Round 12 – results, scorers, highlights and standings
- Victoria Branesti – FC Brasov 1-1 (Olariu 63 pen / Cristescu 71)
A fifth penalty in twelve rounds (not a bad ratio, but there’s no surprise, as the refs did help this team achieve promotion!) allowed Victoria take a lead against another struggling team, but Brasov showed strength and came back to claim a very important point in what promises to be a long relegation battle. Victoria remains an interesting team, pretty well organized, while Brasov deserves credit for every positive result, given the quality of the roster availble, after the incredible exodus that took place during the summer.
- Poli Timisoara – Universitatea Cluj 2-2 (Axente 4, Zicu 68 / Szilagy 12, Machado 28)
Cosmin Contra drops his first points as head coach, after a solid run of four consecutive wins, but, although Poli remains the only undefeated team in the league, there’s a justified concern regarding the team’s ability to focus and the level of determination within the squad. In 10 of the 12 matches played so far Poli had to come back from one or two goals down to collect draws and wins and it’s a matter of time until Contra’s boys won’t be able to repeat such an impressive feat. In spite of three important absences, Universitatea was brave enough to accept an open game and the former Grasshoppers striker, the young Brazilian Gabriel Machado, scored his third goal in two appearances. After the break, as usual, Timisoara threw everything upfront, but it was the same old Zicu to come to the rescue, with his seventh goal of an impressive campaign, considering that he never looked like he cared much about the game itself. Makes you wonder how far this guy would have gone, with the right state of mind…
- Gloria Bistrita – Dinamo 0-2 (Danciulescu 15, Andrei Cristea 90)
A game to forget for Bistrita, but one you get to see from this team a few times each season. It was the last with Laurentiu Reghecampf on the bench, who deserves credit for making this team worth watching, but the latest results were indeed worrying. There was no glory for Dinamo, who rely on a few teams in the league each season to end poor runs and inject some morale in a team that clearly lacks harmony and cohesion. This time, it was the perfect match to welcome back after a long lay-off Dragos Grigore, a decent central defender, as well as put on the scoresheet important goalscorers like the jaded Ionel Danciulescu and the disappointed-for not moving abroad Andrei Cristea.
- Gaz Metan Medias – Otelul Galati 0-2 (Paraschiv 73, 87)
Two of the teams that have impressed this year met in an interesting tactical battle, won eventually by the surprising leaders, who entered the pitch with an excellent atitude, looking like they were used to be sitting on top of the league and playing away to get all three points even from the toughest encounters. Besides their usual problem of not having a reliable front man, Gaz Metan have now an even bigger problem in keeping the Brazilian ace Eric de Oliveira focused, but their desperation to get him to extend the current deal has changed the mood of this very efficient number 10. He has eight goals, but has stopped scoring for the last four rounds and is more worried about his future than the present. Which is very bad news for the excellent coach Cristi Pustai, who, just like Eric, will be terminating his contract with Gaz Metan next summer.
- Astra Ploiesti – FCM Targu Mures 0-0
Nothing to talk about, after probably the ugliest match of the season so far. Two defensive teams, lacking quality in their roster, doomed to struggle this season.
- Universitatea Craiova – FC Vaslui 0-1 (Bello 43)
Undeserved defeat for the home team, who, after three consecutive wins, failed to earn at least a draw against the in-form FC Vaslui, Prepelita missing a penalty in the 90th minute. Victor Piturca is working well, though, and the Blue Lions are going to push for a place in Europe, given the team’s potential, the imminent return of their star player, Florin Costea, and the enthusiasm that surrounds once again this beloved team. Just for the record, 25.000 fans watched Universitatea’s last game! FC Vaslui keeps on collecting important wins, but the experienced Viorel Hizo still has a lot of work to do. He cannot complain, though. With so many match winners up front, all he needs to do is balance the team and keep everyone happy and focused, with a wise rotation system.
- Sportul Studentesc – Rapid 0-2 (Marcos Antonio 43, Herea 82 pen)
Important exam for what remains the most solid team in the league so far, passed without too much trouble. It was a mature display and Rapid took the chances that came along without too much fuss, Sumudica blocking Viorel Moldovan’s every tactical attempt to turn the game around. Marius Constantin at the back (alongside the impressive Marcos Antonio) and Costin Lazar welcomed back in goal Danut Coman and these three players are the team’s core and have the right spirit to keep everyone on the right track, in spite of the club’s never-ending financial troubles.
- CFR Cluj – Unirea Urziceni 3-0 (Traore 69, De Zerbi 70, 90)
CFR is still struggling and has nothing in common with the team that causes trouble in the Champions League. Unirea came to Cluj to defend, but their plans were ruined by Rusescu’s dismissal after 22 minutes. Still, the champions had trouble opening up a tight defense, showing no signs of improvement in Liga I. Sorin Cartu is still toying around with the tactical setup, getting players back from injury and trying to keep everyone fresh and involved, which keeps him from using the roster at its’ maximum potential.
- Steaua – Pandurii Targu Jiu 2-0 (B. Stancu 62, 70)
More or less the same problems with Steaua, as Lacatus needs to rest some players for the Europa League matches as well as integrate those who weren’t registered for this competition. This team will be extremely difficult to break down, but only after the winter break. Until then, Lacatus can only hope that players like Stancu will come to the rescue, this young striker paying at a level way beyond what you can see in Liga I at the end of the week.
Next round (29th of October – 1st of November): FC Vaslui – Victoria Branesti, Dinamo – Gaz Metan Medias, Otelul Galati – CFR Cluj, FCM Targu Mures – Sportul Studentesc, Gloria Bistrita – Steaua, FC Brasov – Poli Timisoara, Universitatea Cluj – Astra, Unirea Urziceni – Universitatea Craiova, Rapid – Pandurii Targu Jiu.