A mad title race came to an end on Friday evening, when CFR Cluj had to replay the game versus Universitatea. With Steaua and FC Vaslui hoping to get this one wrong and leave it all for the final round, CFR felt that everything will fall apart as the home team managed to get a two goal advantage, before things turned – once again – in their favor.
Some will say it’s no coincidence that a referee’s call made it possible, with Adrian Cristea booked for a second time and sent off after a too aggressive way of protecting the ball, but let’s make it clear: in Liga I, nobody should point the finger and accuse an opponent of trying to influence the outcome of a game in their favor. They are all trying in some way and at their level of influence, pushing the referees, asking and looking for all sorts of favors, trying to get the other team’s footballers to either play with less determination or ready to die on the pitch. So, especially those from Steaua, Vaslui, Dinamo and even Rapid who are now accusing CFR of getting their dirty hands on the third title in the club’s history should keep quiet and accept they’ve lost a battle in which they used pretty much the same weapons.
I’m not saying it’s nice or good for Romanian football and I’m hoping to see the day when at least some of the guys involved in what happens behind the scenes will pay. It won’t come soon, not with Mircea Sandu running the Federation and Dumitru Dragomir pulling the strings in the so-called Professional Football League – read the article written by the excellent Jonathan Wilson for The Guardian -, but as we say over here hope dies last.
So, congrats to CFR Cluj for their win and let’s hope that everyone, and especially the new champions, will focus a lot more on football and their own teams. They looked mediocre for most of the season and massive changes need to take place if they want to compete in Europe in autumn. FC Vaslui did great, considering their transfer ban, but their stars are one year older and the added frustration could lead to the departure of some of the finest attacking players Liga I has seen at least in recent times. Steaua, Dinamo and Rapid once again pushed the self-destruction button and continue to look as expensive toys of spoiled kids, who deserve to suffer bitter defeats. They won’t learn from them, but they surely look good dejected, after making a mockery of their teams, coaches, players and fans throughout the season…