Chelsea have suffered a minor set-back in their Europa League last-16 tie with Steaua Bucharest after falling to a 1-0 defeat in Romania.
Interim manager Rafael Benitez named a strong side which included Frank Lampard, Brazilian starlet Oscar, Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres, but the Premier League side failed to make an impact away from home.
Steaua striker Raul Rusescu’s 34th minute penalty put the home side in the ascendancy ahead of their visit to Stamford Bridge, and Chelsea never looked like turning the tide as they appeared to struggle to complete a succession of passes.
And the chances they did get away were expertly dealt with by Romanian goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu, who did well to palm away a series of efforts from Yossi Benayoun and Torres, while Hazard blasted a good chance well over the bar and into the stands.
Torres did well in spells in the lone-striker role as he held up the ball well, but the Spaniard equally wasted a number of good chances, while the London club were unable to call on January signing Demba Ba who was cup-tied.
The home side looked the more dangerous but couldn’t make the most out of their opportunities, with Petr Cech and John Terry keeping the Blues in the tie with some last-ditch blocks.
But ultimately Chelsea were poor, and while Benitez has a lot to improve if his side are to progress to the quarter-finals, they are not completely out of sight ahead of the return-leg in London next week.