Chipciu gives Steaua edge against Ludogorets

FC Steaua Bucureşti 1-0 PFC Ludogorets Razgrad
Alexandru Chipciu missed a penalty before scoring the winner for the hosts, who take a one-goal lead to Bulgaria in a week's time.

Łukasz Szukała and Alexandru Chipciu celebrate at full time
Łukasz Szukała and Alexandru Chipciu celebrate at full time ©Cosmin Iftode

Alexandru Chipciu redeemed himself after missing a first-half penalty, scoring the only goal of the game with two minutes remaining to give FC Steaua Bucureşti a narrow lead after the first leg of their UEFA Champions League play-off against PFC Ludogorets Razgrad.

• Stoyanov denies Chipciu from the spot in 34th minute
• No7 scores winner two minutes from time
• Match winner misses second leg through suspension
• Romanian champions unbeaten against Bulgarian sides
• Return leg in Sofia on 27 August

In a busy opening the first chance fell to Chipciu in the fourth minute as the forward blasted a shot just over the crossbar. The hosts were well on top but found it hard work breaking down the visiting back line until the 33rd minute, when midfielder Lucian Sânmărtean showed excellent control to round three men and enter the penalty area only to be fouled by Yordan Minev. Chipciu stepped up confidently to take the resulting spot kick but Ludogorets goalkeeper Vladislav Stoyanov produced a fine save to keep the score level.

Perhaps frustrated following his miss, the No7 picked up a yellow card minutes later which rules him out of the second leg. Desperate to redeem himself, Chipciu almost broke the deadlock moments before the half-time whistle, again denied by Stoyanov after an excellent ball from Sânmărtean.

Showing more attacking intent after the interval, Ludogorets began to threaten; Mihail Aleksandrov's volley from the left of the box was smartly kept out by Giedrius Arlauskis, Younes Hamza's goalbound shot was well blocked by Łukasz Szukała and Marcelinho sent a header over the home bar. The visitors were made to pay for those misses in the 88th minute as Sânmărtean's cross was knocked down by Szukała and Chipciu latched onto the loose ball to smash in from seven metres.