Paul Zaharia at the Ghencea stadium
Constantin Nicolae Dica struck eleven minutes from time to give FC Steaua Bucuresti a narrow UEFA Cup first-leg lead against PFC CSKA Sofia.
Dica found space between centre-backs Ibrahima Gueye and Adalbert Zafirov and rose to meet a right-wing cross from Florentin Dumitru to break a 1-1 draw and ensure the Romanian side take a one-goal lead to Bulgaria in a fortnight.
Steaua captain Adrian Neaga opened the scoring with the first real attack of the match on ten minutes, capping off a superb solo run with a terrific shot from the edge of the area. The goal sent the home crowd wild, but 18 minutes later the 2,000 CSKA fans that had made the trip from Sofia had their own cause to celebrate.
Steaua coach Walter Zenga was without Mirel Radoi, Valeriu Rachita and Tiberiu Curt and was forced to play an unfamiliar back-line, and CSKA looked threatening on the counterattack throughout.
Hristo Yanev, Velizar Dimitrov and Amiran Mujiri were particularly lively and on 28 minutes Yanev and Mujiri combined to draw the visiting side level. Mujiri led another counter and found Yanev with a deft pass, and the striker shot past Vasili Khomutovski at the near-post.
Steaua were winning the aerial battles and created two good chances before the break. On 38 minutes Neaga's header flashed narrowly wide, before, with half-time rapidly approaching, George Crhistia Ogararu headed on to the post. He watched the ball drop on to the goalline but the CSKA defence reacted quickest to clear the danger.
CSKA showed more attacking intent after the break and should have taken the lead on 57 minutes when Stoyko Sakaliev broke clear of the Steaua defence and bore down on Khomutovski. But the Steaua goalkeeper stood his ground and made the save.
Three minutes later, in a bizarre incident, Steaua substitute Gabriel Bostina, who had not come on, was banished from the bench and booked for kicking the ball on the touchline while it was still in play.
Both sides wasted opportunities to break the deadlock before Steaua finally regained the advantage through Dica on 79 minutes. Steaua then defended well to ensure they did not surrender their lead for the second time, and preserve their slight advantage for when the two teams meet again.