Steaua's wait for Champions League win continues

Wed Nov 6, 2013 5:45pm EST
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BASEL (Reuters) - Steaua Bucharest came agonisingly close to their first Champions League win in seven years on Wednesday before conceding a stoppage-time equalizer in a 1-1 draw at FC Basel.

The former European champions, winless in their last 21 outings in the competition, led with a 17th-minute breakaway goal by unsung Italian Federico Piovaccari, who has spent most of his career playing for lower tier clubs in his homeland.

Steaua defended well and appeared to be cruising towards their long-awaited win until French-born Ivorian Giovanni Sio, who has also experienced the less glamorous side of European football, side-footed an equalizer in the first minute of injury time.

"It wasn't bad luck, during the last minutes we lacked inspiration and experience," Steaua coach Laurentiu Reghecampf said.

Sio's goal prevented Basel from slumping to a second successive home defeat in a campaign that began in spectacular style with a 2-1 win at Chelsea.

The Swiss champions still have an outside chance of qualifying from Group E as they have five points, one behind Schalke 04, whom they visit in their final group game.

"Steaua made our lives difficult although we got better in the second half," Basel coach Murat Yakin said. "At the end we collected a deserved point. It makes the group very open."

Steaua went ahead when Lukasz Szukala floated a long pass over the Basel defense and Piovaccari, on loan from Sampdoria, broke clear, took his time and fired the ball into the roof of the net from close range.

It was the first goal in the Champions League proper for the 29-year-old, whose career has taken him to lower-tier clubs such as San Marino, Triestina, Treviso, Ravenna, Cittadella, Brescia, Novara and Grossetto.   Continued...