|I||H. Kiryat Shmona||21:05||Sparta Praha|
FC Steaua Bucureşti are within touching distance of a place in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase after completing home-and-away wins against Molde FK.
After defeating the Norwegian champions 2-0 in Bucharest a fortnight ago, Laurenţiu Reghecampf's men picked up where they left off as Alexandru Chipciu and Iasmin Latovlevici struck before the break. Daniel Chima pulled one back for the hosts, but they could not prevent the visitors from stretching their lead to five points. A home draw against VfB Stuttgart on matchday five will now secure Steaua a place in the last 32.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær made seven changes to his lineup from two weeks ago, and the reshuffle appeared to be working early on. Joshua Gatt's weaving running had the Steaua defence chasing shadows, and Chima was disappointed not to turn in Magne Simonsen's cross at close range.
The visitors did not have a sniff in the first 20 minutes, but proved deadly when provided with an opening. Cristian Tănase played in Chipciu on the right, and the midfielder slipped inside Etzaz Hussain before slamming past Ole Söderberg.
Molde's early confidence evaporated, and after Adi Sobrinho and Mihai Costea went close to doubling the advantage, Steaua struck their second on 37 minutes. Tănase's pull-back found the onrushing Latovlevici, and the substitute took one touch before drilling into the net from the angle on the left.
The hosts responded after the break and found themselves back in it just before the hour as a long ball released Chima on the right. He tricked his way past Florin Gardoş before firing in off the post, and both Mattias Moström and Simonsen were then denied by Ciprian Tătăruşanu as Molde pushed for an equaliser.
Steaua held firm, however, leaving the Norwegian side's hopes hanging by a thread ahead of their home game with FC København on 22 November.
©UEFA.com 1998-2011. All rights reserved.