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Round 16 – results, scorers, standings and highlights

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment
  • Pandurii Targu Jiu – FC Brasov 2-1 (Pintilii 83 pen, Apostu 90 / Ilyes 68 pen)

Unbeaten in four games, Pandurii climb out of the relegation zone, thanks to the excellent work from new coach Petre Grigoras. This was a vital game for both clubs and there wasn’t much between two organized teams, until the first huge mistake from a poor ref. Unfortunately, things got worse, as he tried to make up for that error with another invented penalty, although there was a sense of justice in his action. Left with only 10 players on the pitch, after Pandurii equalized from the spot, Brasov failed to hold on to a point and are in the zone everyone had expected to see them, after they lost almost an entire team before the start of the season.

  • CFR Cluj – Gaz Metan Medias 1-1 (De Zerbi 1 / Edimar 12 og)

Excellent tactical battle – as always, when Cristi Pustai is involved -, as Gaz Metan managed to cancel quickly a nice goal created by Bjelanovic, who has so much to offer to this team, thanks to his quality and experience. The equalizer came after a deflected free kick from Eric de Oliveira, who is right to feel angry that this was considered an own-goal, as he could have reached Steaua’s Bogdan Stancu at the top of the scorers’ list, with 10 goals in 16 rounds. Impressive stuff! CFR continues to lose very important points and should sound more convinced that they’re out of the title race, as this lack of realism will only do more harm in the near future. Read more…

Can’t open up the opposition’s defense? Then open your mind!

November 22, 2010 1 comment

When Cristi Pustai decided to hang up his boots and grow a beer belly , he chose a path no other ex-footballer with money, cars and hot chicks on his mind would have dared to step foot on. He decided to teach maths in highschool and his return to the game he had abandoned after a rather modest career as a striker was very similar to the always sudden appearance of a teacher in class, after recess: he found everyone out of place, talking very loud, with some preoccupied to “study” in a couple of minutes what they should have prepared at home and the others playing the so-called mind games that, in the absence of a brain and a solid education, ends up in useless and grotesque abuse.

A calculated coach. Cristian Pustai knows how to add points and multiply Gaz Metan's value

It was a class of boys who once were very good in practice, but who are now terrible when they have to explain the theory. And you can see the results in a league that might look like a tight affair, with everyone prepared to defend their ground and the points at stake, but, in reality, it’s only a physical battle (too) often decided by a terrible mistake, not by some special individual or collective move.  It’s Liga I, the competition that highlights Pustai’s intelligence and ability to think outside the box of how to get the ball inside the penalty box and in the net. Thanks to his work, Gaz Metan Medias is pushing for a place in Europe, in spite of some fierce competition, which often goes overboard, leading to some strange to terrible refereeing decisions, as well as the dreadful suspicions of a fixed match every once in a while.

Maths is what remains in the back of your head, after you’ve forgotten everything else. It helped me in my coaching career as well – it created some shelves, where I deposit all my gathered data and keep my knowledge well organizedRead more…

Player of the round: Eric de Oliveira, on occasion, does look like Ronaldinho

July 30, 2010 1 comment

Eric de Oliveira, Gaz Metan's Ronaldinho. Photo by oradesibiu.ro

Name: Eric de Oliveira Pereira
Position: central attacking midfielder
Born: 1985
Height/Weight: 176 cm/76 kg
Club: Gaz Metan Medias

With a release clause of just 300.000 Euros, an average transfer fee by Liga I standards, Eric can still hope of a move to a bigger club than Gaz Metan Medias, although I expect this disciplined team to fight for a place in Europe this season, under the guidance of an excellent coach, Cristi Pustai. His first performance of the season couldn’t have gone un-noticed and I bet there are a couple of clubs that think of the little Brazilian as a surprise move right before the  mercato period closes. He’s the type of creative midfielder who drops into space, where he likes to be played ball into feet and either start surging runs through the middle – working on one-twos that could release him behind the defense – or look for a through ball for the front man. Unfortunately, Gaz Metan have lacked a decent centre forward since Bud left the club to join CFR Cluj, and this season’s hopes have been invested in a certain Admir Aganovic, a 24 years old from Bosnia, who didn’t impress in his first appearance for the club. So there’s a chance that the little Brazilian could do a lot better if surrounded by quality players, who would offer him options to develop the attacks and keep him involved for 90 minutes. Against the newly promoted Victoria Branesti, this Ronaldinho look-a-like and wannabe, who scored 11 goals in 55 appearances in Liga I, offered some classy moments, which compensated his habit of disappearing from games, for quite long periods. He stepped up and cooly converted a penalty, opening the score, then put the result beyong any reasonable doubt, with a “made in Brazil” finish (keep an eye on the man with the assist, Alex Munteanu!).  So, I’m not sure if he could make an impact at a bigger club right now (lacks consistency), but I’m convinced Gaz Metan would struggle without him and shoud give up any hope of finishing in the upper part of the standings, if he leaves.

Best players in Romania: central attacking midfielders

June 21, 2010 1 comment
  1. JULIANO SPADACIO – Rapid Bucharest
  2. Lucian Sanmartean – FC Vaslui
  3. Sixto Peralta – CFR Cluj
  4. Eric de Oliveira – Gaz Metan Medias
  5. Ovidiu Vezan – International Curtea de Arges

My view: Well, if Spadacio wins this after the worst season since his arrival to Rapid, it means that the guy is way too good for this league, but not good enough for a better one, given the lack of offers from Europe this summer… Anyway, let’s just say that Sanmartean made a nice comeback in Liga I, but he still looks like he wouldn’t like to give too much on the pitch – he probably waits to turn 34, 35. If Lopez Caro wants to win something next season, well, he should try and make this guy give it all for FC Vaslui. I wouldn’t have included here Peralta, as he’s more of a number 8 than a number 10, while Vezan is the absolute surprise. Should I add that, in spite of this “achievement”, the guy has just been released on a free transfer by International Pitesti? Thumbs up, though, for Florin Dan, an experienced player who gave it all to save Unirea Alba Iulia, who just missed out on this Top 5.

My choices: Well, to say Radut, now, after Steaua got his signature and he made his debut among the seniors in the National Team doesn’t make me much of an observer, right? But, looking through the list of players taken into consideration, there isn’t another young&promising attacking midfielder out there. And that’s quite sad. And scary!

Note: the top five is taken from Gazeta Sporturilor, a newspaper that uses the service of Digital Soccer Project. These results are based on a series of specific criteria for each position, include only players that have collected at least 1.200 minutes on the pitch in the past season and the only subjective part of the analysis consists in the average marks received by the newspaper’s writers.

Gladstone, from Sporting and Juventus to FC Vaslui

February 14, 2010 Leave a comment
  • Gaz Metan Medias – a decent club, always careful with its imports – signed the Greek striker Vasilios Galanis (22), who has a very poor playing record in his home country and can only be proud of his past in Panathinaikos’ youth ranks. But, on the other hand, unknown and dubious looked at the beginning players like the Brazilian attacking midfielder Eric de Oliveira Pereira (24) or the Serbian defender Zarko Markovic (23), who are now closely followed by bigger Romanian clubs.
  • FC Vaslui signed another interesting name, in what is definitely the “best looking” transfer campaign a Romanian club has managed during this winter break. Brazilian defender Gladstone Pereira della Vallentina (25), who once belonged to Juventus or Sporting Lisbon, agreed to a three years long contract, as FC Vaslui decided to ignore the player’s proven inconsistency over the years.
  • FC Brasov signed Stelian Stancu (28), who was released by FC Timisoara, after failing to find a club willing to pay a 200.000 EUR transfer fee. Patient enough, but also forced to find an alternative by the conflict with Rui Duarte (the Portuguese right back refusing to return to Brasov after he has been denied a move to Steaua), the team prepared by Viorel Moldovan made a good deal, as Stancu is a very good backup solution, given his ability to play anywhere on the right, but also as a central midfielder.
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