Steaua still showing the way

Group B: FC Steaua Bucuresti lead the tightest pool, which looks certain to go to the wire.

FC Steaua Bucuresti, Athletic Club Bilbao and Besiktas JK all gained morale-boosting results this weekend. rounds up the latest UEFA Cup Group B news ahead of Matchday 4.

Section leaders Steaua followed up their 2-1 win against Besiktas on Thursday with a 1-1 draw at FC Politehnica AEK Timisoara - a result that keeps them top of the Romanian First Division going into the winter break. Steaua, however, have injury problems ahead of the trip to Athletic on Wednesday, with Florentin Dumitru, Sorin Paraschiv and Tiberiu Curt all ruled out. Nicolae Dica, Cristian Ciocoiu and young defender Mihai Nesu are rated doubtful while Petre Marin is suspended.

Athletic revived their league form with a convincing 3-0 home victory against Real Racing Club Santander. Goalkeeper Roberto Pampín made his full Primera División debut for Ernesto Valverde's side, while Santiago Ezquerro, Carlos Gurpegui and Ismael Urzaiz scored at the other end. Athletic, now 12th in the table, are still without Javi González (knee) for the visit of Steaua.

Besiktas continued their resurgence in the Turkish Superleague with a 4-2 win at Samsunspor, with substitute Tümer Metin scoring twice and Ahmed Hassan and Sergen Yalçin also among the goals. Coach Vicente Del Bosque decided not to select goalkeeper Óscar Córdoba, despite his recovery from injury. However, John Carew (ankle), Kaan Dobra (foot) and Ronaldo (broken arm) are still sidelined and likely to miss Wednesday's home match against R. Standard de Liège.

The Belgian club fell to a heavy 4-1 defeat at K. Sint-Truidense VV and slipped to seventh in the First Division table. Juan Ramon Curbelo scored Standard's goal in a game which Eric Deflandre missed through suspension. Milan Rapaic returned from his ban but is still not eligible to play in the UEFA Cup, while Wamberto (calf) remains injured.

Parma FC conceded a penalty three minutes into injury time as they lost 1-0 at UC Sampdoria. Struggling in 18th in the Italian Serie A standings, their recent plight has not been helped by the absences through injury of Alberto Gilardino (knee) and Domenico Morfeo (leg). They complete their UEFA Cup programme at home against Besiktas on 16 December.