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Neaga eager to unsettle Arsenal

Published: Tuesday 2 October 2007, 10.22CET
FC Steaua Bucureşti forward Adrian Neaga has come back to Romania after three years in Korea Republic keen to make a mark in the UEFA Champions League.
by Paul-Daniel Zaharia
from Bucharest

Tournament statistics

SteauaArsenal

Goals scored4
 
19
Attempts on target14
 
53
Attempts off target33
 
55
Corners16
 
51
Offsides37
 
36
Fouls committed110
 
129
Yellow cards12
 
17
Red cards0
 
0
 
Published: Tuesday 2 October 2007, 10.22CET

Neaga eager to unsettle Arsenal

FC Steaua Bucureşti forward Adrian Neaga has come back to Romania after three years in Korea Republic keen to make a mark in the UEFA Champions League.

FC Steaua Bucureşti forward Adrian Neaga is back in Romania after three years overseas and is eager to make his mark in the UEFA Champions League. Neaga was motivated to return home from the Korea Republic by the prospect of Europe's premier club competition and is now anticipating a group-stage debut against Arsenal FC.

Hopeful
The 28-year-old had been a firm favourite at Steaua – scoring 27 league goals in 79 games between 2001 and 2005 – before leaving to play in Asia. Gheorghe Hagi, Steaua's now former coach, omitted him against SK Slavia Praha on Matchday 1, so a first appearance in the tournament proper beckons for Neaga on Tuesday. "I hope to make my debut, as till now I have only played in the second and third qualifying rounds," he told uefa.com.

National pride
As well as being excited about a possible UEFA Champions League bow, Neaga is quick to emphasise that Steaua's Group H campaign will be followed closely throughout Romania. "Don't forget that Steaua are the only Romanian team to have qualified for the group stage," said the former Chunnam Dragons and Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma FC player. "This means our match will be a festival for the whole country, for all Romanian football. All we want is to be at the same level as our opponents, and of course we will do our best to win."

Different planet
Steaua have never lost at home to English opposition, yet with Arsenal – the early Premier League and Group H leaders – enjoying such a strong start to the season, Neaga was asked if they could cope with football that looks as though it comes from a different planet. The striker, who has six Romania caps, replied: "Arsenal's players are human beings, like us. Of course they are a very strong team, but we don't consider ourselves underdogs. Steaua are a member of football's élite and we will play like equals against our visitors from England."

Last updated: 02/10/07 21.23CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2008/matches/round=15105/match=301189/prematch/focus/index.html#neaga+eager+unsettle+arsenal

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