Baraj fails to protect from flooding

Last Sunday saw the second leg of the baraj, the play-off to determine whether current Liga I side FC Voluntari, or the Liga II play-off winners UTA Bătrâna Doamnă, would take part in next season’s Romanian top flight. With Voluntari 3-0 up from the first leg, there seemed little chance that the phoenix club from the far west of the country could come back and win the tie.

And, after heavy rainfall an hour or so before the game, the state of the pitch at the Motorul stadium in Arad eliminated any prospect that the underdogs could triumph, thus rather spoiling my justification for writing this piece on the history of UTA. (Pictures below from the excellent and comprehensive site liga2.prosport.ro.)

arad2 arad

Ground staff, stewards, officials and even players joined in to try to mop up the water, using sponges, towels, spare shirts, pennants: anything that came to hand. Kick-off was delayed by 25 minutes. Even though the home team won 1-0 with a late goal, it was nowhere near enough to dislodge the incumbent from the top division, and UTA manager Roland Nagy’s 45th birthday was a thoroughly soggy affair. You’ll have to just read about this club’s past and dream of what might have been…

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