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This season, the Romanian Cup isn’t “the losers’ trophy” anymore!

October 29, 2010 1 comment

Not a single surprising result was recorded in midweek, when 16 teams fought for a place in the quarter finals of the Romanian Cup, a trophy ignorred in recent years especially by the Bucharest sides, although they weren’t very succesful in the league either… Still, there was some serious struggle for big clubs like Steaua, Poli Timisoara and CFR Cluj, with the single praise-worthy performance coming from Universitatea Craiova, who won on a very difficult ground, showing determination and fielding players that were enjoying their chance to play attacking football.

  • FC Brasov – Universitatea Cluj 2-1 (Chipciu 5, V. Badea 86 / Lemnaru 52)
  • Poli Timisoara – Vointa Sibiu (2nd division) 1-1, 4-3 on penalties (Goga 13 / Bunea 87) 
  • Dinamo – ALRO Slatina (2nd division) 3-1 (M. Niculae 2, Alexe 8, 30 / Barsan 38)
  • Gloria Bistrita – Unirea Urziceni 1-0 (Bruno Moraes 67)
  • CFR Cluj – FCM Targu Mures 2-0 (Bjelanovic 32, Sforzini 90)
  • Steaua – Sportul Studentesc 1-1, 3-1 on penalties (T. Balan 19 / Latovlevici 72)
  • Pandurii Targu Jiu – Universitatea Craiova 0-2 (Wobay 33, Prepelita 54)
  • Astra Ploiesti – Rapid 0-0, 0-2 aet (Frunza 93, 111)

This is Romania!

October 11, 2010 1 comment

Desperate to keep a clean sheet. Trained to destroy, not to build. Hoping for a lucky counter or a well taken free kick. This is Romania. At any level. From the senior national team to the Under 0. We have it in our genes and we’re not making the smallest effort to change our mentality. And you can see it at club level. Where we’re defending. Destroying. Hoping for the counter-attacks that bring once in a lifetime 2-0 wins on Olimpico. And we still wonder why we have slim chances to see Romania at a final tournament in this lifetime…

 

Romania's U21, a team used to sit back and wait. And has been waiting for a final tournament since 1998!

 

For those not very familiar with the team in yellow, the weekend was looking promising on Friday evening, when Romania faced England, in front of a packed stadium in Norwich. Sandoi’s eleven that featured one keeper, five natural defenders and five natural midfielders, was trying to switch from a 4-5-1 to a 4-3-3, as the team got hold of possession, being probably the first in the world to try and use three forwards, without having at least one on the field! Read more…

Universitatea Craiova joins the trend, cutting down incredible and unjustified high wages

October 6, 2010 1 comment

When Victor Piturca threatened his players that they will lose their wages for 3 or 4 months, if they play as selfish as CFR’s Lacina Traore, it would have been interesting to know what gsp.ro announces today: several players from Universitatea have, at least on paper, incredible wages for what they can offer and have offered to this beloved, but underachieving club, in recent years.

The club’s highest earner and also top player, Florin Costea, who’s currently injured, gets 410.000 Euros/season, a salary that cannot be found at the champion club, for example, where Sixto Peralta, the former Internazionale midfielder, gets 375.000 Euros/year. But let’s say that Costea deserves this, given his on-the-pitch input when fit, as well as a market value calculated in million Euros. But to hear that Spase Dilevski, an Australian defensive midfielder, who never stood out as a decisive player for the club, earns 370.000 Euros per season, and Mihai Dina, an average 25 years old forward, who has an excellent year when he scores five goals in the league, was getting paid 180.000 Euros/season, obviously shocked Universitatea’s new manager. Wage cuts of -40% followed immediately, with non-negotiable offers accepted by the mentioned players, as well as by the young Mihai Costea (down to 120.000 from 180.000), while others, like the 28 years old Brazilian David Lopes, are expected to either accept half of their current wages or leave the club during the winter break.

Mihai Dina was earning in a year a bigger sum than what Universitatea would have got in case of a sale. Photo from prosport.ro

Read more…

Round 9 – results, scorers, standings and highlights

September 28, 2010 Leave a comment
  • Rapid and Universitatea Craiova’s comfortable wins saved a round dominated by tight games and Italian results. Rapid dismantled the newly promoted from Branesti and, after the 5-0 Cup win from last Tuesday, continued to score at will, taking advantage of some eye-catching passing game that allows Sumudica’s men to create lots of scoring chances, especially when they play at home. Playing away from home looks easier for Piturca’s players, who took advantage of another very defensive approach from Targu Mures. The home team was coming from a wonderful 2-1 away win in Cluj, against CFR, but fielding again five defenders wasn’t the best idea from Ioan Ovidiu Sabau…
  • Astra Ploiesti recorded the first win of the season against Selymes’ ex-team, taking advantage of an error comitted by Patrascu, a midfielder with several years spent in Il Calcio, whose experience was expected to make a difference for Sportul. Obviously, to Sportul’s advantage…
  • The hot derby between Universitatea and CFR was won, as expected, by U’s fans, who travelled in numbers to Alba Iulia and offered an excellent show, hoping for a win after Niculescu’s sixth goal of the season, delivered from free-kick, as usual. Traore brought an equalizer and the two teams looked satisfied with the draw, a results which was on jeopardy only in the last 20 minutes, when Roberto De Zerbi came from the bench with appetite for football and a set of tricks that almost embarrassed the home team’s defense. Read more…

Who wants a coach like Dan Petrescu? Well, who doesn’t?

September 26, 2010 Leave a comment

His decision to leave Unirea Urziceni, after he managed to break Romania’s record of points collected by a club in the Champions League’s groups stage and ahead of a challenging double with Liverpool, was considered at least strange. And certainly money-orientated, as Kuban Krasnodar was ready to spend millions on wages and transfers, in its attempt to achieve promotion in Russia’s first division. My bet is that Petrescu knew what was going to happen to Unirea, felt disappointed by the Ferderation’s choice to appoint Razvan Lucescu in charge and would have have had a difficult time topping what he achieved with a small club, if he was to take over another Romanian team.

SuperDan, a top coach not just by Romanian standards. Photo from sportingnews.ro

Read more…

Shameful Cup exit for FC Vaslui, the latest “achievement” for Lopez Caro’s men

September 24, 2010 Leave a comment
  • The sixth round of the Romanian Cup was kicked off on Tuesday, with a commanding display from Rapid Bucharest, who should get credit for this results, considering the level of their opponents, Petrolul Ploiesti, currently leading in the second division, with four wins out of four, and a team packed with experienced players and some quality youngtsers. But Rapid looks well organized at the back and can fuel the front men from the wings with so many quality balls that the strikers’ names and form aren’t that important.
  • The shock result of the round came on Wednesday, when FC Vaslui lost the momentum gained in the last two league matches (4-0 against Otelul, 2-1, away, at Dinamo), losing in front of ALRO Slatina, a mediocre second division outfit. Lopez Caro, who was very close to find some peace after the latest results, is back in deep trouble, having fielded a strong enough team, which included the likes of Kuciak, Milanov, Adailton and Wesley. Read more…

Round 8 – results, scorers, highlights and standings

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment
  • The Brazilian playmaker Eric de Oliveira scored his eigth goal of the season and showed the way to victory for this impressive little team, brilliantly guided by Cristi Pustai. The former maths teacher fielder a striker-free first eleven, with the small attacking midfielders Eric and Muntean roaming around upfront, combining quickly and speculating the lack of pace and agility from Universitatea’s centre-backs.
  • Two teams in need of points grabbed vital wins, Victoria punishing Pandurii’s laid back atitude after their impressive win from the previous round, while Targu Mures produced the surprise of the round with a 2-1 away win against the champion club (the first win under new manager, Ioan Ovidiu Sabau), thanks to some terrible defending in the last 10 minutes and their most dangerous weapon: the ability to speculate set plays.
  • Rapid got a deceiving away draw against Universitatea, in a tensed match that the hosts could have won. Without Costin Lazar, the guests failed to produce the same number of goalscoring opportunities and needed a bit of help from the ref, who said “sorry” for a harsh red card shown to Ovidiu Herea (his second of the season!) awarding a bit later an imaginary penalty. Read more…

Leaders for a week, hard working players for the rest of the season – updated

September 20, 2010 1 comment

Otelul’s promising start of the season has just become magnificent. If Arles-Avignon had gained promotion in Ligue I last season, motivated by an article that tipped them for a quick return in the French third division pinned to the dressing-room wall, then Dorinel Munteanu should find useful this Top 5, even Steaua has one game in hand and will probably use it tonight, to top the standings.

Marius Stan, a man with an eye for young players and excellent deals

Now that you’ve seen this and have been busy watching real professional football since 2006,  when the club’s new ownership, Mittal Steel, was announcing its’ intent to build “a Romanian Chelsea” (a project Dan Petrescu was going to implement, in the meantime, with Unirea Urziceni, using though just a couple of million Euros), you might look at the standings and say “Now that’s an example of money well spent!”. Well, keep those words and use them even if the wealthy Lakshmi Mittal has invested in Otelul Galati less than a tenth of the fortune spent when his daughter got married. The club that was going to buy the cream of the crop in Romania and maybe even land several big names from abroad was left on a survival budget on the hands of the experienced Marius Stan. And the president did a wonderful job, proving his outstanding ability to spot and recruit players from the lower leagues, who went on to become regulars not just at club level, but also solutions for the youth national teams. Ok, he did worse when it came to signing players from abroad, his search for a top goalkeeper, for example, bringing in Liga I top “entertainers”, but even this ended last season, when Otelul landed for peanuts the consistent Branko Grahovac. Read more…

Round 7 – results, scorers, highlights and standings

September 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Universitatea Cluj – Gloria Bistrita 2-1 (Cl. Niculescu 41, Balde 68 / Ribeiro Moraes 50)
Rapid – CFR Cluj 2-0 (Cassio 58, 90)
Sportul Studentesc – Victoria Branesti 2-2 (T. Balan 1, Varga 10 pen / Olariu 21 pen, D. Popa 82)
Unirea Urziceni – Steaua 1-0 (Semedo 61)
FCM Targu Mures
– Gaz Metan Medias 1-0 (Fl. Dan 27)
Astra Ploiesti – FC Timisoara 1-1 (Fatay 55 / Helder 75)
FC Vaslui – Otelul Galati 4-0 (Adailton 9, 55, Wesley 29, Pouga 70)
Pandurii Targu Jiu
– Universitatea Craiova 3-1 (Orac 1, Apostu 23, 54 / V. Iliev 88)

Liga I - Standings

Next round (17-20 September): Gaz Metan Medias – Universitatea Cluj, Victoria Branesti – Pandurii Targu Jiu, Universitatea Craiova – Rapid, Otelul Galati – Unirea Urziceni, FC Timisoara – Sportul Studentesc, CFR Cluj – FCM Targu Mures, Dinamo – FC Vaslui, Gloria Bistrita – FC Brasov, Steaua – Astra Ploiesti.

Mandorlini gets the sack. Two days before CFR starts the Champions League campaign!

September 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Well, it’s bragging time on this blog, as Mandorlini becomes the second coach to have qualified CFR Cluj for the Champions League group stage and won’t get the chance to sit on the bench for at least one match. It happened to Ioan Andone and I expected this to happen to the Italian back in May (yes, I’m that good!), even though CFR was heading for a double they eventually snatched.

Sorin Cartu, ready to lay down the law

Mandorlini went into the game against Rapid having the backing of the board, but came out of it without points and with the team leaving the same impression: struggling to adjust to yet another tactical setup – a 4-1-4-1 this time -, lacking cohesion, determination and courage, sitting back and hoping that one of the players will create something out of the blue. Not the approach you’d want to see at the champion club, the club that had failed to send a single shot on goal against Universitatea Craiova, the club that felt humiliation against the newly promoted Sportul Studentesc. Read more…

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