Round 21 – match highlights ;-)
- Ceahlaul – Gaz Metan Medias 0-0
Zoran Filipovic adds a second point in as many games since taking over the bottom placed in the league, but this was one of those matches that Ceahlaul needed to win in order to put some pressure on the other teams threatened by relegation. The home team failed to create chances even when Medias had to play with 10 men, after Kubala’s dismissal, in spite of Barcauan‘s debut, who was used as a centre-forward, seven years after he was reinvented as a centre-back!
- Astra Ploiesti – Politehnica Iasi 1-1 (L. Ganea 77 / V. Negru 80)
Tight game, in which Astra played slightly better and has enough reasons to feel disappointed, as Politehnica scored on its first clear cut chance through an otherwise uninspired Negru, three minutes after Ganea found the net once again – a tap in from close range, following a flick-on from Radek Oprsal. The match confirmed that the defender Marcelo Mendez is the only player from South America brought this winter that, at this point, offers some guarantees, with Kurchovski and Diego Silva once again disappointing and all the other sitting on the bench until the final whistle… Impressive performance from Vlad Bujor, in Poli’s team, a young forward loaned from CFR Cluj, who shows a lot of potential and definitely deserves attention in the near future.
- Steaua – Otelul Galati 1-0 (Stancu 11)
The hosts grabbed three important points, against the team that had won against CFR Cluj in the previous round, but Otelul was a handful for Stoichita’s men as well. The match was decided by the player that refused to take part in the U23 game against Italy, saying that he’s injured, but who looked in very good shape ;-). Stoichita handed the first start to Stelios Parpas, in central defense, and takes heart from his performance, as the Bulgarian Zhelev will be suspended for Wednesday’s derby against Dinamo, after his fourth yellow card of the season. But that wasn’t the only blow for Steaua’s defense, with Artiom Karamyan leaving the field with a serious injury and keeper Zapata showing once again signs of weakness in goal…
- Universitatea Craiova – FC Brasov 3-0 (Gaman 16, Barbu 26, M. Costea 36)
Marc Wotte finally got his first win with Universitatea Craiova and a suprising and impressive one as well! Against one of the most compact, hard working and organized teams in the league, FC Brasov, “Juvetii” managed to net three goals during the first half, in spite of Coman’s opposition, who remains the best keeper in the league, by far. Recently attacked for not using to the fullest the obvious quality he has in a very young roster, Wotte answered right away and in the best way: on the pitch. Very inspired, he compensated the absence of U21 international Barboianu, with another hot prospect, Radu Barbu, using the central defender in the anchorman role. Barbu scored the second goal with an outstanding long range shot… A vital win for Craiova, but Wotte will need to use all his knowledge before the next match, as now Universitatea faces once again a fierce adversary: complacency.
- International Curtea de Arges – Pandurii Targu Jiu 0-0
Inter’s squad fails to ignite in 2010, under Ionut Badea, and the threat of immediate relegation grows with every round. The hosts played slightly better, but the difference between the two teams was cancelled by an excellent performance from Pandurii’s keeper, Stanca. Several good saves were topped by the saved penalty close to the end of the game, when he guessed the corner picked by the promising central midfielder Radut.
- CFR Cluj – Dinamo Bucharest 2-2 (Bud 48, Culio 86 / Andrei Cristea 32, Bostina 54)
Another poor performance from CFR (pretty soon, I’le lose count), another lucky draw for Mandorlini, who should thank Dinamo’s keeper Emanuel Dolha. CFR continue to top Liga I standings, but now on the same number of points with Steaua. Still, club owner Arpad Paszkany continues to back the Italian, whose 4-3-3 looked once again terrible: the defense was all over the place, the midfield’s transition was poor and the only build-up idea was throwing long balls to the disappointing Kone and Traore. The young Ivorian didn’t return on the pitch after the break, allowing Bud to score a lucky goal and be denied an obvious penalty, which is more than Traore managed to produce in the last three outings! The Argentinian Culio was deamon and angel, with a terrible mistake (backpass straight to Cristea, inside the box) and a lucky decisive goal, speculating an incredible mistake by Dolha, who fumbled a ball that was going out.
- Unirea Alba Iulia – Rapid 0-1 (Ionita 3)
Blaz Sliskovic couldn’t produce the expected shock (he barely had the chance to meet his players…), but Rapid showed its limits, winning only thanks to a wonderful goal from Ionita, which should make very happy FC Koln’s fans… Under pressure from two opponents, the centre-forward surprised everybody, but especially the keeper, sending an excellent shot from over 35 meters that combined vision, flair and technique.
- FC Vaslui – Gloria Bistrita 0-1 (Hora 23)
Second surprise of the round, after Craiova’s unexpected clear win against FC Brasov. Very poor performance from the home team, who rarely managed to produce goalscoring opportunities, showing a worrying lack of harmony and understanding upfront, where Costly, Delgado and Wesley played mostly on their own and without success. Gloria only confirmed their excellent start of year and Sumudica’s team is the surprise package so far. With all eyes on the Brazilian Ribeiro Moraes, who produced again a solid display upfront, it was the former Romanian U21 player Ioan Hora who decided the game, with an excellent goal: control with his right foot, ball moved to his left on the edge of the box and powerful shot under the bar, without a chance for Kuciak.
- FC Timisoara – Unirea Urziceni 0-0
This is becoming very predictable. All the games that opposed two teams challenging for the title seems now destined to end in a draw, 0-0 and 2-2 being the scores that confirm the following fact: none of the seven teams that kept their eyes on the biggest prize during the winter break managed to prepare properly the second half of season. Timisoara showed once again the lack of firepower and the departure of Bucur is indeed a huge blow, while Unirea is able to impose the draw against any team, but will have to show from now on (until now, Levy’s team played only against the big boys) that it has what it takes to win games against weaker opposition. Good game from both keepers, Taborda and Tudor, while Dorin Goga from Timisoara needs some attention from clubs interested in buying quality players, as only badluck keeps him from producing the numbers that usually redirect the spotlight.