For almost an entire year, Gabriel Bostina has been playing a double role for Universitatea Cluj. Unfortunately for him, the position acquired in the club’s board didn’t earn him any favors from the technical staff, who recently punished the central midfielder. Twice. First of all, Bostina lost the armband during one of the training camps from Antalya for some unknown disciplinary problems and now the player & vice president has suffered further embarrassment being sent to train with the reservers “for an unlimited period”.
Currently injured, he failed to show up for the weekend training sessions that were going to be supervised by the club’s medical staff, so the former Otelul, Steaua and Dinamo man is now part of a team that plays in the Romanian third tier. The decision belongs to Ionut Badea, the coach, and the club owner is yet to take a stand. Wouldn’t make sense to see the vice president banned as well from the board meetings and ask to babysit the other members’ kids while the grown-ups discuss professionally about the club’s present and future?
This club should have been playing in the second division, based on last season’s results, but yet another compromise from the Professional League allowed Pandurii to take International’s place, following a deal that saw numerous players, plus the technical staff to move from Curtea de Arges to Targu Jiu. 10 rounds gone and this “2 in 1” team occupies the last place in the standings, with just one win out of ten games, already 5 points away from the 14th place that guarantees salvation, of course, unless Pandurii will find another way to dribble through the so called laws of the game.
The two weeks break was make or break time for the board, who decided to release the young & promising Ionut Badea – who was linked with a job at Dinamo, in spite of his position in the standings! – and handed over the team to a more experienced coach like Petre Grigoras. Known for his ability to make his teams play attractive football, Grigoras comes after a difficult period, as he had to stay away from the game for medical reasons, and takes over one of the ugliest teams in the league. Pandurii were a tough nut to crack especially under CFR’s current coach, Sorin Cartu, nicknamed Sorinaccio for his ultra-defensive style, and Grigoras will be seriously tested by a roster divided in two groups of players: those who had played for Pandurii last season and the 16 that came this summer, from International.
The new coach will get to know the team in a five days training camp in Antalya, with the exception of two central defenders, Chiriches (selected in Romania’s U21) and Viera (called-up for Cote d’Ivoire’s match in Burundi), and has the biggest challenge in getting the team’s strikers in shape, as only Apostu scored so far (a brace, in Pandurii’s single win of the season), with the likes of Stromajer, Adrian Iordache and Antohi looking useless, unable to take advantage of a decent midfield, which contains decent players like Voiculet, Ilie Iordache, Orac and Bacila.
- 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…