Steaua Bucharest 1 Chelsea 0: Benítez disappointed to concede ‘soft penalty’
Steau Bucharest 1 Chelsea 0: Rafael Benítez says he was disappointed to concede a 'soft penalty' in the Romanian capital
Rafael Benítez admitted he was disappointed to concede a “soft penalty” after Steaua Bucharest secured a slender first-leg win against Chelsea in the Europa League last 16.
The west London side went behind after 34 minutes when young left-back Ryan Bertrand was penalised for pulling back Raul Rusescu, who converted the subsequent spot-kick.
Cristian Tanase came close for the visitors in the second half before Juan Mata and Marko Marin missed late chances to secure a valuable away goal for Benítez’s men in the Romanian capital.
“It was a difficult game, you could see the atmosphere and the pitch was not the best,” said Benítez.
“We are disappointed because we conceded a goal with a soft penalty and had one or two chances to score. Our keeper was not making any saves and we could have scored so we have to do everything at Stamford Bridge.
“It was a soft penalty to give in this situation with so many officials. We cannot change that now. The referee gave the penalty but no red card? Strange.”
Chelsea face Manchester United, who crashed out of the Champions League on Tuesday night, in a FA Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford this weekend before Steaua Bucharest make the return trip to Stamford Bridge on Thursday.
Benítez was pleased by his side’s second-half reaction, and the Spaniard insisted the Champions League winners must stay united in a bid to overturn the deficit in the second leg next Thursday.
“You saw the reaction in the second half,” he added. “We were pushing and were on top. They were dangerous on the counter-attack. This result means we have to win at home and we have to push together.”