Date: July 23, 2014
Venue: Arena Națională – Bucharest, Romania
Kick-off Time: 18:30 BST
Steaua Bucharest and Strømsgodset faced each other last Wednesday in Marienlyst Stadion in Norway, where the visitors from Bucharest managed to get a 1-0 advantage over the Norwegian side in the first leg.
Both sides showed phenomenal energy, and in a back and forth match, the only thing separating them was the brilliance of Gabriel Iancu. He kept his composure and chipped the ball over the the Ghanaian goalkeeper Adam Larsen Kwarasey, to give Steaua Bucharest the victory.
Expect this upcoming match to have a similar style, a very competitive encounter that could see the fluctuation of fortunes.
Steaua Bucharest’s Form
They finished their pre-season not too long ago, and will look to get into form as quickly as possible. Having lost the Romanian Supercup in a penalty shootout to Astra Giurgiu, they managed to bounce back and snatch two away victories against Strømsgodset and Rapid Bucharest, in the Champions League 2nd Round Qualifier and the Romanian Cup respectively.
Steaua Bucharest will now look to get their third consecutive win at home and in the process will hope to secure a pass to the Champions League third round qualifier.
Strømsgodset are currently third in the Tippeligaen, nine points from top-placed Molde. They are attempting to retain their championship that they managed to win last season. Strømsgodset, in the past 5 games have lost 2, won 2, and drawn 1.
Having lost their last two games, the side will be looking to get out the slump against Steaua Bucharest, who defeated them on Wednesday, in the Champions League Second Round Qualifier match.
Steaua Bucharest: Lukasz Szukala and Gabriel Iancu
Steaua Bucharest’s centerback Lukasz Szukala has been solid so far in this campaign and has maintained the defensive back very well structured.
The young wonderkid Gabriel Iancu is also a player to watch, having shown his ability in front of the goal in the last fixture vs Strømsgodset. He will look to find the net once again for his side.
Strømsgodset: Lars-Christopher Vilsvik, Adam Larsen Kwarasey
Strømsgodset’s Lars-Christopher Vilsvik, is a very versatile fullback, key for the side with his ability to get forward and support the attack and is also a very solid defender.
Goalkeeper Adam Larsen Kwarasey had a very solid game against Steaua Bucharest and has shown time and time again his ability as a shot-stopper.
I predict a very tight game, with Steaua happy to sit on their narrow lead. Bet on it being another low scoring affair with Steaua Bucharest advancing on aggregate.
Match to end in a draw: 3.3 with Stan James
Under 2.5 goals: 1.83 with Stan James