Unlucky Lions undone in Bucharest

A fine defensive effort last night in the Europa League by FC Copenhagen was spoiled by a freak-goal with less than ten minutes left

FC Copenhagen suffered a narrow 0-1 loss to Steaua Bucharest last night, punctuating a disappointing week for Danish teams in Europe this week after they followed in the losing footsteps of FC Nordsjælland.

After Steaua 2-2 drew with Stuttgart in the first round of the Europa League, FCK knew that their trip to Romania would be more than challenging.

And the Romanians, who hadn’t dropped a single point so far at home in the Romanian league this season, were quick to grab the momentum.

But despite their superiority in possession, Steaua were unable to create any clear-cut chances, while FCK had a couple of chances on the counter.

Good work from Andreas Cornelius on the wing allowed for a sudden two on one situation for FCK, but Nicolai Jørgensen, who has been in scintillating form since coming on loan from Germany, fluffed his pass to a wide-open Thomas Delaney and the massive chance dissipated.

Nothing else happened in a pretty tactical first half that offered little in terms of shots on goal. And the second half continued much in the vein of the first with the Romanians unable to break through the compact Danish defence.

For about 15 minutes in the second half the Romanians looked to run out of gas and the suddenly it was the Danes that were creating chances. Jørgensen flashed a header just wide and Cornelius was inches away from getting on the end of a cross from Thomas Kristensen.

But suddenly the Romanian beast stirred and spurred on by 33,000 fans continued their push for a winner. FCK were defending valiantly, but after 82 minutes disaster struck in the form of a ridiculous ping-pong goal.

A powerful Romanian cross hit the head of defender Kris Stadsgaard bounced off the side of Steaua striker Stefan Nikolic’s face, took a wicked deflection off defender Ragnar Sigurdsson’s heal before ending up in goal via the gloves of keeper Johan Wiland.

And it became further clear that lady luck favoured the Romanians when first Cornelius and then substitute Caesar Santin missed reasonable chances in the dying moments.

The agonizing defeat leaves FCK second in their Europa League group E with three points, one less than Steaua. Molde also have three points after their surprise 2-0 upset of German team Stuttgart, but are behind FCK as they lost to the Danes in the first game. Stuttgart is bottom of the group with only one point.

FCK take on the Stuttgart in Germany in their next fixture on October 25.