- Gaz Metan Medias – Viitorul Constanta 4-1 (Bawab 4, 91, Llullaku 18, 31 / Chitu 39)
- CSMS Iasi – CFR Cluj 1-1 (Milea 56 / Rada 69)
- Astra Giurgiu – FC Brasov 3-0 (Budescu 20, Seto 40, Fatai 61)
- Rapid – Petrolul Ploiesti 0-0
- Otelul Galati – Pandurii Targu Jiu 1-0 (Iorga 87 pen)
- Ceahlaul – Steaua 3-4 (Gheorghiu 8, Golubovic 35 pen, Constantinescu 91 / Bourceanu 3, Rocha 10, Pintilii 12, Leandro Tatu 60)
- U Cluj – CS Severin 1-0 (Buleica 65)
- Dinamo – Concordia Chiajna 2-0 (Axente 86, Matei 94)
- FC Vaslui – Gloria Bistrita 1-1 (Sanmartean 95 pen / Bucur 2)
GABRIEL MURESAN – CFR Cluj
- Dan Alexa – FC Timisoara
- Gabriel Giurgiu – Otelul Galati
- Sorin Paraschiv – Unirea Urziceni
- Costin Lazar – Rapid Bucharest
My view: Yes, Muresan deserves to be up there, but Alexa doesn’t! The holding role is/should be much more than just sitting in front of the back four and winning balls, such a limited player isn’t useful to a winning team anymore. And when you have one pure anchorman on the pitch, adding another one (Bourceanu) when playing at home should be classified as attempted murder on football, a crime that brought punishment on a decent person, but a coach that still needs to develop, like Ioan Ovidiu Sabau. Sorry, got a bit carried away with this :-)).
Back to our top: consistent season from Giurgiu, who also got a couple of important goals and was labelled by some as the best defensive midfielders in the league, but I cannot understand how a massive midfielder like Ousmane N’Doye could have missed the top five. Anyway, he’ll compensate this by getting the first place when we get to the nightclub performances section!
My choices: Already said enough about N’Doye (btw, the guy is the leader when it comes to taking out opponents!), let’s include here Ionut Neagu, who was playing until the winter for the bottom placed in the second division, CSM Ramnicu Sarat, and is another nice coup from Marius Stan and Dorinel Munteanu. Also, it was an excellent first season in Liga I for the Japanese Seto Takayuki, while Timisoara’s Bourceanu would have been higher in the standings if he would have played in his natural role, as he often had to drift wide on the left flank, in a very unconfortable position for this workaholic central midfielder.
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.
The japanese midfielder was among the players requested by Walter Zenga at Al Nasr, who was also looking at Steaua’s Ovidiu Petre and Timisoara’s Razvan Cocis. “Taka” declined the offer after helding talks with “L’uomo ragno”, proving once again that he’s not putting money ahead of the game. He’s definitely hoping to move to a bigger club in Romania though, with Dinamo in pole position to get his signature, a transfer that has very big chances to go through this summer.
- 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!