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Football: Romania play-off setback as Chiriches limps out

Romania face Greece in the 2014 World Cup play-off without key defender Vlad Chiriches after the influential Tottenham back suffered an injury in his club's 1-0 home deefeat to Newcastle in the Premier League on Sunday. "Chiriches will miss both legs of the play-off," the Romanian Football Federation confirmed on Monday. Romania coach Victor Piturca plans to replace the absent 23-year-old with Dragos Grigore of Dinamo Bucharest. Romania and Greece clash for a place at the World Cup ip Brazil next year on Friday and on November 9. iw/gv/nr

Steaua's wait for Champions League win continues

BASEL (Reuters) - Steaua Bucharest came agonisingly close to their first Champions League win in seven years on Wednesday before conceding a stoppage-time equalizer in a 1-1 draw at FC Basel. The former European champions, winless in their last 21 outings in the competition, led with a 17th-minute breakaway goal by unsung Italian Federico Piovaccari, who has spent most of his career playing for lower tier clubs in his homeland.

Football: Old ghosts trouble Chelsea on Steaua return

Chelsea will attempt to kick their Champions League campaign into gear at the second attempt on Tuesday when they visit Steaua Bucharest for their second Group E fixture. The London club were stunned 2-1 by FC Basel in their first group outing and can ill afford further setbacks with a double-header against Schalke to come. Chelsea last season became the first defending champions to be eliminated in the group phase and manager Jose Mourinho has described Tuesday's match as "the game that we cannot lose".

Football: Spurs complete Chiriches signing

Tottenham Hotspur continued their summer spending spree on Friday by completing the signing of Romanian international defender Vlad Chiriches from Steaua Bucharest. A central figure in the Steaua team that won the Romanian title last season, the 23-year-old Chiriches moves to White Hart Lane for a fee in the region of £8.5million ($13.2m). "We're delighted to announce we have reached agreement with FC Steaua Bucharest for the transfer of Vlad Chiriches," Spurs said in a statement on their website.

Football: UEFA opens match-fixing investigations

European football's governing body UEFA said Monday it has opened match-fixing investigations into Turkish side Besiktas while Romanian champions Steaua Bucharest could face expulsion from the Champions League over a previous matchfixing offence. Steaua's president Gigi Becali, who was already serving a prison sentence for corruption, was condemned to another three years of incarceration last week for having offered bribes to players from a rival team, Universitatea Cluj in 2008.

Football: UEFA opens match-fixing investigations

European football's governing body UEFA said Monday it has opened match-fixing investigations into Romanian champions Steaua Bucharest and Turkish side Besiktas. If found guilty, Steaua could be kicked out of next season's champions League. The club's president Gigi Becali, who was already serving a prison sentence for corruption, was condemned to another three years of incarceration last week for having offered bribes to players from a rival team, Universitatea Cluj in 2008.

Football: Steaua win Romanian league title

Steaua Bucharest have won the Romanian league title for the 24th time, clinching the pennant when rivals Petrolui Ploiestl could only draw 2-2 with CS Turnu Severin late Saturday. The draw left Steaua 16 points clear and with only five matches remaining they can no longer be caught. Coached by Laurentiu Reghecampf, it was Steaua's first title win since 2006 and clears the way for them to compete for a place in the Champions League group stages next season. The Romanian side won the old European Cup in 1986. at/mam/ak

Soccer-Chelsea attract record 55,000 crowd for Steaua tie

BUCHAREST, March 7 (Reuters) - Chelsea's visit to Steaua Bucharest for a Europa League last-16 first leg later on Thursday will break the National Arena's attendance record following a frenzied buying spree for tickets. "We'll see a record as more than 55,000 will watch the game," Steaua general manager Mihai Stoica told local media on Thursday. "Steaua fans know how to create a great atmosphere so we'll see something unique tonight."

Soccer-Controversial Steaua owner gets suspended jail term

BUCHAREST, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Steaua Bucharest owner Gigi Becali has been handed a suspended three-year prison sentence for illegally detaining three people, a Romanian court said on Monday. In the early hours of Jan. 27, 2009, police were called to a scuffle when witnesses saw a group of people shove three people into the trunk of a car after blocking traffic.
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