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June 22, 2021

Europa League: Steaua and Vaslui playing their last chances today

FC Steaua Bucuresti will meet tonight in Bucharest AEK Larnaca FC, both teams needing a win on matchday six to have any chance of finishing in the top two in UEFA Europa League Group J, according to uefa.com.

With both sides set to lose out in the event of finishing level on points with second-placed Maccabi Haifa FC, only a winner in Bucharest would have a chance of going through and even then they need Haifa to drop points against section winners FC Schalke 04.

Steaua earned a 1-1 draw when the sides met on matchday two. The Cypriot side struck first through Miljan Mrdakovic in the 59th minute before Mihai Costea responded six minutes later for Steaua, who had Pablo Brandan sent off with eight minutes to go.

The result prompted the resignation of Steaua’s Israeli coach Roni Levy.

The Romanian club became the first home side to win at the new Stadionul National when they beat Haifa 4-2 on matchday four; Rapid and FC Otelul Galati had previously lost two games each at the new stadium in Bucharest, while the national team had been held to two draws.

Steaua are unbeaten in eight European home games since a 1-0 loss to Fenerbahce SK in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage. They have alternated draws and defeats in those eight fixtures, and are due another tie against AEK if that pattern is to continue.

Also tonight FC Vaslui have everything to play for as they head for Switzerland to take on FC Zurich in their final UEFA Europa League Group D game with a place in the round of 32 in their grasp.

The Romanian outfit are second in the table going into their game, and will go through provided they match or better the result S.S. Lazio manage at home against section winners Sporting Clube de Portugal.

Alexandre Alphonse’s header (32) gave Zurich the lead when the sides met on matchday two but they were reduced to ten men when Raphael Koch was dismissed before Wesley levelled the scores from the resulting penalty (62). Mike Temwanjera put the hosts ahead 13 minutes from time but substitute Admir Mehmedi earned Zurich a 2-2 draw two minutes later.

Zurich have gone seven games without a European win (two scoring draws and five defeats in which they failed to register) since beating R. Standard de Liege in this season’s UEFA Champions League third qualifying round second leg.

Vaslui are yet to lose a home game in UEFA competition, winning six and drawing five, but have not won in eight games on their continental travels (three draws and five defeats) since beating SK Liepajas Metalurgs 2-0 in the UEFA Cup second qualifying round on 14 August 2008.

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