Betting tipsPronosticos apuestasPonturi pariuriPronostici scommesseWetten tippsAposta e Ganha

facebook-hoover twitter-hoover behanse-hoover

Rusescu penalty edges out Chelsea - Uefa Europa League

rafa-benitezEuropa League last 16, first leg; Stadionul National Arena - Steaua Bucharest 1 (Rusescu 34, pen) Chelsea 0

Steaua Bucharest will take a lead to Stamford Bridge after Raul Rusescu's first-half penalty gave the Romanian side a slender 1-0 victory over Chelsea in the Europa League.
Ryan Bertrand's clumsy challenge on Rusescu gave the referee no choice but to point to the spot - and Rusescu drilled the spot-kick under Petr Cech.
Chelsea improved after the second half introduction of Juan Mata, with Eden Hazard and Marko Marin each going close late on.
But Steaua held on for victory, and Chelsea will have to reverse the deficit next Thursday to keep their Europa League hopes alive.
With one eye on Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final with Manchester United, Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez kept Ashley Cole, Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill and Juan Mata on the bench, with Demba Ba ineligible.
Chelsea spent the early stages on the back foot, soaking up Steaua's early pressure. The lively Rusescu was proving a handful from the outset, with Alexandru Chipciu also causing problems.
But Chelsea were defending very deep and invited the pressure and, while Steaua's first real chance, was the penalty - it was an opportunity the Romanian side had hard earned.
Trying to reach Iasmin Latovlevici's excellent cross from the left, Rusescu was impeded by Bertrand, whose ill-advised challenge saw the striker hauled to the ground - with the referee always likely to award the spot-kick. Rusescu dusted himself down and fired the penalty into the bottom left corner, under Cech's body.
Chelsea responded with their best chance of the game when Hazard and Yossi Benayoun exchanged passes on the edge of the box - but the Israeli's low shot lacked conviction and was palmed around the post well by Ciprian Tatarusanu.
Chelsea improved after the break but Steaua, backed by a sell-out home crowd, remained comfortable against a Chelsea side that were sloppy in the final third, with Torres isolated for long periods.
Benitez threw on Juan Mata as he looked to unlock the Steaua defence, and the Spaniard had an immediate impact. But Chelsea's best chances feel to Hazard, who lashed Frank Lampard's deep cross over the bar from a tight angle, and Marin, who twisted his way into a shooting position in the box - but Steaua goalkeeper Tatarusanu pulled off another good save low to his right.
Steaua held on for a deserved win and, perhaps crucially, prevented Chelsea scoring an away goal. The sides meet again for the second leg next week.
Ciprian Tatarusanu (Steaua Bucharest) - The Steaua goalkeeper was in inspired form, pulling off excellent saves from Yossi Benayoun in the first half and Marko Marin late on.
STEAUA BUCHAREST: Tatarusanu 8, Rapa 7, Szukala 7, Chiriches 7, Tatarusanu 8, Bourceanu 7, Pintili 6, Popa 6, Chipciu 7, Tanase 7, Rusescu 8 Subs: Prepelita 6, Gardos N/A, Tatu N/A.
CHELSEA: Cech 7, Ivanovic 6, Terry 6, Luiz 7, Bertrand 6, Mikel 6, Lampard 6, Benayoun 5, Hazard 7, Oscar 6, Torres 5. Subs: Mata 7, Marin 7

Best Free Bet Offers - Provided by

Click any of the bookmakers name to activate your free bet now.

1.       Unibet (sign up offer – free £20)

Deposit £20, bet with £40. Create a Unibet account here >>.

2.       Betfair (bet 10£ get 30£)

Get free 5£ no deposit required on casino. Create a Betfair account here >>.

3.       Bet365 (sign up offer - £200 in free bets)

Deposit £200, bet with £400. Create a Bet365 account here >>.

4.      Offsidebet (sign up offer - £25 in free bets)

Deposit £25, bet with £50. Create a new Offsidebet account here >>.

5.     Sky Bet (sign up offer – no deposit free £30)

Deposit 0, bet with £30.  Create a new Sky Bet account here >>.

Betting previews and tips

More betting news


Soccer betting tips

News UEFA Europa League

Emery hails brave Sevilla
Emery hails brave Sevilla

Sevilla coach Unai Emery praised his team for overcoming 'tiredness and discom [ ... ]

Fiorentina v Juventus - UEFA Europa Leag...
Fiorentina v Juventus - UEFA Europa League Preview

This week's clash will conclude a hat-trick of meetings between the sides in l [ ... ]

Benfica v Tottenham - UEFA Europa League...
Benfica v Tottenham - UEFA Europa League Preview

Spurs head coach Sherwood has come under fire following three successive high- [ ... ]

Europa League: Tottenham v Benfica
Europa League: Tottenham v Benfica

Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood expects a response when his side host Benfica in t [ ... ]

Europa League: Juventus v Fiorentina
Europa League: Juventus v Fiorentina

Fiorentina will be out for revenge when they face Juventus for the second time [ ... ]

Europa League: Napoli v Swansea City
Europa League: Napoli v Swansea City

Swansea City visit Napoli with renewed confidence after the first leg of their [ ... ]

Other Articles


Allegri eyes historic treble
Allegri eyes historic treble

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri talked up his club's push for a treble ahead of Saturday's home clash with Empoli. Such is Juve's dominance as they bid fo [ ... ]

Champions aware of danger game
Champions aware of danger game

Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez has warned his team-mates of the perils of taking Cordoba lightly on Saturday. The 20-year-old, who has shown signific [ ... ]

Bayern ready to make peace and end Dortm...
Bayern ready to make peace and end Dortmund feud

Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has extended an olive branch to Borussia Dortmund ahead of the clubs' Bundesliga meeting at the Westfalenstadion on Sa [ ... ]

Robin van Persie set to return for Aston...
Robin van Persie set to return for Aston Villa

Robin van Persie could return from injury this weekend for Manchester United’s game against Aston Villa.The latest reports suggest van Persie is ahead of  [ ... ]

Match Preview: Netherlands vs Turkey
Match Preview: Netherlands vs Turkey

Netherlands look to take a step closer to qualifying for Euro 2016 when they host Turkey at the Amsterdam Arena on Saturday. The qualifying campaign has been [ ... ]

England vs Lithuania: Euro 2016 Qualifyi...
England vs Lithuania: Euro 2016 Qualifying

Ahead of Friday's clash between England and Lithuania at Wembley, Joe Hart has urged Harry Kane not to leave his under-21 career behind. The Tottenham forwar [ ... ]