Round 22 – match highlights
- FC Brasov – International Curtea de Arges 1-2 (Zaharia 11 / E. Kone 29, Bacila 81)
Fantastic victory for International, the first under Ionut Badea, “transferred” during the winter break from the relegated FC Arges, who are undefeated for three matches and starting to hope again in their chances of survival. Excellent game from the talented wide midfielder Emmanuel Kone (23), who’s a natural right winger, but capped a solid performance on the left side with a deserved secod goal of the season. Kone is currently on loan from CFR Cluj and, surprisingly, CFR misses at this point a wide midfielder on the right of his quality. Surprisingly, the Ivorian’s athleticism was perfect on a pitch covered in snow, a sign that he has fully adjusted to the rather difficult playing conditions from Romania. Brasov is really struggling this year and basically lost any chance to catch a European spot, which is a pitty, thinking of the good displays from the first half of season.
- Pandurii Targu Jiu – Ceahlaul 0-0
This is the third consecutive draw for Filipovic and, although a valuable one, against another team in a difficult situation, Ceahlaul will struggle to produce the needed wins, with such a defensive attitude. The hosts showed once again their limits in attack and this was the last match with Liviu Ciobotariu on the bench, who was immediately replaced by former Pandurii coach Sorin Cartu, also known as “Sorinaccio” for his defensive style, which brought the best out of this ugly team in the past. A second good performance from keeper Razvan Stanca, who was outstanding in the previous round, away at International, producing several saves, including a penalty kick.
- Gloria Bistrita - Universitatea Craiova 2-1 (Ribeiro Moraes 35 pen, Hora 69 / Fl. Costea 3)
The perfect start of match and Florin Costea’s first goal in 2010 relaxed a team that was thinking of adding a second consecutive victory, after last round’s win against FC Brasov. Once again, though, Wotte‘s team was penalized by a terrible decision from the refs, who offered the hosts (otherwise famous in Romania for the help they often receive when playing at home) the chance to draw from the penalty spot, which Ribeiro Moraes converted for his fourth game of the year! The Brazilian, who was brought on loan by Gloria for just 10.000 EUR, has been already demanded by FC Vaslui and FC Timisoara, both willing to pay around 1 million Euros, anticipating that the impressive Brazilian will continue to impress and increase his market value! This moment was what Gloria needed to regain confidence and display the same solid offensive game, doubled by some very aggressive pressing, and Hora scored the second consecutive winning goal, this time from inside the box, placing a shot with his right foot. If Craiova seems doomed to struggle until the last round, Gloria remains the hottest team in 2010!
- Gaz Metan Medias – CFR Cluj 0-0
The hosts imposed another 0-0, the third consecutive in 2010 and the sixth in the last seven matches! Last year a pleasure to watch, mainly due to their offensive approach, Gaz Metan shows now that their coach, Cristi Pustai, a Maths teacher!, masters the art of defending as well. CFR Cluj looked as uninspired as ever, Mandorlini trying pretty much every possible combination, in search of a winning tactical setup and the best possible eleven. And, given the obivous quality of the available roster, it’s either a lack of response from the players or the coach’s inability to impose his ideas. Either way, it’s definitely not good for CFR, who could have taken a decisive advantage over the numerous title contenders if they would have been able to at least look like a football team.
- Dinamo – Steaua 2-0 (Alexe 39, Andrei Cristea 81)
THE derby in Romania ended up in a result that will further complicate any predictions at the top of the standings. The Red Dogs took full advantage of Steaua’s complications at the back and opened the score through the very promising Alexe, who scored through a header, after a flick-on from central defender Lucian Goian, the younger brother of Palermo’s Dorin Goian. With an outstanding N’Doye deployed in front of the back four, Dinamo solved all their defensive issues and Steaua couldn’t find a way through, lacking creativity and composure in the build up. The goal that settled the match was scored by its former player, Andrei Cristea, who once again was repaid for his aggressive pressing in attack, forcing and speculating a terrible mistake from Zapata, who missed completely a clearance (after a poor backpass from Eugen Baciu) inside the box.
- FC Timisoara – Unirea Alba Iulia 6-0 (Kozak 19, Magera 25, 32, Mera 53, Goga 71, Mansour 90)
Everyone expected a high scoring game, but the surprise was that Unirea didn’t contribute, in spite of Sliskovic’s promise to adopt an attacking approach. Bourceanu’s suspension, but mainly the advice given earlier on this blog ::-), inspired Sabau to field a first eleven that made Timisoara look like a serious title contender: 4 defenders (two offensive full backs), one anchorman and attacking minded players that allowed a devastating change of roles and tactical setups for Unirea. Magera was instrumental upfront, as he offered balls and space to Dorin Goga, moved Parks on the right side – he was useless in front of goal! – and allowed the small, but skilled Mejia to impress on the left, where he could receive ball into feet and immediately confront his direct opponent. After the break, the unlucky Mansour made a nice comeback, offering the assist for Goga’s goal (I told you, didn’t I?) and scoring his first of the season as well.
- Politehnica Iasi – FC Vaslui 1-3 (Paun 48 / Wesley 37, 82, Costly 78)
Coach Lacatus got the players’ help at a precious time, as he was facing the axe, with Wesley delivering the performances that got him so much praise in the first half of season and so much trouble this year… Poli’s absences were obviously missed and Vaslui dominated the game according to a superior quality of their roster, which, for some reason, had failed to deliver until now. Important comeback from the quick and skilful Milisavjlevic on the left side, but also an important sign from Costly, who finally scored and justified his place in the first eleven.
- Unirea Urziceni – Otelul Galati 0-0
With an incredible sequence of tough games finally over, Levy had the unpleasant surprise of facing Otelul Galati, who gave it all in order to avoid a second consecutive defeat, after the underserved loss against Steaua, in the previous round. Well organized by Dorinel Munteanu, Otelul’s players defended with determination and threatened to score as well on a few occasions, while Unirea’s coach watched his game plan undone without reaction. He had sent from the first minute the promising Rusescu to take advantage of Bilasco’s work up front, but with Semedo yet again completely useless on the right, the hosts struggled to pose a real threat. Which should worry Levy, as from now on, Unirea will face only similar “easy games” against “poor opposition”…
- Rapid – Astra Ploiesti 0-1 (L. Ganea 75)
Round 22 started and ended with a big surprise! With an excellent chance to get back on top, Rapid came up against a team that seemed to have lost the good form showed in the first couple of rounds. With Raduta, Ionita and Gauracs unable to breach the opposition’s central defense, the hosts could only control the game and dominate in possession, leaving the fans to shiver whenever the excellent Stratila (for the fourth consecutive game!) received the ball on the right flank and took on his man. After the break, coach Manea tried everything in attack, hoping for the best at the back, where Diego Silva and Liviu Ganea had failed to connect, looking too selfish in the first hour. But Ganea’s scoring instincts surfaced once again, as he scored with a perfect header from inside the box taking advantage of an excellent cross from right back Marius Mihalache, bought two years ago for less than 300 Euros, when Astra was called FC Ploiesti and was playing third division football…