I hate the rain, especially when it interferes with the successful practice of football. It might not have damaged the show as much as referee Kovacs did, but it surely scared the hell out of the fans, who appeared in the lower thousands at the stadium. But the ones who decided against coming to see Poli missed out on a very decent footballing turnout.
With Vrsic taking over Plesan's role in the first eleven, the white-violet team needed only around five minutes to change the score line: Karamyan sent a long corner to Alexa, who headed the ball back to Bucur, the latter scoring easily with another header. The advantage lasted only a few minutes though, as Kovacs decided to award a penalty for the visitors, after Abiodun's rather loose (but not necessarily reproachable) tackle against Constant Djapka; Ilie Iordache scored and the teams were level again. Several minutes later, Pandurii goalkeeper Adnan Guso tipped a ball over the post with an excellent save. Poli proved dangerous with every corner kick, John Wayne Srhoj missing two golden opportunities to bring the Timisoara team back in front. It was Ionel Ganea who managed this feat in the 42nd minute, as he gently redirected a fine Karamyan cross into Guso's goal. The half-time advantage permitted the Poli players to approach the next forty-five minutes with more confidence and as such, in just the 50th minute, Bucur scored his second of the night, with a well placed shot from just outside the penalty area. Two goals down, Pandurii struggled to keep up and occasionally proved capable of playing football to a high level, but it just wasn't enough, as neither of the three (more) dangerous long shots directed towards Popa's goal actually hit the target. On the other hand, Poli could have made it four, if Torje had crossed on an excellent counter-attack rather than shoot at Guso. As the final whistle approached, Ganea saw a second yellow card and was sent off, thereby missing the difficult match against Unirea Urziceni next Friday.
Uhrin's aggressive style will surely need to be adapted to the Romanian style of refereeing, as the man with the whistle (Kovacs) highlighted yesterday what kind of physical contact is deemed correct and what not - let me just say, I've always had the feeling our refs were under the impression that a bunch of old women suffering of osteoporosis were playing the sport, not 25-year old professional sportsmen. While Kovacs managed to upset both sides, it is football as such which has to lose the most if a ref can't take the whistle out of his mouth.