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Chiricheş stunner helps Steaua sink Molde

FC Steaua Bucureşti 2-0 Molde FK
First-half goals, scored two minutes apart, were enough to put Laurențiu Reghecampf's team firmly in control at the Group E summit.

Raul Rusescu takes the plaudits after doubling Steaua's lead
Raul Rusescu takes the plaudits after doubling Steaua's lead ©AFP/Getty Images

Molde FK found FC Steaua Bucureşti too much to handle in Romania, as a spectacular Vlad Chiricheş volley set the hosts on their way to a win which puts them in control of Group E.

Steaua showed just why they are six undefeated in Europe with a relentless first-half performance, capped by strikes from Chiricheş and Raul Rusescu. Cristian Tănase missed from the spot in the second period, but two goals were enough to ensure Laurențiu Reghecampf's men stretched their lead at the top of the section.

The visitors from Norway had only one European win in six on their travels coming into the game. It was made immediately clear that they had their work cut out to improve that sequence in Romania, Iasmin Latovlevici smashing against the bar from 25 metres two minutes in. Steaua poured forward, and Ole Söderberg saved excellently with his legs from Tănase before Adi Sobrinho fluffed the rebound. Łukasz Szukała headed two set pieces off target, then Molde's Etzaz Hussain produced a remarkable intervention on the line to deny Alexandru Chipciu.

Home attacks came in waves, and the reward arrived on the half-hour. Rusescu's effort looped skyward off Børre Steenslid, allowing Chiricheş to smash an overhead volley into the net from near the penalty spot. Two minutes later the lead was doubled when Rusescu stuck out a toe to deflect Latovlevici's speculative attempt past Söderberg from the edge of the area.

Magne Simonsen dragged down Chipciu in the box after the break, but Söderberg, on his European debut, made an outstanding stop to thwart Tănase. However, that failed to inspire Ole Gunnar Solskjær's men, and Steaua's lead never looked troubled thereafter. They head to Norway for the return fixture on 8 November, where a win could potentially secure qualification.