Timisoara’s strange European campaign has come to an end: they’ll play Manchester City!
I’ve watched the incredible 3-3 against MyPa, a poor team, defeated at home, in the first leg, with 2-1, with mixed feelings. The scoreline helped, I have to admit it: 0-3 at half time, winning draw in the end, with the decisive goals scored in the 92nd minute. I went from surprise to disbelief during the first half, switched to anger and disgust at half time, when a former Timisoara coach, Jackie Ionescu, was hinting that there could be some gambling involved (the club is still under investigation for an older Europa League game, vs Dinamo Zagreb), but finished the game in style, jumping from the sofa and punching the air at Cisovsky’s equalizer. I take that back now, when I look back at a terrible match and feel obliged to say that – in spite of my respect for one of the most passionate crowds in Romania – the Viola outfit should have been out of a competition that proved too strong for them even before it began properly. But they’re still in and have the honour to meet Manchester City. Let’s face it, not every club gets the chance to be sparring partner for the Citizens! Here’s why FC Timisoara doesn’t stand a chance in this tie:
The team’s lack of professionalism. I refuse to believe that some of the players have placed bets that MyPa will lead at half time, but not because they wouldn’t be capable to stab football in the heart, but because the terrible attitude from that game had been displayed way too many times before. Take Cosmin Contra, the veteran, the club’s symbol of passion for the colors, who lacked aggression, determination and ideas. Take Gueye Mansour, a forward sent on the pitch very late in the game, who wasn’t interested in getting the ball back in moments marked by desperation, refusing to track back or at least fake a pressing attempt. Take Iulian Tames, an experienced playmaker who has been given the last chance to prove his quality, after years spent in the second division, yet he wasn’t in mood for football. Sounds unbelievable? You should have seen the game!
Pizon’s struggles to control the team. Vladimir Petrovic had the entire summer to get to know his new team, one that was surprisingly quiet on the transfer market, an approach which should have made the Serb’s job easier. It didn’t. He still tweaks with his first eleven and, as it happened against MyPa, fields eyebrow-raising formations. Take the last game: Goga, a natural second striker, played on the left wing. Contra, the veteran right back, was used in midfield. Deployed on the flank, ended up often in the centre, looking terrible, obviously. Magera, who has centre-forward written on him – not all over him, ’cause he’s huge -, had to play as an attacking midfielder with the centre-forward’s usual instructions. Ok, most of those errors have been corrected at half time, but I doubt that Timisoara will face again such kind opponents, that will allow them spectacular comebacks in just 45 minutes.
The players’ poor fitness. The season just started and the team looks like it’s very close to the end of a demanding season. I could name six or seven players who cannot run for 60 minutes, not 90. The team lacks pace, aggression and stamina, gets streched all over the pitch, with incredible distances between the lines and huge spaces ready to be exploited by the opposition.
Football’s unwritten laws. They usually bring severe punishment and I expect Timisoara to suffer. The team’s full of divers, aggressive and unsporting tacklers (the captain Alexa is nicknamed “The Surgeon”!), overpaid mediocre players who see themselves as stars and think that their simple presence on the pitch is enough to get the expected results. I must admit, this time, they’ll get it right. Because the expected result isn’t in their favor.