Group E, following their 4-1 win at FC Dynamo Kyiv on 13 September. The Romanian champions needed just three minutes to go in front through Sorin Ghionea and although Dynamo drew level, further strikes from Valentin Badea (24) and Nicolae Dica (43, 79) secured a handsome victory.

High expectations
• Expectancy levels will be sky-high when Cosmin Olaroiu's team step out to face Olympique Lyonnais. Despite the excitement stirred by their defeat of Dynamo, however, Lyon's visit should provide a better measure of Steaua's prospects. UEFA Champions League quarter-finalists for the past three seasons, the French champions underlined their undoubted quality by beating Real Madrid CF 2-0 in their opening assignment.

• Just as 12 months previously, when they humbled Madrid 3-0 on Matchday 1, Gérard Houllier's men flew out of the starting blocks at the Stade Gerland, taking an eleventh-minute lead through Fred before Tiago added a second goal after 31 minutes.

• Whatever the outcome of Madrid's meeting with Dynamo in Spain in the group's other match, both Steaua and Lyon know that another win in Bucharest will give them an outright lead in the section with six points.

• Steaua won their most recent encounter with French opposition, beating RC Lens 4-0 in the UEFA Cup group stage last season on their way to reaching the semi-finals. Victoras Iacob, Dorin Goian and Dica (2) were the scorers.

French fightback
• They also won their three previous home meetings with French teams in Europe's premier club competition. On each occasion, however, Steaua were beaten on aggregate – notably in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round in 1997/98 when a 5-0 away loss to Paris Saint-Germain FC overturned the Romanian outfit's 3-0 first-leg advantage. Steaua originally won that match 3-2 but were awarded a 3-0 victory after PSG fielded an ineligible player.

• Lyon have faced Romanian opponents just once before, when they overcame AFC Rapid Bucuresti 2-1 in a UEFA Intertoto Cup tie in Bucharest in 1997. Goalkeeper Grégory Coupet was in the Lyon team that day.

• The Lyon coach, Houllier, got the better of Steaua during his time in charge of Liverpool FC. In a UEFA Cup second-round tie in 2003/04, Houllier's team drew 1-1 in Bucharest before a 1-0 win at Anfield.

Last updated: 24/09/06 22.02CET