FC Steaua Bucureşti coach Marius Lăcătuş said his "quality players have to start showing it" as they attempt to find their shooting boots and ignite their faltering Group F campaign against Olympique Lyonnais in Romania.
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FC Steaua Bucureşti head into Tuesday's meeting with Olympique Lyonnais knowing it is high time they scored in this season's UEFA Champions League group stage.
Yet to break their duck and with only one point on the board, Steaua can still reach the knockout stage from a tightly-contested Group F, where just three points separate the four teams. Having started out with a 1-0 defeat by FC Bayern München and earned a creditable 0-0 draw at ACF Fiorentina three weeks ago, the Romanian club's prospects would be transformed by a winning return to the Steaua Stadium. "Clearly, the situation could be better than it is," coach Marius Lăcătuş told uefa.com. "We've played two good games, but we've been a bit unlucky in both – we could have more points than we do."
Search for goals
The root of Steaua's woes is their failure to score, with the side managing only two goals in their last five outings in all competitions. On that front Lăcătuş can at least take comfort in the fact his team have been creating chances: now he needs the likes of António Semedo, Dayro Moreno and Arthuro to take them. "I hope the goals we need come against Lyon," the coach said. "Every player wants to score, but it means making the right choice when they're face to face with the keeper. We've had a lot of chances, but we've not taken them. I think it's a lack of experience at this level – some of the players have never played in the Champions League before and it's not easy. But they're quality players and now they have to start showing it."
The 1986 European champions' goal drought has also extended to domestic football, resulting in 2-0 defeats in the last week by FC Oţelul Galaţi in the league and FC Sportul Studenţesc Bucureşti in the Romanian Cup, the latter with a second-string side. Yet if Steaua have been struggling, their Matchday 3 opponents Lyon's two points from a possible six underlines a similarly lacklustre start to the European campaign. Claude Puel's men needed two goals in the last 17 minutes to avoid a home loss against Fiorentina in their opener and then had to settle for a point at Bayern.
Lyon also had their advantage at the Ligue 1 summit cut to a point after drawing 2-2 against LOSC Lille Métropole on Saturday, and though they beat Steaua 3-0 when the clubs met two years ago they are unlikely to be so comfortable this time around. "Steaua are a lot better organised than they were. They're very disciplined and have great technical quality," warned Puel, whose team suffered their first defeat of the season on their return to domestic action after Matchday 2, losing 3-0 at Stade Rennais FC. "I said after the draw [for the group stage] that the four clubs are pretty much on the same level and that's what we're finding now. There are no favourites, but we've come here to win." Unlike Lăcătuş, Puel is having to cope with a growing injury list and John Mensah, Mathieu Bodmer, Fábio Santos and Sidney Govou are all out.