- Galatasaray’s striker Bogdan Stancu will miss the vital game against Bosnia and joins Palermo’s Dorin Goian on the sidelines. Razvan Lucescu decided to call Ianis Zicu, who has finished the season as Liga I’s best goalscorer, with 18 goals, and was surprisingly left out of the squad by Lucescu Jr.
- Ioan “Giovani” Becali stated that Bogdan Stancu and Emmanuel Culio are part of Gala’s plans for the coming season, while Steaua’s former goalkeeper Robinson Zapata will be released this summer.
- Italian media speculates that Victor Becali’s trip to Rome won’t be strictly related to Stefan Radu’s new deal with Lazio, with Reja’s team interested in FC Porto’s Cristian Sapunaru.
- Former Lens coach Laszlo Boloni says that Gheorghe Hagi, who is tempted to return at Steaua, should remember how Becali humiliated him and refuse any proposal.
- Universitatea Cluj has decided to release three players: Alfonso Delgado, Danut Munteanu and Nicola Ascoli. Strange call on Delgado, considering that the Spaniard has featured in 28 matches last season, scoring 2 goals in the process.
- Recently signed by Rapid, on a free transfer, central defender Cristian Oros has been called up the national team, to cover for Goian’s absence. Oros is 26, has played for FC Brasov, where he has worked with the current national team coach. And, with Lucescu Jr. tipped to return to Rapid, once he resigns/gets the sack, it does makes some sense.
- Steaua is interested in getting the signature of Dorin Goga, a creative forward from FC Timisoara, who starts this summer the last year of his current deal with the Viola club. For the record, a few years ago, Goga was involved in the “Suitcase” scandal, being singled out as Steaua’s inside man, who spread the word that Steaua’s owner Gigi Becali has prepared 1.7 million Euros for Universitatea Cluj’s players, if they manage to stop CFR Cluj from winning the league.
- FC Sion’s George Ogararu said that he wants to end his career with Steaua. Still has two years on his deal with the Swiss club.
ANDREI CRISTEA– Dinamo Bucharest
- WESLEY LOPES DA SILVA – FC Vaslui
- Pantelis Kapetanos – Steaua Bucharest
- Gheorghe Bucur – FC Timisoara
- Junior Moraes – Gloria Bistrita
My view: Wesley couldn’t have missed this one, he had a solid season and deserves credit for acting very mature during a winter conflict with the club’s owner, which ended in his favor. Cristea was THE Romanian forward, that’s for sure, although I’m sure he’d be useless without a good centre forward alongside him. Obviously, he doesn’t think so, as he became blinded by the opportunity to snatch the golden boot award and looked very selfish and ugly in the last couple of months, an approach that will turn against him next season, if he doesn’t leave Dinamo.
Leaving aside Kapetanos, the only striker who needs to concentrate on his World Cup performances, it’s interesting to see up there two strikers that have played for just half of season, Bucur leaving Timisoara for Krasnodar during the winter, while Moraes came to Bistrita in February, but made an instant and huge impact. Just outside the top five is Urziceni’s Bilasco, a player with an excellent aerial game for his 1,84 m, while CFR’s “stars”, Kone and Traore are waaay down, very close to the ratings received by Pandurii’s strikers, Raskovic and Stromajer, famous for their lack of ability and flair.
My choices: I liked a lot Moraes, as well, but I think CFR’s Bud deserves to be recalled for the way he stepped up and delivered. Dinamo’s Liviu Ganea had a nice run with Astra, where he spent the season on loan, but he ruined all his work with his decision to “shut down” and “preserve” his goals for a better cause than saving Astra from relegation. I have serious doubts regarding his mentality and I think that the gifts he has were delievered by nature to the wrong type of person. Timisoara has a really quality player in Dorin Goga, who’s creative and skilful, but the player and the team would have got so much more out of this season, if Magera was used up-front on a regular basis. In the end, I’ll add Rusescu, a youngster I enjoy watching for three seasons now, but who I’d expected to see get more and more time on the pitch…
Note: the top five is taken from Gazeta Sporturilor, a newspaper that uses the service of Digital Soccer Project. These results are based on a series of specific criteria for each position, include only players that have collected at least 1.200 minutes on the pitch in the past season and the only subjective part of the analysis consists in the average marks received by the newspaper’s writers.
After tonight’s brace (the third of the season) from the mad draw against Unirea Urziceni, Andrei Cristea joins Steaua’s Pantelis Kapetanos at the top of the best scorers’ list in Liga I, with 12 goals each. Cristea, a former Steaua forward, who’s best moment of his career was a brace against Valencia, is having an outstanding 2010 so far, with 7 goals scored in 6 matches, a record that allowed him to overcome Timisoara’s Dorin Goga and Astra’s Liviu Ganea and put under pressure Steaua’s Pantelis Kapetanos.
Anyway, the “golden boot” has now four serious and gifted pretenders:
- Pantelis KAPETANOS (Steaua, 27 years old, 12 goals) has consistency, physical strength, intelligence and a solid aerial game;
- Andrei CRISTEA (Dinamo, 26 years old, 12 goals) counts on athleticisim, technique and the mistakes resulted from his constant pressure on the opposition’s defenders;
- Liviu GANEA (Astra – on loan from Dinamo – 22 years old, 11 goals) lacks a quality team behind him, but can take full advantage of his pace in Astra’s counter-attacking style, enjoying freedom to shoot at will and an improved aerial presence;
- Dorin GOGA (FC Timisoara, 26 years old, 10 goals) has finally got the right partner – a solid centre forward – to take full advantage of his intelligent off the ball movement, creativity and skill.
- 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. Read more…
- 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… Read more…
- Alba Iulia – Gloria Bistrita 1-2 (Veljovic 2 / Ribeiro Moraes 5, Coroian 81)
- Ceahlaul – Otelul Galati 0-1 (Giurgiu 21)
- FC Timisoara – Politehnica Iasi 2-1 (Contra 57, Goga 90 / Paun 5)
- Universitatea Craiova – Gaz Metan 1-2 (Trica 90 / Litu 8, Lazar 70)
- FC Vaslui – Pandurii Targu Jiu 2-1 (Gerlem 5, Delgado 61 / Stromajer 67)
- International Curtea de Arges – Dinamo 1-3 (Apostu 30 / Andrei Cristea 57, 74, Alexe 67)
- Astra Ploiesti – FC Brasov 2-1 (L. Ganea 16, 83 / Ilyes 87)
- Rapid – Unirea Urziceni 1-1 (Iencsi 9 / Bilasco 44)
- CFR Cluj – Steaua 1-1 (Cadu 35 / Stancu 12)