- FC Brasov – CS Severin 2-1 (Buga 2, I. Popa 83 / Thomas 56)
- Ceahlaul – CFR Cluj 2-2 (Ichim 28, Tolimir 66 / Kapetanos 20, Maftei 76)
- Gaz Metan Medias – Pandurii Targu Jiu 0-2 (Nistor 15, Ibeh 70)
- Astra Ploiesti – Steaua 3-4 (Enache 12, 38, J. Morais 47 / Tanase 19, Martinovic 22, Rusescu 62, Rocha 67)
- FC Vaslui – Petrolul 3-0 (Sanmartean 22, Sburlea 70, M. Niculae 84)
- Universitatea Cluj – Gloria Bistrita 1-0 (Szilagyi 80)
- Dinamo – CSMS Iasi 5-2 (Tucudean 13, 22, 47, 49, Rus 50 / Onofras 27, Vladu 83)
- Concordia Chiajna – Viitorul Constanta 1-1 (Welington 53 / G. Iancu 29)
- Otelul Galati – Rapid 1-1 (Viglianti 27 / N. Grigore 74)
12 goals scored in 13 matches in the second half of last season meant that Petrolul could avoid an immediate return to the second flight, but also that the 26 years old striker will enjoy some attention this summer. According to the former manager, Valeriu Rachita, the man that signed Younes back in March for 150.000 Euros – a sum that he didn’t even had to pay upfront – the Tunisian had a highest bid of 1,5 million Euros this summer, coming from a 1.Bundesliga club. Later, he revealed that it was Hannover 96 the team that wanted the player, but the yellow-blue outfit had already decided to keep him, offering a new and better deal, lasting until June 2015. A mistake, in my opinion, financially speaking, but a good move for the team’s ambitions, if we look at the way the season started for the Yellow Wolves, with a 5-0 win against Ceahlaul Piatra-Neamt.
Hamza was used upfront, alongside the young Romanian international Gicu Grozav – once at Standard Liege -, and the partnership worked like a charm. If Grozav scored once, offered two assists and was also involved in the move that lead to the last goal, the Tunisian striker scored an impressive hattrick, which gets his average above one goal per match in Liga I! He’s now got 15 in just a few months, while the all-time best foreign striker to have ever featured in Liga I, FC Vaslui’s Wesley, has 62 goals scored since September 2009. The Brazilian scored a brace as well in the first round and the most exciting strikers in Romania will meet next weekend, in a very attractive match scheduled on Saturday evening, in Vaslui.
- Dorel Zaharia - 32 years old, striker, FC Brasov
The experienced centre forward helped his team come back from 0-1, with an excellent performance up front, where he partnered Attila Hadnagy in the first half and the promising Sabrin Sburlea, after the break. The former Steaua player levelled the score with an excellent right footed shot from just outside the box and managed to setup the decisive goal after a good run down the right flank and an excellent low cross for Sabrin Sburlea, who had such an easy task that he scored even though he had almost missed the ball with his right foot.
Zaharia, who’s career highlight was a goal in the Champions League, on Emirates Stadium, against Arsenal, played 30 matches for FC Brasov, scoring four goals in the process.
- Ciprian Vasilache – 26 years old, left midfielder, Ceahlaul Piatra Neamt
The once very promising left footed midfielder (can play on various positions, from left back to central attacking midfielder) was decisive for his new team, in the biggest surprise of the round, the 3-1 victory away at Steaua. Used on the left side of a midfield of four, Vasilache showed excellent work-rate, but also composure and vision, knowing when to keep hold of the ball, dictating the tempo and offering quality balls for the forwards. On top of all that, he provided the assist for Ceahlaul’s equalizer and also managed to score an incredible goal: he surprised Steaua’s keeper, Zapata, with a sprint from midfield and managed to score from 20 meters out with an undefined part of his body, as he blocked the goalie’s clearance!
Vasilache, who started a promising career at Gloria Bistrita and played at a young age for Rapid Bucharest (only 35 matches in three seasons!) had been released on a free by Pandurii at the end of 2009, after he had failed to feature in a single game during the first half of season. He signed for Ceahlaul after spending a few weeks in Antalya, Turkey, and offering his services to any club interested to offer him a trial.
- Takayuki Seto - 24 years old, central midfielder, Astra Ploiesti
The Japanese central midfielder was instrumental in Astra’s vital win against Pandurii Targu Jiu (both clubs are fighting to stay clear of the relegation zone), the first away win of the season for the newly promoted. Deployed in amore advanced role than usual, Seto showed solid playmaking abilities, looking composed and visionary in the centre of the park, mastering the art of dictating the play, waiting for the right time to pass and choosing the right option to continue the build up. Plus, he gave a solid hand in recovering possession and also made several runs in the box, which could have been better speculated by his colleagues.
Seto has a very interesting story, as he left Japan at a tender age and moved to Brazil “to learn how to play football”. Started to make a name for himself in Romania playing for a thrid league team FC Ploiesti and managing two consecutive promotions (FC Ploiesti changed its name into Astra Ploiesti). He played on a number of positions in midfield, even as a winger, and showed that he can score wonderful goals, even though, so far, has managed to score just once in the first division.. Still, this quiet and professional Japanese player impresses with his consistency, as he stayed on the pitch for 90 minutes in 17 of the 18 matches played so far!