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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 November, 2003, 21:48 GMT
Liverpool scrape past Steaua
Liverpool's Harry Kewell scores against Steaua Bucharest

Liverpool 1-0 S Bucharest
(Aggregate 2-1)

Liverpool stuttered into the Uefa Cup third round after overcoming stiff resistance from Romanian side Steaua Bucharest.

Harry Kewell's header gave Liverpool a narrow win against a Steaua team that fluffed a number of chances and had a reasonable penalty claim turned down.

Liverpool never really got into their stride, the honourable exception being Steven Gerrard, who turned in a powering performance.

Whether tracking back, tackling, crossing or shooting, his immense drive was the difference between the two teams.

Yet the England midfielder also demonstrated that reckless streak in his decision-making that has blighted his development in the past.

Early in the game, his dangerous challenge on Matei Radoi infuriated Steaua, although German referee Florian Meyer awarded a free kick to Liverpool on that occasion.

Michael Owen headed narrowly over from the resulting free kick before Gerrard powered another header straight at Steaua goalkeeper Vasili Hamutovski moments later.

Steaua were having real problems getting to grips with Gerrard's forages from midfield - and Dorel Mutica was yellow carded for hauling down the Liverpool captain.

But the visitors were not without their own chances.

Early on, Claudiu Raducanu's lob just cleared the bar, Marian Aliuta went close with a shot, while Gabriel Bostina wasted another opportunity to score with a header.

Steaua were incensed when Raducanu's penalty appeal was turned down by Meyer after the break following a challenge by Igor Biscan.

And their mood became even darker when Liverpool took the lead seconds later, Kewell heading home from Gerrard's right-wing cross.

Both Owen and Emile Heskey went close to doubling Liverpool's lead, but Steaua almost took the game into extra time when Dinita flashed a shot narrowly wide.

Liverpool: Kirkland, Diao, Biscan, Hyypia, Traore, Diouf (Smicer 69), Hamann, Gerrard, Kewell, Owen (Murphy 89), Sinama Pongolle (Heskey 69).
Subs Not Used: Dudek, Riise, Le Tallec, Otsemobor.

Steaua Bucharest: Hamutovski, Radoi, Rachita, Mutica, Stoica, Dumitru, Falemi (Pitu 80), Aliuta (Paraschiv 59), Bostina, Raducanu, Oprita (Dinita 80).
Subs Not Used: Tudor, Curt, Neaga, Ogararu.

Booked: Rachita, Mutica.

Attendance: 42,837

Referee: Florian Meyer (Germany).

BBC Five Live's Ian Brown
"Steaua were always a threat with their glossy accurate football"

Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier
"We gave a professional and disciplined performance"

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