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Renato rouses Sevilla in Bucharest

FC Steaua Bucureşti 0-2 Sevilla FC
A goal in each half from Brazilian midfielder Renato moved the Spanish side to the brink of the knockout stage.

A goal in each half from Brazilian midfielder Renato moved Sevilla FC to the brink of qualification for the last 16 and left FC Steaua Bucureşti still searching for their first point in Group H.

Renato double
Steaua withstood some early pressure before Sevilla deservedly took the lead on 25 minutes when Renato tapped in after Robinson Zapata had kept out Christian Poulsen's header. The 28-year-old added his and Sevilla's second on 65 minutes, charging into the penalty area to meet Jesús Navas's cross with a flying header to lift Manuel Jiménez's side to nine points, five clear of third-placed SK Slavia Praha who drew 0-0 with leaders Arsenal FC.

Early pressure
After losing the reverse fixture 2-1 a fortnight ago, Steaua coach Marius Lăcătuş put a focus on defence with Ovidiu Petre and Florin Lovin acting as sweepers, while the creative influence was entrusted to wingers Bănel Nicoliţă and Marius Croitoru. Sevilla, though, looked more likely to score from the start. Tom De Mul had the first sight of goal but dragged his effort wide from the edge of the box on his UEFA Champions League debut. Renato then curled an attempt just wide of the far post after a clever lay-off from Frédéric Kanouté.

Opening goal
The Sevilla striker should have given his team the advantage shortly after when Daniel Alves found him in space in the area, but Kanouté lost his footing and was penalised for handball. The Spanish outfit did not have long to wait to break the deadlock, however. Poulsen was allowed a free header on goal from Navas's corner and, although Zapata parried the initial effort, Renato calmly dispatched the loose ball into the empty net.

Sevilla domination
Poulsen came close to scoring again when he redirected Navas's miscued volley centimetres wide of the far post as the visitors threatened to take the game beyond the hosts. Steaua finally gave Andrés Palop something to worry about moments before the break when Nicoliţă's diving header skipped past the near post. Yet Kanouté ensured the away side finished the half on a high when he burst through again only to sweep past the upright.

Steaua changes
Lăcătuş realised changes were required to prevent Sevilla coasting to victory and the coach attempted to alter the pattern of the match by replacing Croitoru with Valentin Badea at the start of the second period. Even so, the Romanian team continued to be restricted to long-range shoots that failed to trouble Palop unduly. And just when Steaua were beginning to think an equaliser might be forthcoming, Sevilla secured the three points with a sublime second goal.

Outstanding move
Alves quickly exchanged passes with Renato and surged to the byline before a cute back-heel took out two defenders, giving Navas time to fire in a cross that Renato met with a stooping header to make it 2-0. Renato was denied his hat-trick shortly after by Zapata. Badea finally called Palop into action on 81 minutes yet the routine nature of the save summed up Steaua's lack of a cutting edge throughout the contest.