Universitatea Craiova won the cup final 2-0 against AFC Hermannstadt, in front of an impressive 30,000-strong crowd at Bucharest’s national stadium. It is Craiova’s first trophy for 23 years. (Or, if you don’t consider it to be the same club since it was re-founded in 2013, their first ever!)
Having just won the Liga 1 title, Dan Petrescu has said goodbye to CFR Cluj Continue reading →
As an acknowledged expert on the arcane and bewildering world of Romanian football, people often stop me in the street to ask me questions, such as “Do you speak English?” or “How do I get to the metro station?” I don’t mind; it comes with the territory. This week, I’ll address a question on the blog, and perhaps it can become a regular feature.
In the Derby of the Romanians Who English Football-Watchers Have Heard Of, last Sunday evening Dan Petrescu’s CFR Cluj held their nerve to beat Gheorghe Hagi’s Viitorul 1-0, denying second-place FCSB (who beat Astra by the same score at the same time) any chance to pip them to the Liga 1 title. With CFR taking the only Champions League spot, FCSB, Craiova and Viitorul will all go into the Europa League qualifying rounds this summer. Meanwhile next Sunday’s Romanian Cup final will pit a resurgent Universitatea Craiova, who finished third, against Liga 2 runners-up Hermannstadt. Even if the underdogs win the cup, Sibiu’s finest will have no European adventure next season since they didn’t apply for a UEFA licence.
So, today’s question comes from loyal reader G.B., of Pipera: “Why don’t Steaua ever win anything any more?” Continue reading →
The British football monthly When Saturday Comes runs a feature in the back, where they review a season from times gone by and track what has happened since then to selected teams and individuals. I thought it would be fun to do that for the Romanian league. Let’s see if I’m right. Cast your mind back to a time when the iPhone was brand new, Avril Lavigne was a superstar, and the USA had its stupidest ever president… up to that point… Continue reading →
It’s Romania’s National Day, my family are away, and Voluntari are playing the league leaders at home. This has the makings of a day to be frittered away watching military parades, reading about football on the internet, and getting drizzled on near some mediocre sport. Continue reading →
My second Academia Rapid home game – again well attended, but seriously lacking in quality and notable mainly for the appearance of the much-loved 40-year-old striker Daniel Pancu, is detailed here.
Excitingly, Romaniaballs also paid a visit to second-division MetaloglobusBucurești in far-off Pantelimon. Field notes here.
Direct your mouse pointer or index finger to the “I was here” section on the menu if you want more whimsical, inaccurate match ‘reports’. And who doesn’t?
In other good news for the old guys, 39-year-old BogdanLobonț showed the strength in depth of Romanian goalkeeping by being named in the provisional squad for the national team’s World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Denmark. “Lobby”, a former team-mate of Pancu’s at Rapid, before going on to play for Ajax and later Dinamo, won 85 caps between 1998 and 2013. He is now in his ninth season at AS Roma, where he has made the grand total of 22 competitive appearances for the club. This man, who was the oldest member of the squad when he last featured for Romania in 2013, is apparently still considered the country’s fourth-best goalkeeper four years later, despite not having played a competitive match at all during the intervening time.
The squad was selected the day before Christoph Daum’s successor as national team boss, Cosmin Contra, started work at the federation. The qualifiers, incidentally, are dead rubbers, since Romania can no longer qualify for Russia 2018. The club Contra has just left, Dinamo, have appointed Chiajna coach Vasile Miriuță to replace him; they have lost to FCSB and Chiajna in the week since then and the Pit is not a happy place. The team Miriuță coached last season, CFR Cluj, now under Dan Petrescu, are still top of the table and going strong.