Thursday, April 20, 2006

Steaua Bucharest 1 - 0 Boro. A little bit more Basel next time please

Boro will have no doubt come away from the Stadionul Ghencea not too disappointed and more than a little bit relieved after Dica's 30 minute strike was the only one to beat Schwarzer tonight.

With the notable absences of Southgate, Viduka and Cattermole, Middlesbrough were saved by Shwarzer more than once as he thwarted dangerous efforts from Dica, Goian, Nicolita and Ugo Ehiogu.

Ehiogu and Parnaby proved abysmal at the back tonight, creating a huge chunk of Steaua's chances between them with thoughtless passes and howlers aplenty, and in the case of Ehiogu even knocking the ball out of Schwarzer's hands to the thankfully unexpecting feet of the Bucharest forward line.

All was not bad, with Boro creating chances of their own but not quite managing to break through Steaua's formidable backline with any real conviction. Jimmy-Floyd went through the first half pretty anonymously, with Yakubu providing the only bit of pressure in front of goal. Downing and Morrison provided plenty from the midfield for the start of the match, but when Morrison went off with Yakubu for Parlour and Maccarone, Downing seemed to disappear as well with Rochemback the only one to appear to be trying to feed the lone Jimmy up front. Not the best way for Downing to impress the beady eyed Sven in the crowd ahead of the World Cup, but what can you do? They're all tired lads and understandably so...

Maccarone broke through with a dipping shot that was the best chance towards the end of the game for us, but it was Steaua that were making the most of things and really testing Schwarzer's limits.

Not a bad result at all for Boro who go into next week with less to do than they had to with Basel the other week. Another semi-final in between mind, which may take it's toll, but the team should be back to full strength and fighting for it. Come on Boro!

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