Adrian Mutu scored twice as Romania won in Belarus to strengthen their lead in UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying Group G.
One of three unbeaten teams in the section at kick-off, Romania were hoping to consolidate first place as they will sit out Wednesday's fixtures. Mutu opened the scoring 16 minutes in and although Maksim Romashchenko equalised, Nicolae Dică struck before the break and the ACF Fiorentina forward confirmed the victory late on from the penalty spot.
If it was a slow start to the game, it burst into life on the quarter-hour when Romashchenko fired over the bar. Seconds later Romania were celebrating after a swift attack was finished off by Mutu into the bottom left-hand corner. Belarus responded with Vladimir Korythko shooting wide and they were soon level: Aleksandr Hleb setting up Romashchenko to shoot in.
Romania reacted well, Mutu forcing Vasili Khomutovski into a smart save and the No10 went close again just before the half-hour. Cristian Chivu also threatened a goal but it was Dică who restored the advantage on 42 minutes when he headed in Petre Marin's right-wing cross.
Belarus began the second half well with Romashchenko's effort being blocked by Marin while, on 64 minutes, a Timofei Kalachev attempt produced a fine parry from Romania goalkeeper Bogdan Lobont. Sensing they were losing their grip on proceedings, Romania upped the tempo and Mutu's header was kept out by Khomutovski, who then watched a Paul Codrea shot fly wide.
Mutu was again frustrated by the goalkeeper on 73 minutes but not long afterwards he was brought down by Khomutovski and picked himself up to convert the resulting penalty. Romania are now well-placed for the 13 October visit of the Netherlands while Belarus, in fifth, go to Slovenia on Wednesday.