Jakub Kosecki cancelled out Federico Piovaccari's opening strike as Legia Warszawa left Romania with an away goal to their name from their UEFA Champions League play-off first leg against FC Steaua București.
Piovaccari delighted a packed Stadionul Naţional with a neat finish over the advancing Dušan Kuciak 11 minutes before half-time. Yet Legia, whose only previous group stage appearance was in 1995/96, gained a slight advantage going into next Tuesday's return in the Polish capital when Kosecki swept in Miroslav Radović's cross.
Urged on by a crowd of 50,655, Steaua made a determined start, with former FC Vaslui goalkeeper Kuciak quick off his line to deny Piovaccari from applying the finishing touch to Nicolae Stanciu's incisive pass.
After Cristian Tănase had forced Kuciak into action again in the 32nd minute, Piovaccari broke the deadlock from Alexandru Bourceanu's deep pass. Steaua goalkeeper Ciprian Tătărușanu, hitherto untested, then preserved the advantage heading into the break, making a fine save to keep out Jakub Wawrzyniak's header.
Legia had been content to sit back and strike on the counterattack but they silenced the Steaua faithful eight minutes after the restart through the unmarked Kosecki. With their tails up, the visitors went close to a swift second via a Dominik Furman effort which arrowed narrowly over the crossbar.
Steaua pushed hard in an attempt to restore their lead, with Florin Gardoş, Adrian Popa and Adrian Cristea all threatening for the 1986 European champions before full time. Having lost in the final round of qualifying to FC Barcelona in 2002/03 and FC Shakhtar Donetsk in 2006/07, Legia will hope Steaua do not complete an unwanted hat-trick for them next week.
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