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Archive for February, 2010

New coaches, new hopes

February 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Three new coaches, with impressive credentials, took over this winter clubs with either important tradition (Mark Wotte – Universitatea Craiova) or important ambitions (Andrea Mandorlini – CFR Cluj, Ronny Levy – Unirea Urziceni) and they offered new credit to promising players, who had found little or no space in their teams in the past:

  • Ciprian Deac – 24 years old, left winger/forward, CFR Cluj

Left footed attacking player, who made his debut in the top flight for CFR three seasons ago, in a team packed with foreign players, showing a lot of promise. Enjoyed a good spell on loan at Otelul Galati, where he was a regular starter for half a season, but once he returned to Cluj “regained”his backup/rotation status. In total, he has played 51 matches for CFR, but started only 18 matches! This year, under Italian coach Andrea Mandorlini, Deac was immediately handed a start, although in a surprising position – a right winger in a 4-3-3 system. Read more…

Seto Takayuki – quality “made in Japan”

February 22, 2010 7 comments
  • 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!

Round 18 – results, scorers, standings

February 22, 2010 Leave a comment
  • Otelul Galati – International Curtea de Arges 1-0 (Ochirosii ’83)
  • FC Brasov – Unirea Alba Iulia 2-1 (Zaharia 31, Sburlea 85 / C. Cristea 29)
  • Gloria Bistrita – FC Timisoara 0-0
  • Politehnica Iasi – Rapid 2-1 (Negru 53, Paun 58 / Raduta 78)
  • Steaua – Ceahlaul Piatra Neamt 1-3 (Kapetanos 14 / Onciu 43, Vasilache 74, Badescu 84)
  • Gaz Metan Medias – FC Vaslui 0-0
  • Pandurii Targu Jiu – Astra Ploiesti 0-2 (Diego Silva 68, Paulinho 80)
  • Dinamo – Universitatea Craiova 2-1 (Bostina 8, M. Niculae 17 / Dina 19)
  • Unirea Urziceni – CFR Cluj 0-1 (L. Traore 43)

STANDINGS

Gigi Becali issues public apologies to Steaua’s fans

February 20, 2010 Leave a comment
  • Dayro Moreno (24) has finally been granted the right to play for Once Caldas, after the Colombian side paid the 500.000 EUR transfer fee and received the clearance to use for the first time this season the attacking midfielder, who scored 9 goals in his 44 matches played for the Bucharest side in the Romanian first division.
  • Steaua’s boss Gigi Becali met with the club’s supporters last night and agreed to satisfy all their demands, in order to end a long conflict that seriously affected the club’s image and the team’s results. Among others, Becali had to apologize to all the club’s former great players he has insulted over the years, and that was quite a long list, which included the likes of Gheorghe Hagi, Laszlo Boloni, Gavril Pele Balint, Adrian Ilie. Read more…

De Zerbi has postponed his arrival to CFR

February 19, 2010 Leave a comment
  • Poli Iasi – Rapid and Pandurii – Astra will be played, after both home teams have settled the financial problems that had forced the Romanian Professional League (LPF) to announce that these two teams risk of not being allowed to play in the first round.
  • Steaua‘s owner, Gigi Becali, confirmed that the club has finally reached an agreement with APOP/Kyniras from Cyprus, regarding the much negotiated transfer of Senegalese central defender Gora Tall (24). Steaua will pay 70.000 EUR for his loan until the summer and 130.000 EUR for a permanent deal.
  • Roberto De Zerbi (30) is still in Italy, although he signed a contract with CFR Cluj. Coach Andrea Mandorlini is fully aware of the midfielder’s medical problems, who is expected to continue his recovery for at least two more weeks, and will probably leave him out of the club’s most important games of the season.
  • Ceahlaul’s most important transfer, Cosmin Barcauan (31) will miss the debut match, against Steaua, as OFI refused to release his work permit, until the central defender sent an official complaint to FIFA.
  • International Curtea de Arges officially anounced the signing of George Blay (29). The right back spent three seasons in Romania, playing for Dinamo Bucharest, where he was brought by former coach Mircea Rednic, but hasn’t been able to find a team since his departure from the red and white outfit, in the summer of 2009.
  • Liviu Ganea (21) returns to Astra Ploiesti, where he had already spent the first half of season, on loan from Dinamo. It seems that the conflict between Astra’s boss Ioan Niculae and Dinamo’s board is history (the wealthy Niculae being a big fan of the Red Dogs!) and now the small club from Ploiesti can count again on two players that left a good impression in the first half of season, Ganea and the full back Eugen Craciun. Half way through the season, Ganea is Astra’s top scorer, with six goals scored in twelve games.

Otelul Galati – International Curtea de Arges

February 18, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s the first official match in 2010 and I was thinking about avoiding it, until I saw the strange odds. Under 1.6 for a home victory means that the bookies got it wrong, at least in my eyes.

These two teams will fight for survival until the last round, the odds for such a game shouldn’t be under 1.9 for the home team. Now some more facts:

  • Otelul will allow free entrance on the stadium, but the game will be played on Friday, starting 13.00 CET, when everyone is either in school or at work;
  • Otelul lost during the mercato period regular keeper Kolev, regular and the best central defender Jelev (now at Steaua), but didn’t manage to get in exchange established players;
  • Otelul will also miss team captain Paraschiv, which will seriously damage the build up;
  • The home team looked mediocre throughout the first half of season, with coach Dorinel Munteanu struggling to create a team out of mostly young, unexperienced and unknown players.
  • On the other hand, the newly promoted International lacks experience, but has a more interesting roster (with talented youngsters like Viera, Radut and Chiriches), a more calm environment (no financial worries) and a new coach, the promising Ionut Badea, who took over during the winter break.
  • The guests are also a dangerous team away from home, with four wins in the first half of season (including one against Dinamo!), although they should have tried to improve in attack, where they’re a bit short in numbers and quality.

Definitely, not a game that has home win written all over, as the odds are suggesting, so those who are looking for value bets could include this one on their list.

Politehnica Iasi – Rapid Bucharest

February 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Favorite on paper, due to the massive difference in terms of points, value and aspirations, Rapid received only good news lately, regarding their first opponent in 2010. Besides their problems with unpaid debts (including the players’s wages for the past two-three months), the hosts are presenting a very long injury list, which should only increase the gap in terms of quality that separates these two teams.

Poli will miss the following key players: Branet (first choice goalkeeper), Munteanu (team captain, regular starter, either as a central defender or as a left back), Ilie (regular starter, central defender or central defensive midfielder), Ignatov (regular starter, Bulgarian central midfielder), Constantin (one of the main offensive threats, left winger) and Balba (rotation player, striker).

Rapid has not just a more valuable roster, but also far less injury problems, with doubts over the involvement of Sapunaru and Gauracs, but both are new players and the Bucharest side didn’t lose the regular starters from the first half of season. They’re well equipped all over the pitch, with several new choices in midfield and attack, where Cesinha and Iordache should make it hard for coach Nae Manea to choose the supporting players for the lone striker that would be Ionita, the centre-forward bought by FC Koln in exchange of 2,5 mil. EUR, but who’ll stay at Rapid until the end of the season.

The only problem is that the pitch conditions (which could be terrible – soft, muddy pitch) could seriously affect the players’ performance and even the game’s outcome, but as Poli didn’t train on the home ground to protect it as much as possible, in the end, this could be yet another unexpected bonus for Rapid.

The match will be player on Saturday, starting 18.00 CET.

Iliev and Gladstone have work-permit problems

February 18, 2010 Leave a comment
  • Two of the most important transfers made during this winter break are currently on hold. Both Valentin Iliev (29, bought by Universitatea Craiova from Terek) and Gladstone Pereira (25, bought by FC Vaslui from Portuguesa) are awaiting the work permits to be released and sent to Romania, so their presence on the pitch this weekend is in serious doubt.
  • International Curtea de Arges has to pay Unirea Alba Iulia 12.000 EUR as a training & education fee for the striker Andrei Zagrean (23), who had moved to Inter on a free transfer, last summer. Unirea had asked for 48.000 EUR, but the Federation decided on a smaller sum, probably due to the fact that Zagrean never played at a higher level than the second division.
  • Adrian Markus (17, striker) and Marcel Hering (16, midfielder) will move to Juventus Torino’s youth academy for an undefined trial period. Both players belong to third division outfit Liberty Oradea.
  • After the draw that took place today, the Romanian Cup semifinals look like this: FC Brasov – FC Vaslui and Dinamo – CFR Cluj. The first leg should be played between 23-25 March, while the second leg is scheduled between 13-15 April. The final will be played in Iasi, on the 26th of May.

Leonardo Veloso switches from Dinamo to CFR

February 17, 2010 Leave a comment
  • Willem II agreed to release the Brazilian Leonardo Henrique Veloso (22), who is expected to sign tomorrow his contract with CFR Cluj. Interesting enough, the left back had been rejected by Dinamo and CFR earlier this month, after he had announced his demands – a contract of 200.000 EUR/season.
  • Gloria Bistrita counts on two former players in the club’s attempt to avoid relegation once again. The right back Dan Matei (28), former team captain, returns on loan from Unirea Urziceni, after two season affected by injuries and half of season spent at International Curtea de Arges, while central defensive midfielder Andrei Muresan (25) returns from Russia, where he played seven matches for Kuban Krasnodar. The club also signed the unknown Brazilian striker Aluisio Chaves Ribeiro Junior Moraes (22), raised by FC Santos, and the Portuguese Jose Rui Tavares da Veiga “Ze” (27), who spent the last couple of season in Bulgaria, at CSKA!

Kapetanos gets his first call up to the Greek national team

February 17, 2010 Leave a comment
  • Steaua’s centre-forward Pantelis Kapetanos (26) has earned his first call up to the Greek national team, for the friendly against Senegal, scheduled on the 3rd of March. Not the most eye-catching forward in the league, Kapetanos impressed in the first half of season and proved a vital player and a clinical finisher for Steaua, scoring 9 goals in 11 starts for the red and blue outfit.
  • Not 100% fit after his back injury that forced him to lose completely the first half of season in Romania, FC Timisoara’s centre forward Dejan Rusic (27) missed out on a transfer to Olimpija Ljubljana.
  • Joao Paulo Pinto Ribeiro (29) has been declared a free player by the Professional League and the striker who had a terrible scoring record at Rapid (3 goals in 40 matches!) is free to sign with Leixoes.
  • Steaua Bucharest presents Florentin Matei (17) as one of the club’s hottest prospects. Club owner Gigi Becali says that the kid has a bright future at the Bucharest club, but, at this age, the skilled attacking midfielder isn’t getting any space to accelerate his development, not even in Steaua’s reserve team, which is playing in the Romanian second division…
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