Match Preview – Unirea Urziceni (A)

Europa League Last 32 2nd Leg
Thursday 25 February 2010 - 6:00 pm
Steaua Stadium
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The reds travel to the capital of Romania with hopes for the last 16

Liverpool travel to Romania for the first time since the 2003/04 UEFA Cup 2nd Round when they beat Steaua Bucharest 2-1 on aggregate. A 1-0 Anfield victory and a 1-1 draw in this stadium ensured Liverpool progressed.

Liverpool also played Romanian opposition in the first round of the UEFA Cup campaign in 2000/01 – a year you may remember Liverpool went on to win this European trophy for a joint record 3rd time.

The reds will be hoping omens shine favourably again – 9 years ago the reds progressed with a 1-0 aggregate victory over Rapid Bucharest.

The reds take a 1-0 lead over to Unirea (who are playing at Steaua Bucharest’s stadium due to UEFA ground regulations).

Statto’s will be interested to know that the previous time we met Romanian opposition before that, in 1984, we also went on to pick up the trophy – in that case it was against Dinamo Bucharest and the trophy was the European Cup. The Anfield scoreline that night? 1-0.


David N’gog scores the winner at Anfield

Liverpool met the current Romanian Champions for the first time last Thursday at Anfield.   In similarities to the match 26 years ago the reds won the game 1-0 through a header. Step aside Sammy Lee and this time round David N’gog takes the goal plaudits.  The reds found it difficult to break down an extremely negative Romanian side, who almost managed to get away with a draw.

But Liverpool are firmly in the driving seat – especially with the bonus of the clean sheet.

A Liverpool goal in the Steaua stadium would see the Romanian side needing to score 3 times.

Injuries and Suspensions

Liverpool’s injury crisis is slowly easing, praise the Lord.  Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun are both expected to be in the squad, although it is likely that Torres will again start on the bench. The reds face Blackburn at home at the weekend.

Glen Johnson is still out injured.

Maxi Rodriguez is ineligible for selection.  He is cup tied from earlier European exploits with Atletico Madrid.


If Liverpool’s European form was sparkling they would still be in the Champions League. Nonetheless last week’s victory should have helped matters for tonight’s game.  In the League the reds have vastly improved since the turn of the year.  Losing once in 9 matches and turning the leaking defence that conceded 25 in 18 games back in to a fortress. The reds have conceded just twice in the last 9 league games.

Unirea made their return from their winter break against Liverpool last week.  They were then defeated by Cluj, Romanian title rivals, at the weekend.  Liverpool drew away from home with Manchester City.


Liverpool –(from) Pepe Reina, Diego Cavalieri, Daniel Agger, Fabio Aurelio, Emiliano Insua, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Jamie Carragher, Martin Skrtel, Alberto Aquilani, Steven Gerrard, Yossi Benayoun, Javier Mascherano, Lucas Leiva, Jay Spearing, Dirk Kuyt, David Ngog, Fernando Torres.

Ryan Babel blew hot when he came on against Unirea last midweek, before blowing cold when handed a start against Man City. He and Benayoun will battle it out for left midfield. Kyrgiakos is still suspended from the Premier League but can play tonight. He sat on the bench in the first leg.

Possible starting XI – Reina, Insua, Agger, Skrtel, Carragher, Benayoun, Mascherano, Leiva, Gerrard, Kuyt, Ngog

Unirea Urziceni: Last week: Giedrius Arlauskis, George Galamaz, Bruno Fernandes, Vasile Maftei, Ion Sorin Paraschiv (Ricardo Vilana Gomes, 86), Razvan Paduretu (Raul Rusescu, 90), Pablo Daniel Brandan, Sorin Frunza, Iulian Apostol, Marius Bilasco, Marius Onofras (Laurentiu Marinescu, 75)


Unirea need to score. But I don’t think they will come out of the starting blocks at Liverpool.  I’d imagine their game plan will be similar to the first leg – keep all 11 men behind the ball and hope to nick a goal.

If Liverpool score first then Unirea will have a real job to do and it’s possible Liverpool could grab a couple more.  On the other hand if Unirea do score first then the game could really open up at either end.

Unirea 1-3 Liverpool


Liverpool are 8/11 to progress. Unirea are 4/1 to go in to the last 16.  If you think the match will head in to extra time you can get 3/1.

TV and Online

The match will be broadcast on ESPN in the UK. Further information is available in the forum

You can follow the game with us on Twitter and discuss the game live with other fans on LFC Reds

10 comments on
Match Preview – Unirea Urziceni (A)

  1. We should walk this (on paper) anyway shouldn’t be talking of away goals we should have been to far ahead from the home game. Do we all realise that we will be the laughing stock of the world if we get beaten here. The jokes will coming flooding in from the Mancs.
    Benitez has got to surely be aware that this is his LAST season.

    Come on you reds tonight….

  2. Benitez’s last hope of trophy is on Europa League. Although Liverpool are leading by 1-0 but the risk is there travel to Romania because the gap is small.

    To secure his head from being axed, Rafa must make sure the Red to qualify. Torres’s return should leads Liverpool to seal a victory.

  3. great. hope it’s gonna be a good game tomorrow night. i didn’t have the chance to see the Reds in 2003, even though i’m a Steaua fan also.

    it was a tough game also, on a very bad pitch. now i think it’s gonna be ok 🙂

  4. A good preview. I’d just like to point out that

    “away goals only count at the end of extra time”

    is wrong: away goals count at the end of normal time, according to the UEFA rules.

    Still, I hope we won’t need away goals…!


      • “Article 8

        Away goals and extra time

        8.01 For matches played under the knockout system, if the two teams involved in a tie score the same number of goals over the two legs, the team which
        scores more away goals qualifies for the next stage. If this procedure does
        not produce a result, i.e. if both teams score the same number of goals at
        home and away, two 15-minute periods of extra time are played at the end of
        the second leg. If, during extra time, both teams score the same number of
        goals, away goals count double (i.e. the visiting club qualifies). If no goals are
        scored during extra time, kicks from the penalty mark (see Article 17)
        determine which club qualifies for the next stage.”

  5. small correction: Liverpool last played on Steaua stadium in 2003, with… Steaua Bucharest (in fact… the real name of the stadium is Ghencea). In the first game it ended 1 – 1, with a Traore goal, and on Anfield Liverpool won 1-0 with Harry Kewell’s goal.

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