Europa League: Steaua Bucurest v Chelsea match preview
A look ahead to tonight’s Europa League fixture at the National Arena
Steaua Bucuresti go into the first leg of this tie on a good run of form and on top of the Romanian league table by 12 points. Despite being 2-0 down walking into their last Europa game against Ajax, Steaua were able to advance in the competition thanks to a magical volley from Vlad Chiriches and some clinical finishing in a penalty shootout.
The home side welcome a Chelsea team that bounced back to winning ways in the Premier League with a 1-0 win over West Brom, and Rafa Benitez will have the opportunity to get out of south west London, where he isn’t considered the best man for the job by some Chelsea fans.
The Spanish coach is no stranger to this competition and will look to take a convincing lead back to Stamford Bridge to build his side’s confidence ahead of their huge FA Cup game at Old Trafford on Sunday.
KICK-OFF: Thursday, 6:00pm
The two teams have never crossed paths in their histories.
Steaua have conceded the same amount of goals they have scored since the group stages, with 11 in total.
Chelsea’s Juan Mata could make his 50th Uefa club competition appearance if he takes part in the game in Russia.
Steaua were the only team to make it through to the last 16 round after losing in the first leg.
Rafa Benitez will take charge of his 132nd Uefa club competition game, which is more than any other coach left in the current competition.
Steaua Bucurest to win: 3.4
Chelsea to win: 2.15
TV: Live on ESPN at 6:00pm, Highlights on ITV 4 on Friday at 5:55pm
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