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FC Twente are in pole position in their UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie against FC Steaua Bucureşti after a 1-0 win in the Romanian capital.
Both teams will be hoping to return to the National Arena for the 9 May final, but it is Steaua who have added incentive to reach a home showpiece. They have work to do in Enschede next week, though, after succumbing to Ola John's wonderful goal early in the second half.
Buoyed on by coach Ilie Stan's assertion that this could be a season-defining tie, Steaua took charge of the opening period without ever grabbing it by the scruff of the neck. Raul Rusescu looked their most assertive influence, shooting narrowly wide on 14 minutes before turning creator for Leandro Tatu, who shimmied into space but missed the target.
There were similar half-chances prior to the interval, before which the visitors had carved out more presentable openings of their own. Luuk de Jong's miscue was the clearest of all, but Nacer Chadli might also have shown more composure when Leroy Fer's cross located him at the back post.
Neither side looked capable of possessing sufficient cutting edge in areas of danger and, with incision so eminently in short supply, it required either error or inspiration to break the deadlock. John's goal had both bundled into one, the No24 seizing on a lax pass before unleashing a splendidly stylish lob which crept over Ciprian Tătăruşanu and narrowly inside the frame of his goal.
Deflated by that moment of magic, it was not until Tatu flashed a 70th-minute shot wide that Steaua were roused from their second-half slumber. Novak Martinović chanced his arm from range, Geraldo Alves glanced a header wide and Mihai Costea bent a shot just over thereafter, but Twente clung on.
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