It’s been official for a couple of days now, but that doesn’t mean anything in Romania, as definitive sentences have been more than once revoked. It didn’t happen for Pandurii Targu Jiu, though, who
failed refused to find an agreement with Dinamo over an unpaid debt and has not been scheduled for what was supposed to be the first official match of the year. A much anticipated one, considering that the visitors were the league leaders Otelul Galati, a team nobody wants to see in the same spot, at the end of the season.
Media attacks followed, with most of the other title contenders stating that this was a clever way to fix a match, especially after Pandurii’s boss revealed that the club refused to pay, being trapped between two decisions: the Football Professional League forces them to pay for a transfer that has been considered void in a civil court, while the authorities have warned the club that it’s illegal to pay for something that hasn’t been done by the law.
The fact is that Pandurii lost 0-3 tonight’s game with Otelul and there are big question marks about what’s going to happen, as this case might get very ugly and affect more than the current season. Pandurii’s next match is against Dinamo and Condescu says that paying that money now would only confirm that they had refused to play with Otelul and favor the leaders. But I doubt that they’ll be sticking with this decision and accept to go down without a fight. Let’s not forget that we’re talking about the club that should have gone down twice in recent years, but managed to find a way to keep their Liga I place even when they finished the season below the line…
This club should have been playing in the second division, based on last season’s results, but yet another compromise from the Professional League allowed Pandurii to take International’s place, following a deal that saw numerous players, plus the technical staff to move from Curtea de Arges to Targu Jiu. 10 rounds gone and this “2 in 1” team occupies the last place in the standings, with just one win out of ten games, already 5 points away from the 14th place that guarantees salvation, of course, unless Pandurii will find another way to dribble through the so called laws of the game.
The two weeks break was make or break time for the board, who decided to release the young & promising Ionut Badea – who was linked with a job at Dinamo, in spite of his position in the standings! – and handed over the team to a more experienced coach like Petre Grigoras. Known for his ability to make his teams play attractive football, Grigoras comes after a difficult period, as he had to stay away from the game for medical reasons, and takes over one of the ugliest teams in the league. Pandurii were a tough nut to crack especially under CFR’s current coach, Sorin Cartu, nicknamed Sorinaccio for his ultra-defensive style, and Grigoras will be seriously tested by a roster divided in two groups of players: those who had played for Pandurii last season and the 16 that came this summer, from International.
The new coach will get to know the team in a five days training camp in Antalya, with the exception of two central defenders, Chiriches (selected in Romania’s U21) and Viera (called-up for Cote d’Ivoire’s match in Burundi), and has the biggest challenge in getting the team’s strikers in shape, as only Apostu scored so far (a brace, in Pandurii’s single win of the season), with the likes of Stromajer, Adrian Iordache and Antohi looking useless, unable to take advantage of a decent midfield, which contains decent players like Voiculet, Ilie Iordache, Orac and Bacila.
Pick: DNB: FC Vaslui @ 1.74 (Gamebookers)
A regional derby, between two teams in need of points. Poli started the year pretty well, but underperformed last weekend, getting a very lucky away draw against Astra Ploiesti, while FC Vaslui will be looking to bounce back from the ugly defeat suffered at home against Gloria Bistrita. The pressure is on Vaslui and their coach, Marius Lacatus, who is expecting a vote of confidence from his players. Reasons for this pick:
- Vaslui has a superior roster. The first games in 2010 have been rather disappointing, but the amount of quality players available at FC Vaslui is impressive. Especially in attack, where Gerlem, Wesley, Costly or Burdujan are proven players, but have failed to click for some reason, so coach Lacatus could try and leave out one of two from the first eleven, to gain some balance and not have so many possible match winners looking for the killer punch all the time. Read more…