Romania round-up: Steaua stay in race

FC Steaua Bucuresti gave their chances of catching FC Rapid Bucuresti a boost by beating Astra Ploiesti

FC Steaua Bucuresti gave their chances of catching runaway Romanian First Division leaders FC Rapid Bucuresti a boost with a 1-0 win against Astra Ploiesti.

Lead reduced
Steaua moved up to second, eight points behind the leaders, after Martin Tudor had a fine game in the Steaua goal to keep out the hard-working visitors, allowing Mirel Radoi's 35th-minute effort to prove the winner for the home team.

Savu seals it
Leaders Rapid, still without a win in 2003, were beaten 2-0 at home by Universitatea Craiova on Sunday. Craiova opened the scoring with their first shot on target - a 45th-minute effort from Ionut Stancu - and, with their single-goal lead preserved thanks to a remarkable display by goalkeeper Adnan Guso, broke away to seal the victory through Ionut Savu's 70th-minute strike.

National beaten
FC National Bucuresti are down to third as they lost 2-0 at home to FC Brasov. Marius Lacatus, the Brasov coach, celebrated his 39th birthday in style as Robert Dani put his side ahead on 34 minutes on the break after a superb Ibrahim Dossey save from Sergiu Radu, and Mugurel Buga added the second just before half-time as the visitors broke with several National players appealing for a penalty at the other end. National coach Walter Zenga had already been dismissed on 40 minutes.

Champions fading fast
Reigning champions FC Dinamo Bucuresti's hopes of retaining their title are fading fast after their fifth consecutive loss since the season resumed following the winter break. Their worst run for 23 years came about as they lost 2-0 to FC Arges-Dacia Pitesti, Adrian Iordache scoring on six minutes and Nicolae Dica adding the second in the 63rd. Dinamo midfield player Cornel Frasineanu was sent off two minutes later for dissent.

Gloria victorious
CF Gloria Bistrita 1922 took over fourth place as they beat ten-man FC Politehnica AEK Timisoara 2-0, while FC Farul Constanta overcame lowly CF Sportul Studentesc 1-0. That result allowed bottom-placed FC UTA Arad to move level on points with Sportul thanks to a creditable 3-0 win against CS Otelul Galati, Marius Popescu, Petrus Manta and Ciprian Luca scoring, while FC Ceahlaul Piatra Neamt and FCM Bacau drew 0-0, Bacau striker Cristian Ciocoiu missing a 63rd-minute penalty.