Rusescu strikes twice as Steaua down Rio Ave

FC Steaua Bucureşti 2-1 Rio Ave FC
On-loan striker Raul Rusescu gained "sort-of revenge" on his side's Portuguese guests with his fourth and fifth Group J goals.

Raul Rusescu heads Steaua's opening goal against Rio Ave
Raul Rusescu heads Steaua's opening goal against Rio Ave ©AFP/Getty Images

First-half Raul Rusescu strikes put Steaua in command
Yonathan Del Valle responds with Rio Ave's first Group J goal
Rusescu takes his group stage tally to five
Rio Ave now six points adrift at the foot of the section
Next games: Rio Ave v Steaua (6 November)

Raul Rusescu's two first-half goals helped the on-loan FC Steaua Bucureşti striker scratch a personal itch, and left Rio Ave FC six points adrift at the foot of UEFA Europa League Group J.

The Sevilla FC man spent part of last season in Portugal with SC Braga, with his side eliminated from both national cup competitions by Rio Ave. Before the game, he told UEFA.com he was in search of "sort-of revenge", and duly took his group stage tally on to five goals, though Rio Ave gave as good as they got for much of the match in Bucharest.

Having made most of the early running, Pedro Martins' side went a goal behind on 17 minutes, Rusescu getting a firm head to Iasmin Latovlevici's first-time ball from out on the left. Rio Ave were to pay the price for not testing Giedrius Arlauskis in the Steaua goal, Diego Lopes and Esmaël Gonçalves both missing from good positions.

Constantin Gâlcă's men snuck in a second goal just before the break, Rusescu's effor from the corner of the penalty area curling around the outstretched fingertips of the diving Cássio before bounce into the net. However, Rio Ave responded three minutes into the second half, Yonathan Del Valle's shot rising all the way from 25 metres out and hitting the top corner of Arlauskis's net.

Arlauskis saved from Del Valle on 58 minutes with both sides throwing caution to the wind, and substitute Nicolae Stanciu stung Cássio's palms with a venomous effort from distance. Renan Bressan then bent a free-kick just outside Arlauskis's left-hand post with the goalkeeper beaten – proof, for all their efforts, that Rio Ave's luck was out. Stanciu, meanwhile, saw his shot in the final seconds hit both posts before bouncing out.