Did Mandorlini fall asleep during CFR-Steaua?
CFR has already a three point advantage at the top of the Liga I standings, getting four points in two rounds, against the main rivals in the fight for the title, Unirea Urziceni (1-0 away) and Steaua (1-1 at home). Still, the awful performance from last Sunday’s game should push the panic button in Gruia, as I’ve never seen this strong team play so poorly since its promotion in the top flight!Probably forced by the absence of Ciprian Deac to switch from 4-3-3 to a 4-3-1-2 (did he build the 4-3-3 around this young and still unreliable winger?), Mandorlini allowed the most primitive of build-ups – long balls thrown upfront for the two strikers – to be the main and only strategy to open up a terrible-looking defense. Steaua had moved captain Petre Marin from left to right (and he would have been sent off after 60 minutes by any decent referee), played Artiom Karamyan at left back and partnered the young Tudose to the slow Bulgarian Zhelev. Basically, Steaua improvised massively a back four, yet CFR was unable to find a way past it, in spite of their impressive looking (on paper) attacking trio, Dica – Kone – Traore.
Ok, Steaua must take credit for pushing up the lines and pressing CFR centre-backs with Kapetanos and the talented Stancu, but does this simple method stop a team from getting the ball out of its own half in a “civilized” manner? What’s really intriguing is Mandorlini’s lack of reaction, ideas and courage to take action from the sidelines, as he found comfort in Cadu’s lucky equalizer and Steaua’s more cautious approach during the second half.
It didn’t matter that the midfield trio Culio – Dani – E. Dica was useless (he kept Sixto Peralta on the bench for 65 minutes!), in spite of being opposed to a midfield pair Petre – Plesan. It didn’t matter that Traore was in an obvious bad day and that he was playing by himself, totally ignoring Kone, not to mention missing golden opportunities. It didn’t matter that N. Dica played the ball only when CFR had a free kick.
Well, mark my words, on another day, it will matter!