Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Bucharest Thursday night to celebrate Steaua’s victory against Rapid in the UEFA Cup quarterfinals and its advance in the semifinals.
Other thousands joined the celebrations in other major Romanian cities, under high security police apparatus that eventually found little reason to worry about a possible confrontation between Steaua and Rapid fans.
Despite winning the match with a 0-0 on home turf after a 1-1 in the first leg against Rapid, Steaua celebrated a major victory in which most Romanian leaders took a stand, including President Traian Basescu.
He joined Steaua players and their club officials at a restaurant downtown Bucharest following the match, even if he refused an invitation to witness the match from the official seats in sign of protest towards Steaua owner Gigi Becali, a populist businessman-politician who had insulted PM Tariceanu earlier this week.
Rapid coach Razvan Lucescu congratulated the victors but pointed out that his team was no less valuable than Steaua and would have the same merits as the UEFA Cup semifinalists, taking into account the 1-1 and 0-0 scores reported for the quarterfinals.