Europa League: Chelsea v Steaua Bucharest match preview
A look ahead to tonight’s Europa League clash at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea will be hoping that the momentum from their impressive second-half comeback against Manchester United in Sunday’s FA Cup tie can spur them on to overcome Romanian side Steaua Bucharest.
Trailing 2-0 at half-time at Old Trafford, Rafa Benitez’s side rallied to earn themselves a replay thanks to goals from substitute Eden Hazard and Ramires. The Blues will now have to conjure up a similar revival to overturn the single goal lead that the current Romanian league leaders hold courtesy of a Raul Rusescu penalty.
Mastermind of Sunday’s comeback, Juan Mata will be hoping to provide an attacking force for the home side who are looking to secure a European Cup for the second year running after last year’s Champions League heroics.
If Benitez’s team are to progress, they will need striker Fernando Torres to re-discover some of the form that secured his £50 million move to the capital from Liverpool.
The away side are in outstanding form heading into the return leg. Along with their surprising victory in the first-leg, Laurentiu Reghecampf's men have won their last five league games.
KICK-OFF: Thursday, 20.05pm
Steaua Bucharest 1 (Rusescu) Chelsea 0, Europa League, March 2013
The game will be Chelsea’s 52 game since the start of the season.
The home side could become the first side to win UEFA’s two major competitions in reverse order for the first time after their success in the Champions League last year.
Steaua have lost the last four ties in Europe that they have played on English soil
The Romanian side were also the only team to progress through to the last 16 of the competition this year after losing the first leg. Steaua overturned a two goal first-leg deficit to Ajax, only the second time it has been achieved in the history of the competition.
Chelsea to win: 1.38
Steaua Bucharest to win: 11
Steaua Bucharest: 2.36
TV: Live on ITV 1 at 20.05pm, highlights on ITV 4 on Friday at 18.00pm
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