Mirel Rădoi believes FC Steaua Bucuresti can take a big step towards their first appearance in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages if they can put their big night jitters behind them against Olympique Lyonnais.
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Captain Mirel Rădoi believes FC Steaua Bucuresti can take a big step towards their first appearance in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages if they bury their big night jitters against Olympique Lyonnais.
Bottom of Group F with one point from two games, Rădoi is well aware of the need to start making the most of home advantage at the Steaua Stadium. The 1986 European champions have yet to register a home win in three successive group stage campaigns – a run which started with a 3-0 defeat by Lyon in September 2006. Though the 27-year-old central defender rates the French champions as the strongest in a section that also features FC Bayern München and ACF Fiorentina, he remains optimistic that Steaua's fortunes can change.
"I hope we will not be afraid of Lyon like we were two years ago," Rădoi said. "If we win we can hope to qualify, otherwise it will be difficult. It's all or nothing in this match." Psychology, as much as tactics, will be important in the kind of game which has passed the Romanian club by in recent seasons. "We can no longer afford to say we are a small team," continued the Romanian international. "It's time for us to win. We've been playing for three years with big teams. Lyon have a larger budget and more expensive players, but anything can happen. For the way we've been playing, we deserve to be higher in this group."
Keeping Lyon quiet
Qualifying for the knockout stages is still a real possibility for all four teams after three draws in four matches to date. Bayern, who beat Steaua 1-0 on Matchday 1, are top with four points, while Fiorentina and Lyon have two apiece. The key on Tuesday will be for Steaua's forwards to start scoring, while Radoi continues to do the solid job which he and his fellow defenders performed three weeks ago in a goalless draw at Fiorentina. "We did well against Alberto Gilardino and Adrian Mutu in Florence. I hope to do the same thing now," Rădoi said, adding: "This time we have to score at least once."