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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 November, 2003, 21:01 GMT
Steaua hold Liverpool
Liverpool's Harry Kewell (L) fights for the ball with Mirel Radoi Steaua Bucharest

S Bucharest 1-1 Liverpool

Djimi Traore scored his first goal for Liverpool to give the three-time Uefa Cup winners a vital away goal against Steaua Bucharest in the Romanian capital.

Thursday's second round first leg was played in conditions of incessant rain but Liverpool's young French defender kept his feet impressively to bend the ball low and hard past Vasili Hamutovski.

Midway through the second-half Claudiu Raducanu gave Steaua a foothold in the game when he capitalised on some lax Liverpool defending to drill the ball under Jerzy Dudek.

Steaua had knocked out Southampton in the previous round, but the 1-1 draw puts Liverpool in the driving seat for the return at the Anfield in three weeks' time as Gerard Houllier's side bids to win the competition they last won in 2001.

Until Raducanu's goal Liverpool had restricted the Romanian side to long-range efforts, but the central defensive pairing of Sami Hyppia and Igor Biscan allowed Adrian Pitu's pass to slip through to the Steaua striker.

Dudek ensured Liverpool escaped with a draw when he superbly saved Dorel Mutica's powerful volley, though the Polish goalkeeper endured some anxious moments in the closing stages as Steaua pressed for a second.

Both sides had struggled to control the ball on the sodden pitch, a factor that played a part in El-Hadji Diouf's early booking.

Florentin Dumitru wasted the resulting free-kick, but on 23 minutes Traore proved more accurate.

From Steven Gerrard's short corner, the left-footed Traore moved inside and curled a low right-footed shot past Hamutovski.

Ghencea Stadium pitch.
The match was played in awful conditions

The pitch almost helped Harry Kewell add a second as the ball held up for the Australian, allowing him to round Hamutovski, only for the Steaua captain Mirel Radoi to slide in and clear the ball.

The conditions were less kind to Gerrard, whose pass back to Dudek failed to carry, allowing Raducanu a clear shot on goal, though Liverpool's goalkeeper did well to narrow the angle and smother the Steaua striker's shot.

John Arne Riise then put a diving header wide, though Steaua finished the first half strongly with Dudek saving well from Daniel Oprita and Marian Aliuta.

Playing in midfield, Riise got forward frequently in the Steaua box, notably just after the hour, but his shot was comfortably saved by Hamutovski.

Liverpool visibly tired towards the end, but Houllier's side hung on to close out the draw.

Steaua Bucharest: Hamutovski, Dumitru, Rachita, Radoi, Stoica, Aliuta (Neaga 73), Bostina (Pitu 62), Raducanu, Falemi, Oprita (Nesu 86), Mutica.
Subs Not Used: Curt, Ogararu, Nanu, Tudor.

Booked: Falemi, Pitu.

Liverpool: Dudek, Finnan, Hyypia, Biscan, Traore, Diouf (Le Tallec 58), Murphy, Gerrard, Riise, Kewell, Heskey.
Subs Not Used: Kirkland, Henchoz, Smicer, Hamann, Diao, Sinama Pongolle.

Booked: Diouf, Murphy.

Attendance: 25,000

Referee: Stefano Farina (Italy).

BBC Five Live's Simon Brotherton
"The match degenerated into a lottery as the pitch deteriorated"

Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier
"It was a performance made of strength and character"

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