FC Vaslui gave a scare to migthy Inter Milano, in a game the Romanians never expected or deserved to win!
Having to go through the preliminary rounds of both European competitions, most Romanian clubs face between two and four games before making a shameful exit. An entire campaign, they fight like crazy, bending rules and doing everything possible to finish as high as possible in the standings, but when they start playing in Europe, the following season they start complaining about the games that come every three days…
FC Vaslui is yet to win a league title, but is a club that managed to finish every season in a higher position than in the previous one. The lack of European exposure obviously affected their chances to avoid big names this autumn and, after Fenerbahce in the Champions League, things got worse in the Europa League. Inter came to Piatra Neamt and won 2-0 the first leg, a match that Marius Sumudica, Vaslui’s coach wanted to approach using the reserves. An idea that came back to life before last night’s second encounter and Sumudica rested even the excellent goalkeeper, Dani Coman, alongside a number of regular starters, handing debuts to several players against a team lead by the incredible Javier Zanetti, packed with stars, in spite of a 2 goal advantage from the first leg.
Vaslui lead 1-0 and 2-1, playing almost an hour with a one man advantage, but failed to deliver the biggest surprise of the play-off. The game ended with a draw that punished what I consider lack of respect towards the competition and the opposition, but, above all, an amateurish approach that I’ve initially linked with Sumudica. Listening to the team’s manager Daniel Stanciu and the club owner Adrian Porumboiu afterwards, I realized that the coach had their backing to field a weak team against Inter and give up the fight before it began. And all that because three days from now, the title contender FC Vaslui will play away versus newly promoted club, Viitorul Constanta… Pathetic!
Position last season: 2nd place
The club that – in its’ short history – always managed to finish in a better position than in the previous year made one step closer to Adrian Porumboiu’s dream: winning the league. The wealthy former international referee will now be hoping that the season that just started won’t be the exception from the rule, as he made massive changes to the team and also made a surprising call, forcing the resignation of Augusto Inacio, the coach that had a short, but impressive tenure at the club. Last season, Vaslui boasted the most creative offensive trio in the league, Lucian Sanmartean – Wesley – Adailton, which compensated often for the big problems at the back, with the defenders tormented by injuries, the lack of a real scoring threat in the lone striker position and a lack of balance within the team.
Important transfers out: Paul Papp (central / right defender, key player), Adailton (forward, key player)
Vaslui agreed to part ways with Papp, who recently broke in the senior national team, Porumboiu showing that he’s learned from mistakes done in the past. The most notorious was blocking the transfer of Zoran Ljubinkovic a few years ago, after the midfielder had scored 16 goals in one season, and the following conflict with the Serbian player resulted in a one year ban in the transfer market for the club. So, the yellow-green outfit allowed a top defender to move to Chievo, but also lost easily to the same Serie A club the Slovakian centre-back Pavol Farkas, whom they’ve constantly under-rated, although he did very well in the first half of the season, when the back-line was heavily affected by injuries. Another important player who move away on a free transfer was the left midfielder Nemanja Milisavljevic, who covered the left back role as well, when needed, and now signed for Rapid, while there’s hope that the veteran Brazilian Adailton will return soon from his temporary retirement, as promised. He lost pace and stamina, but his ability to take set plays, as well as his invaluable experience, were assets that might be missed.
It’s not news anymore, but it’s another interesting story, which says a lot about the game in Romania and the struggle to behave like professionals. Rui Duarte arrived in Romania from Estrela Amadora back in 2008, when, thanks to CFR’s rise, it was not just trendy to buy players from the Portuguese market, but also the almost guaranteed way of adding quality to the roster, without spending a lot of money. It was cheaper to buy from a mid-table team playing in Liga Sagres than from a newly promoted squad in Liga I or even a second division club, the lack of common sense and realism when it comes to discussing a transfer fee being still an issue in Romanian football.
For less than half a million Euros, FC Brasov managed to buy the player that went on to establish himself as the best right back in the league, an award claimed on a regular basis, year after year, and the move to one of the Bucharest clubs made perfect sense, from this point of view. Those who like to look at football as a business, where players are getting paid to work like almost any other professional out there, have always looked at Rui Duarte from a different perspective, though. The Portuguese full-back had developped a habit of returning late for almost any holiday, but this was overlooked, as FC Brasov was considered a mediocre team, with no quality backup solution to take a stand against this practice, and, for some reason, Rui Duarte would have stopped acting like an amateur once he had made a move to a truly professional club. Like Rapid? Neah, it doesn’t fit the profile, although we’re talking about a title challenger. Rapid is 11 (eleven) days away from the first official game of 2011 and what does the board do? Organize a trip to Portugal, to convince Rui Duarte to return to the club! After missing the entire winter preparation, he is kindly asked to come back and make every single team-mate look like an idiot, for wearing themselves out for two months, to secure a place in the first eleven. Something Rui Duarte doesn’t have to do not because he’s an excellent player – by the way, he’s not! -, but because he got some interesting results to the repeated tests conducted on the guys allowed to run first division clubs, either as board members or as part of the technical staff. They are always ready to make a compromise, yet never understand why the lack of professionalism is such a common disease even at Liga I players, either homegrown or signed from abroad. The thought that it might be actually their fault probably never crossed their rested minds…
Of all the top clubs, only two will attack the next season with the same coach. Mandorlini‘s double with CFR Cluj and Levy‘s abilty to continue Dan Petrescu’s outstading work for Unirea Urziceni offered them the chance to stay put and enjoy the results of the previous campaign.
In a previous post, I had anticipated an agitated summer in this field, but my expectations were exceeded by the decision of two coaches that could have stayed: Sabau (FC Timisoara) and Lacatus (FC Vaslui), both leaving their clubs for personal reasons; Sabau - for his inability to connect with Timisoara’s football-loving fans, Lacatus - following the disappointing ending of a solid season.
With so many ambitious clubs looking for good coaches, it’s been more interesting looking for the moves in this area, rather than “buying” the rumors sold on a daily basis by the sporting newspapers regarding the players that might come to Romania this summer. Dinamo went for their old player and coach (although he’s still quite young), Ioan Andone, who was replaced at Rapid by the former Gloria Bistrita manager, Marius Sumudica. Sumudica, an icon in Giulesti, will get a lot of help by Rapid’s new and old president, Dinu Gheorghe. With Steaua still pushing for a deal with Victor Piturca, who, for the past two or three weeks, has arranged transfers and even decided who will be the club’s president!, FC Vaslui was the club that managed to go for something new and very exciting indeed: a staff lead by Lopez Caro, who had the chance to work with the likes of Guti and Zidane and now will try to teach Burdujan that football is a team’s sport and that it’s okay to pass the ball every once in a while, even if the game is indeed decided by goals.
If the move becomes official today, as announced, Vaslui’s owner, Adrian Porumboiu, shows once again that he cares about his investment in football and that he knows very well what he has to do in order to continue the impressive development of his club. He keeps going forward, while “the big guns” from Bucharest are chasing their tales, looking back at their last moments of triumph and hiring the guys that managed to deliver…
Brought on a loan from Santos, with the option to make the deal permanent for 200.000 Euros, Aluisio Chaves Ribeiro Junior Moraes is probably the best deal in Gloria Bistrita’s history! The Brazilian forward, who came to Romania through Marius Sumudica’s still active contacts from Portugal, was on fire and impressed with every single appearance in Liga I. In 17 matches, he scored 9 goals, an impressive and decisive feat for Gloria’s survival in the league, which attracted interest from every single big club from Romania.
Obviously, Gloria moved quickly and paid the 200.000 Euros, offering the 23 years old a contract that has a release clause of 2 million Euros. And it won’t be a surprise to see it paid in a month or so ;-).