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Dica delivery gives Steau the edge

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Schwarzer is beaten by Steaua's Dica from the edge of the area

BUCHAREST, Romania -- Steaua Bucharest edged out Middlesbrough 1-0 in their UEFA Cup semifinal first leg clash in Romania on Thursday.

Midfielder Nicolae Dica grabbed the winner on 30 minutes, turning smartly on the edge of the area and blasting home past Mark Schwarzer.

In the night's other first leg clash, Germany's Schalke 04 and Sevilla of Spain fought out a goalless draw.

Middlesbrough keeper Schwarzer kept his side in contention with two fine saves early in the second half, one a fierce volley from Dorin Goian and the other a close-range Dica effort.

The visitors, missing injured striker Mark Viduka and captain Gareth Southgate, created few chances, but will be happy to have kept the scoreline down ahead of the second leg at the Riverside stadium next Thursday.

"At home, it will be another atmosphere and a different match," McClaren said.

Dica's opener prompted a sharp reaction from Middlesbrough. Yakubu Aiyegbeni headed against the crossbar and a shot from James Morrison forced Steaua's Portuguese keeper Carlos Fernandes into action.

Steaua played better in the second half and put the visitors' goal under pressure but Dica and central defender Goian failed to find the target.

"Before the match I would have been very content with a 1-0 win, but now the victory has a bitter taste," Steaua coach Cosmin Olaroiu said.

Twenty minutes from time, Schwarzer dropped the ball after he collided with Matthew Bates but Goian again failed to score with the goal in front of him.

A late shot from Middlesbrough substitute Massimo Maccarone gave Steaua a scare when Carlos caught the ball at the second attempt.

Steaua midfielders Sorin Paraschiv and Banel Nicolita were booked and will miss the second leg.

"We lost two important players," Olaroiu said. "Nicolita would have been the perfect player for counter-attack in the second leg. But Steaua still has solutions."

Schalke pressure

Schalke, the 1997 winners, put pressure on the Spanish visitors throughout but couldn't take their chances as Sevilla goalkeeper Andres Palop made several fine saves.

Cheered on by a crowd of 53,551, Schalke took control from the start. Palop turned Gerald Asamoah's eighth minute close range shot around the post and then an unmarked Gustavo Varela shot over the bar.

Playmaker Lincoln and Germany striker Kevin Kuranyi came on in the second half but couldn't force a breakthrough.

Schalke's Serbian defender Mladen Krstajic was sent off for elbowing 10 minutes from time.

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