Steaua relive their finest hour

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The Independent Online
Romanian supporters relived the brightest moment of the darkest days of Communist rule on Tuesday with a re-match of Steaua Bucharest's 2-0 victory over Barcelona in a penalty shoot-out at the end of the 1986 European Cup.

A crowd of 25,000 packed the army team's stadium to watch a 1-1 draw. Steaua fielded the same side, a handful of whom are still playing at the highest level, while Barcelona flew in the entire 1986 team, apart from Berndt Schuster and Terry Venables, who was the Spanish team's coach.

The crowd's hero, as he was 10 years ago, was the Romanians' modest 37- year-old goalkeeper, Helmut Ducadam, who saved four penalties in the original match.

The victory, the first by any team from eastern Europe, was rewarded by the late dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, with cars and gifts.

"Ducadam, Ducadam," the crowd chanted during the rematch, although the rather overweight keeper, who is now a border guard, appeared for just five minutes.

"I tried to be a giant in the goalmouth," he recalled on Tuesday.

He added: "God gave me a great inspiration but experience told me where the Spanish players would shoot."

Ilie Nastase, the former tennis player, kicked the match off and later Steaua honoured the contribution of Ceausescu's son, Valentin, who helped the team.

Marius Lacatus, the Romanian international forward and one of Steaua's leading players, said: "I'm sure that without Valentin, Steaua would not have won the trophy."

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