Under heavy criticism since the start of the season, the Italian coach looks to have finally earned some credit and the quiet atmosphere that comes along with it. It might have been down only to Dinamo’s first winning streak of the season (the Red Dogs only managed a draw in Medias this weekend, after three consecutive wins) but behind this good run of results is a playing style that starts to define a team under construction, with a roster that combines the huge experience of Ionel Danciulescu and Catalin Munteanu and the youth spirit of George Tucudean, Cosmin Matei or Constantin Nica.
Very ugly in the beginning, refusing to play, sitting back and working only to frustrate the opposition, even if it was inferior in terms of squad quality and club size, Dinamo was heavily contested. Supported only by the board and a part of the fans, but at war with the influential agent Victor Becali and most of the journalists, Bonetti deserves credit for his consistency and the hidden work that lead to a surprising transformation of a team that now is quite difficult to play against. The more you try to hurt it, the bigger chances you’ll be the one to suffer, by the quick reaction of a tight unit able to unleash deadly counters. Lacking enough attacking flair and worried about a rather young defense which lost its pillar, Cosmin Moti, to Ludogorets this summer, Bonetti knew that he would have struggled to create a solid offensive team, so he started his work from the back. Using his first matches to put this to the test, he managed to calibrate his team in a matter of weeks, being lucky enough to get some points along the way (including a lucky last minute win against Petrolul). The climax was the impressive display against the revelation Pandurii, a team able to create – and waste – a ton of chances, but which allows you to do the same, if you can absorb this sort of pressure. And Dinamo certainly can, an ability that might see the team struggling to break weak, defensive opposition, but offer an advantage in the derbies that can decide, in the end, who deserves to be up there and who doesn’t.
Undefeated for almost a month now, Dinamo sits now in 5th place with 18 points and looks prepared to earn a European spot this season without glamorous displays, but with determination and hard work. And, comparing to the previous seasons, marked by an unrealistic, cocky approach, this time a place in the top five Romanian clubs will look like an achievement, not as a failure.
* foto from gsp.ro
Dario Bonetti’s first game in charge wasn’t great. Dinamo lost against Gaz Metan Medias and the last 10 minutes were really difficult, as the home side managed to make it 2-1 and needed one more goal to overturn the 0-1 defeat suffered in the first leg.
The Italian decided to make small adjustments to the 4-4-2 that had failed to deliver under Liviu Ciobotariu, after some impressive displays and results in the first half of season. First of all, he added a second defensive midfielder, Dorel Stoica, who did three good things: 1. protected the back four well enough even if he didn’t look in top physical shape (both goals came from set plays); 2. allowed Djakaridja Kone to act higher up the pitch and use his energy and muscle to block the opposition’s build-up strategy earlier than usual; 3. scored Dinamo’s only goal, decisive for the step to the final. This lead to the usual playmaker, Catalin Munteanu, who also suffered an obvious dip in form, to move on the left wing, where he found more space and time to dwell on the ball and look for options, as well as send some quality crosses – something nobody else does at the moment for Dinamo.
The most important move made by Bonetti was the use of Marius Alexe in a different position, who moved from left midfielder to second striker – a role that (in my opinion too) suits him better, making him less predictable in movement and allowing him to get more scoring opportunities.
Even though it had little effect in last night’s game, this decision can have major implications not just for the young player who has been in disappointing form in the season he was supposed to prove himself too good for Liga I and ready to move abroad, but also for the team. If he will keep on playing there, there will be little to no space for Ionel Danciulescu, the veteran striker who is the club’s second scorer this term and the active player with the highest number of goals scored in the Romanian first division. This isn’t a surprise, as Danciulescu, who has scored over 200 goals in his Liga I career, had been forced by the same Italian coach to leave Dinamo a few years ago and move to Hercules Alicante, in the Spanish second division, a club he has helped at that time to gain promotion in La Liga.
Ciprian Marica thinks about retirement. Stuttgart’s fans have no reason to celebrate: it’s about the national team
(In)famous agents Ioan and Victor Becali decided to change tactics before the game in France, refusing to comment regarding the national team and especially its coach, Razvan Lucescu. They knew that Mircea’s son had little chances to come out with a win, so “Le Bleus” were going to give them a hand in changing this stubborn coach, who refuses to acknowledge their influence and picks his team on his own.
It was one of their clients who spoiled this decent plan, as Ciprian Marica needed just a couple of training sessions to realize that he was going to start the match on the bench, in spite of his outstanding scoring record of one goal in almost 800 minutes played for the national team, under Lucescu Jr. On Friday, Victor Becali appeared on tv and spoke about his client’s thoughts to stop playing for Romania. Marica himself refused to use these words, but stated his discontent, saying that “The coach favors other players”, still hoping that this kind of pressure might change Lucescu’s plans. It didn’t, but the young coach showed enough diplomacy to send Marica on the pitch in the second half. Read more…
It could have been a wonderful start, with Belarus defeating France and Romania sweating working as a unit for a 1-0 win against Albania, but yet another stupid goal from a set-play encouraged everyone to speak up and against the current coach, his poor selection and the mediocrity of the current generation of players. Everyone but the players under Razvan Lucescu, represented with bitterness and his usual class by the team’s captain, a certain Cristian Chivu. The Internazionale defender… defended the young coach – “who prepares games like no one else I’ve seen at the national team” – in front of the press and from attacks that have been launched by the (in)famous agents Ioan and Victor Becali. It’s an oustdanding gesture, knowing that he’s related to the Becalis through contracts and even religious matters, as Victor is his child’s godfather, but one that probably has been forgotten already, as the media’s busy promoting two of the names ready to take over from Lucescu Jr., in case of a poor result in Belarus: Gheorghe Hagi and Laszlo Boloni. In the background, the lobby for Adrian Mutu’s return to the national team becomes more and more obvious and it’s no surprise, given the fact that the player’s ban determined the Becali’s to go for Lucescu’s jugular. Read more…
- FIFA agent Victor Becali has planned a trip to Bulgaria, in order to talk with CSKA’s board and release Daniel Pancu of his current deal. Pancu had moved to Sofia during the winter break, following Ioan Andone, but, in spite of some decent performances, fell out of favor with the new coach, with the angry fans and didn’t get paid in the last couple of months, so he decided to leave the club. Currently training (which isn’t ok, is it?) with Rapid, Pancu stated that he would agree a return to Rapid, after solving an old conflict with the club’s owner, George Copos. A good move for Rapid if all goes well, as this is also a step made by Copos to keep coach Ioan Andone at the club at least for another season.
- The dismissal of Italian coach Nicolo Napoli was followed by a similar episode to the one that made Dinamo keep the headlines in the past week. Four players (all bought this winter, at Napoli’s demand) refused to make the trip to Ceahlaul, for a game that could be vital for Astra’s future in the Liga I. Marcelo Mendez, Diego Silva, Danilo Carando and Gonzalo Salgueiro are now on the black list and could have the same faith as Alejandro Kruchowsky and Maximiliano Arias, the two defenders who were already released, after a string of poor performances.
With the club seriously affected by the latest and biggest scandal, Dinamo’s bosses have decided to try and avoid similar episodes in the future. After the return of Florin Bratu and Ousmane N’Doye from Dinamo II, the bosses are ready to welcome back the promising Marius Alexe, but will try to limit the influence of agent Victor Becali and his brother, the former FIFA agent, Ioan Giovani Becali. Alexe was asked to part ways with his agent, as well as several other team member, as the Becalis had under contract no less than 17 Red Dogs!
The first Dinamo players to do it are defenders Cosmin Moti and Cristian Pulhac, who are no longer represented by Victor Becali, but, at the same time, according to some people, a lot less chances to move abroad in the near future…
Update: Both players denied the information published in the press and stated that they refuse to terminate their deals with the Becali brothers and that they wouldn’t even consider such a move.
After Dinamo’s defeat against CFR Cluj, in the semifinals of the Romanian Cup, three players left the hotel in the middle of the night: Ousmane N’Doye, Ze Diabate and Djakaridja Kone went out on their own and returned in the morning. With the other players aware of their departure, talks went on among the team’s leaders, Niculae, Niculescu, Bratu, Moti and Bostina, who agreed that something needs to be done to restore an order too often troubled by N’Doye, who had been recently “rewarded” with an excellent contract and, even more surprising for such an unprofessional player, the vice-captan role.
In the morning, when N’Doye was begging for forgivness, Dinamo’s staff had the surprise to see six players leave the hotel and return to Bucharest. If Florin Bratu had already been sent there, to play for Dinamo II, players like Gabriel Bostina, Andrei Margaritescu, Adrian Cristea, Ianis Zicu and Marius Alexe stated that they’re backing Bratu and would like to protest against the repeated trouble created by the Senegalese midfielder. Read more…
Zoran Filipovic decided not to waste any more time and already agreed terms with Ceahlaul. Arrived yesterday in Romania, the former coach of Montenegro’s national takes over from Gheorghe Multescu, who left the club after a fantastic win away against Steaua and a 0-1 loss at home versus Otelul. Filipovic signed until the end of the season and he’ll be paid 100.000 Euros in case he avoids relegation, a feat that will also guarantee him a new and better deal with the club. His chances look slim though, as Ceahlaul is a poor team (12 new players arrived this winter, but all of them on free loans and short term deals), with a terrible situation in the standings and with 0 chances to take anything from Zoran’s first game in charge, away at Dinamo. He can ask Mark Wotte why…
- FIFA agent Victor Becali spoke about the situation of Bogdan Lobont, who’s currently on loan at AS Roma. Read more…
- Steaua seems to have agreed to sign three players, but only one deal has some sort of confirmation so far: the Bulgarian centre-back Zhivko Zhelev agreed to a 10.000 EUR/month contract and will leave his current club, Otelul Galati. In exchange, Steaua will send to Galati the talented left midfielder Razvan Ochirosii (who was “snatched” from the same club by Mihai Stoica, now at Unirea Urziceni), one of the hottest prospects a few years ago, but who never made it among the seniors at Steaua. Otelul gets rid of a problem and also gets 50% of a talented 20 years old. Good deal!
- The other two Steaua targets: Bulgarian striker Hristo Yovov and Rwanda central defender Edwin Ouon.
- Adrian Cristea (attacking midfielder, Dinamo, 26 years old) has been offered to Kuban Krasnodar for 1 mil. EUR. This is no surprise, as Dan Petrescu, the new manager, has been given complete control over transfers and already announced that will try to sign 5 or 6 Romanian players. Cristea is definitely among the most talented, but has an atitude problem and is a gamble Petrescu won’t make. Same situation with Ianis Zicu (attacking midfielder, Dinamo, 26 years old), although Petrescu already tried to sign him when he was coaching Unirea Urziceni, so has better chances. Anyway, it’s going to be a very good month for agents Victor and Ioan “Giovani” Becali ;-).
- Vladimir Bozovic (left back/left midfielder, Rapid, 28 years old) is a target for a French first division outfit, according to his agent, Zvonko Milojkovic. Rapid is in deep financial trouble and owner George Copos has been trying to sell the club (the German businessman Lutz Stache was the last person interested in such a deal), so raising money from transfers looks like the only option right now. Rapid paid 200.000 for his transfer from OFK Belgrade in 2007, but won’t settle for anything below 1 mil. EUR.
- In case Gigel Bucur (striker, FC Timisoara, 29 years old) leaves to club – an offer from Kuban is expected – the Viola outfit will try to sign the Argentinian Pablo Osvaldo Vazquez (centre forward, Strongest, 27 years old).
- The talented Gheorghe Grozav (forward, Unirea Alba Iulia, 19 years old) is very close to a deal with Standard Liege, where he went on trial last summer and left a good impression. The transfer fee: 300.000 EUR