Dario Bonetti’s first game in charge wasn’t great. Dinamo lost against Gaz Metan Medias and the last 10 minutes were really difficult, as the home side managed to make it 2-1 and needed one more goal to overturn the 0-1 defeat suffered in the first leg.
The Italian decided to make small adjustments to the 4-4-2 that had failed to deliver under Liviu Ciobotariu, after some impressive displays and results in the first half of season. First of all, he added a second defensive midfielder, Dorel Stoica, who did three good things: 1. protected the back four well enough even if he didn’t look in top physical shape (both goals came from set plays); 2. allowed Djakaridja Kone to act higher up the pitch and use his energy and muscle to block the opposition’s build-up strategy earlier than usual; 3. scored Dinamo’s only goal, decisive for the step to the final. This lead to the usual playmaker, Catalin Munteanu, who also suffered an obvious dip in form, to move on the left wing, where he found more space and time to dwell on the ball and look for options, as well as send some quality crosses – something nobody else does at the moment for Dinamo.
The most important move made by Bonetti was the use of Marius Alexe in a different position, who moved from left midfielder to second striker – a role that (in my opinion too) suits him better, making him less predictable in movement and allowing him to get more scoring opportunities.
Even though it had little effect in last night’s game, this decision can have major implications not just for the young player who has been in disappointing form in the season he was supposed to prove himself too good for Liga I and ready to move abroad, but also for the team. If he will keep on playing there, there will be little to no space for Ionel Danciulescu, the veteran striker who is the club’s second scorer this term and the active player with the highest number of goals scored in the Romanian first division. This isn’t a surprise, as Danciulescu, who has scored over 200 goals in his Liga I career, had been forced by the same Italian coach to leave Dinamo a few years ago and move to Hercules Alicante, in the Spanish second division, a club he has helped at that time to gain promotion in La Liga.
Steaua’s new manager, Victor Piturca, who’s yet to be officially unveiled, doesn’t agree that a team’s best defense is the attack. So, he rebuilds it from scratch. The situation was so dramatic last season that “Pitzi” needs to buy two players for each position in a back-four that will not count on the services of Golanski, Zhelev or Marin, who have been already released, while Baciu, Emeghara or Tudose – backup solutions during the previous campaign – are probably kept just until new reinforcements arrive.
Until now, Steaua bought what seems to be its first choice right back, the Bulgarian Yordan Todorov, who comes on loan from CSK Sofia, for just 40.000 Euros. In central defense, Piturca asked for the experienced Dorel Stoica, 32, who comes on a free transfer, but is in the middle of a huge scandal, involving his former club Universitatea Craiova. Able to play in central midfield, as well, Stoica should be the leader of the back four that needs at least two other quality centre-backs. One of them is Octavian Abrudan, who’s expected to sign in a matter of days and add aerial strength and intelligence, but won’t help much when it comes to the pace of the defensive line, Stoica being a slow player, as well. Piturca also signed Florin Gardos, from Concordia Chiajna, a towering central defender, U21 international, but someone that probably will have to wait and learn before getting to play on a regular basis. A fourth signing is needed, and that’ll probably be David Junior Lopes, from Cordoba, but we’d have to wait and see, as his arrival has been already announced a couple of times, by the papers… On the left, Steaua could get a second Bulgarian player, Stanislav Angelov, who is available on the market, after being released by Energie Cottbus.
The strategy is obvious: get old experienced defenders, in order to minimize the needed time to make a solid back-four, but the lack of pace and understanding will surely do some damage, at least in the first couple of months. How much? Well, enough to make these guys regret that they have spent under 100.000 Euros to get the players mentioned above…