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Šenkeřík sends Slavia into UEFA Cup

FC Steaua Bucureşti 1-1 SK Slavia Praha Zdeněk Šenkeřík's late header ensured the Czech side finished third in Group H to qualify for the UEFA Cup.

Valentin Badea is congratulated by his team-mates after putting Steaua ahead
Valentin Badea is congratulated by his team-mates after putting Steaua ahead ©Getty Images

Anniversary celebration
On the day that Steaua celebrated the 50th anniversary of their first match in European club competition, Valentin Badea's early goal, their first in front of their own supporters in Group H, looked to have given them their first win in the section. Šenkeřík's intervention, though, kept their Czech opponents four points ahead of them in the battle for third spot and denied Steaua their first home win in Europe's premier club compeition for eleven years. As it transpired, even a win would not have reprieved Slavia's dreams of reaching the last 16 as Sevilla FC's success at home to Arsenal FC ensured both those sides would progress.

Opening goal
Marius Lăcătuş's side nearly made the perfect start when Nicolae Dică drilled in a low shot from 20 metres but Adrian Neaga's follow-up was ruled out for offside after Martin Vaniak had parried the first effort. They did not have long to wait to take the lead. Badea was put through the middle by Dică's lobbed pass and, as David Hubáček and Marek Suchý descended upon him, he scrambled the ball past the Slavia goalkeeper. The goal prompted the visitors into a response and Ladislav Volešák called Robinson Zapata into action with a free-kick from distance.

Goalscorer denied
Steaua continued to be the dominant force though and nearly extended their lead when Marius Croitoru cut the ball back for Neaga, only for the striker to poke wide from ten metres under pressure from Suchý. The second goal looked a certainty when Dică provided another perfect ball into the box but Badea shot straight at Vaniak from six metres with the goalkeeper somehow deflecting the ball over the crossbar. Aside from the lack of another goal, the only downside to the first-half display for the home side was the yellow card awarded to Croitoru for his foul on Daniel Pudil which meant he would miss their final group match against Arsenal.

Late leveller