Poli - Gloria Bistrita 3:1 (1:0)

It's never easy beating teams with good morale. It's even harder to win a match in which you offer your opponent unexpected gifts. Yet, Poli managed to get their collective hands on the three points of the day after an inspiring last ten minutes.

The match was well-balanced in the first half, especially until the white-violets scored. Popa had made an important save eighteen minutes into the game, before Karamyan's free-kick was pushed in goal by a Bistrita player (Dumitra). Soon after the goal in the 25th minute, Mansour could have made it two, but first Tatarusanu saved well and then the Senegalese missed the target from just ten meters.
The second half had only begun when Dancia whacked his leg across those of a Bistrita player in the penalty area and the away side levelled after Coroian scored from the spot. The match then took a turn for the worst, as Poli lost focus of its objective (put the ball past Tatarusanu) and Gloria was pleased to defend the result. Without any significant scoring opportunities, the match seemed to be heading for a draw, before Uhrin sent on Abiodun and Cristea for Aliuta and Mansour. First Torje fought hard on the right before crossing perfectly for Canu, whose header whistled past Romania's U-21 keeper Tatarusanu and ended up in the net - in the 80th minute. Just a few moments later, an excellent counter followed the route Dancia - Cristea - Abiodun and the Nigerian converted his chance with cold blood, making it 3-1 and wrapping up the win.

It might not have been an easy match, but the victory is a deserved one - even if a tad lucky. Unfortunately, both Rusic and Vrisc were unavailable tonight, the former's absence being caused by a nasty cold. Mansour - replacing Rusic - played a mediocre game, but at least he fought throughout the match for every ball available. The Australian duo of the night - McKain - Srhoj - did good, especially considering the fact that Jon is currently contested by both a part of the fans and the club's board, because he refuses to sign a new contract. However this affair will end, one thing is certain: McKain is an important first team player and he proved it again tonight. Artavazd Karamyan did decent, contributing to the first goal, but he was also caught off-side far too many times and his runs were less efficient than usual. His brother remained an unused substitute. The Nigerian right-winger Abiodun played an unusual position today as he replaced Aliuta in midfield, but he also managed to score his first league goal for Poli in just a few minutes of play! Certainly effective.

Well, that's that for the night. Here are the player ratings:
Popa (6) - Dancia (5), McKain (6), Canu (7), Stancu (6) - Karamyan (5,5), Aliuta (5,5), Srhoj (6), Torje (6) - Bucur (5), Mansour (5,5) with Abiodun (6), Cristea (6) and Radoi coming on for Aliuta, Mansour and Karamyan.

For match videos click here.

Next match: away against Universitatea Cluj.


Rusic Interview - violamania.ro

After I translated Dare Vrsic's interview last week, I got my hands today on an interview with Rusic, from violamania.ro. Here is what our striker has to say about Vrsic, himself and recent events.

He loves goals

Rusic’s secret? “I feel a mad passion for scoring”

The Slovenian Dejan Rusic (24 years old) was brought to Timisoara as an emergency option after Ganea’s suspension. Bought by Poli on the last day of transfer season, from Celje, Rusic showed his class immediately. He made an assist against UTA, despite playing only five minutes, then he scored two goals in the Championship against Vaslui and one in the Romanian Cup against Prefab Modelu (3-0).

Q: Dejan, it seems at first glance that you didn’t have many problems against Modelu.

DR: It was a difficult match, especially in the first half, but I am happy that we won. I am especially happy because I wanted to dedicate this success to Dare Vrsic, one of my best friends, who is going through some rough moments now. I hope he’ll recover soon as he is a quality player and the team needs him.

Q: Have you spoken with him?

DR: Yes, just five minutes ago I called him and he was miserable, although his girlfriend came to see him at the hospital (laughs). It’s his birthday too, hopefully he can forget some of his worries. I understood that he will stay until Monday in the hospital and according to the first signs of recovery, he might get his share of good news and he should be capable to restart training in a month.

Q: Now on to you. What’s the secret of your success?

DR: (laughs) There is no secret. I simply feel a mad passion for scoring goals. I think I manage to get along well with my team mates because we also have a special relationship off the pitch. I’ve befriended almost everyone. It’s been a quick adaptation.

Q: Was it as easy for you to score in Slovenia?
DR: Not at all! It was much harder scoring there! You don’t have any playmakers there in the midfield. Here it’s different, you get passes far easier. Still, I managed to score 8 goals in 15 matches in Slovenia last year. Pretty good.

Q: How do you relax after a match?

DR: I don’t have one specific method which I use every time. I either lie in bed and watch a film, or I read newspapers from Slovenia off the internet. I admit I also like playing on the computer. Especially strategy games, I wish I could play them non-stop. Sometimes I freak out when I realize I’ve been playing for 4 or 5 hours.

Q: Does your family follow your matches?

DR: Yes. Both my family and the Slovenian press closely follow my performances. My father was upset that he couldn’t watch me live, but I think he’ll be here for the match against Bistrita, together with my mother. To be frank, I won’t get nervous, because I’ve played with them in the crowd before.

Q: Any sign from the Slovenian national squad?

DR: No. I was just called once by someone from their staff because Vrsic wasn’t answering his phone. I told them he broke his leg and they seemed quite taken aback. I’ll await my chance and if my performances are good enough, they’re bound to call me up.


Happy birthday Dare Vrsic!

Born on the 26th of September 1984, Dare Vrsic reaches today the joyful age of 23.

All the best and a swift recovery!


Prefab Modelu - Poli 0:3 (0:0)

Poli went through to the next round of the Romanian Cup, after a not so simple win against second league team from Modelu, near Calarasi.

Dusan Uhrin Jr. sent a first eleven on the pitch comprised of several players who usually don't get past their substitute status and the initial forty five minutes were pretty well balanced. Poli came close to scoring through Arman Karamyan, but his shot just before half time was saved by goalie Ionut Curca. The second half on the other hand was well controlled by Poli, as the Prefab players started to trail physically. Nigerian winger Abiodun scored first, with a well placed header in the 62nd minute and just two minutes later, Poli went 2-0 up, as Rusic's shot from 14 meters managed to beat Curca. Torje then hit the post before Bucur, sent on in the last ten minutes, scored the third and final goal of the game to round off a decent performance by Poli.

Today's match saw five foreign players take on the Poli jersey: Abiodun, McKain, Srhoj, Arman Karamyan and Dejan Rusic. Obviously both Abiodun and Rusic did well by scoring, but Karamyan's performance was also praised by the radio commentators. Seeing how Poli didn't concede for the first time this season, McKain and Srhoj fared well with their defensive duties.

The next match: Poli - Gloria (Saturday, 29th of September).

P.S. I may well have to delay my next post, but no worries!


Vrsic Injury

Unfortunately, Vrsic's injury will keep him off the pitch for three months - so says the team doctor, after the Slovenian underwent a successful surgery this morning. This means he won't get to play this year any more, but he should be ok for the winter practice period.

The season restart is in March, if I'm not mistaking.


Dacia Mioveni - Poli 2:2 (1:0)

Some might call it an unexpected draw, but considering the way things went down Saturday evening at Mioveni, there will only be few people complaining about the end result - on our end.

While Poli seemed to control the game throughout its ninety minutes, it seemed for a long while that the home side would be leaving with all the points. They had opened the score in the 22nd minute, after a fine finish from defender Olteanu, could've scored two more times if Ratiu and Popa hadn't been careful and they scored again in the 60th minute, after Ratiu's blunder lead to an excellent finish by ex-Poli player Dan Balauru. But then, when few still thought it possible, Poli striked back! First, Rusic sent a visionary through pass to Bucur who finished eleganty past Stanca. Then, just a minute later (in the 80th), Torje struck a great goal from 25 meters, bringing the teams level again! Not much happend in the remaining minutes and ultimately the 2-2 draw suited us more than it did the home team.

On the foreign players, a few words. Rusic didn't excel today, he missed from a good position in the second half, but his pass to Bucur was well worth a goal. Vrsic had another lukewarm performance, with a free-kick on target saved by Stanca and a few good passes for the two forwards. Unfortunately, he sustained an injury which might keep him away from the pitch for a rather long time - no confirmation to this point, though. Artavazd Karamyan did decent, running the usual ups and downs on his left flank and then taking up a defensive position when duty called. Mansour came on for Latovlevici in the second half but - unsurprinsingly -ammounted to nothing. The rest, McKain, Srhoj and Abiodun were unused subs, while Arman Karamyan didn't make the team.

You can check Rusic's pass here.

Some ratings: Popa (6) - Latovlevici (5,5), Canu (6), Ratiu (5), Stancu (5,5) - Karamyan (6), Alexa (6), Vrsic (5,5), Torje (6,5) - Bucur (6), Rusic (5,5) with Mansour (5), Aliuta (5) and Dancia coming on for Latovlevici, Vrsic and Torje.

Next match: Tuesday's cup encounter against Prefab Modelu.

P.S. Vrsic out for at least two months with a leg injury. It's unlikely that he'll get to play any more this year.


Vrsic interview - ProSport

I took some time to translate yesterday's interview of Dare Vrsic from ProSport (national sports newspaper). It's an approximate translation at times, but the underlying thoughts reach the surface.

“I am dissatisfied with my game”

Used to a system with prolonged possession and positional attack, the Slovenian acknowledges he has yet to adapt to the fast paced style of play wanted by Dusan Uhrin Jr.

Having caught a first eleven spot after Plesan’s departure, Vrsic says that Poli will fight for all objectives as long as they are achievable, being up to now rather unimpressed by the Bucharest teams.

Q: Does the quality of your performances at Timisoara satisfy you?

DV: I’ll be frank, I’m not totally pleased with my game, I still have to adapt to this style of play. I’d rather the team played a bit more compactly, a game of possession. That would suit me more, then I’d be able to put my ability to better use.

Q: What makes you feel unease at the current system?

DV: Sometimes long balls are being overplayed, which does not fare well with my style, but I have to work and do my job. And the more we play the better we play, a more cohesive play, and I’m sure it’s only going to get better.

Q: Does the performance of Dejan Rusic surprise you?

DV: Rusic mainly needed luck, and he’s had his share of that. The most important thing is that it all turned out well and we won against Vaslui. I wish him all the best, to score as many “doubles” as possible, the same way he did in the last match.

Q: It’s positive for you that you’re being called up to the Slovenian National team, but how does that affect you physically?

DV: It’s very hard to play ninety minutes for the National side, then ninety minutes for the club, and you’ve also got the long trips you have to undertake, it’s pretty difficult for a young player to get used to that rhythm.

Q: What are the team’s ambitions for the away game at Mioveni?

DV: Our manager told us that nobody should be underestimated and we’re going into Saturday’s game thinking that. I’ve seen them a couple of times on TV and I think we shouldn’t have any problem winning if we don’t underestimate the opposition and give our best on the pitch.

Q: What did you think of Steaua – Rapid (ed.n: last Sunday’s big Bucharest derby) and the Bucharest teams?

DV: I’ve seen the match and it was as I expected it to be: a game with few goals and the end result of 0-0 confirmed my thoughts. As far as I can tell, the Bucharest teams play quality football, as does CFR Cluj. We – Poli – have to play at the same level as they do. We have to get better and ultimately end up before them in the league.

Q: Can you play for the title?

DV: Of course we can play for the title. We’ll fight to the end as long as we have the possibility to fulfil the objective.


The Cafe Meeting

I guess I am a bit disappointed that nobody had any questions to ask, but nevertheless the chat with Vrsic and Rusic was truly enjoyable. About thirty fans had gathered at the local bar Bierhaus (where these weekly encounters take place) by the time the two Slovenian internationals arrived, together with club's spokesman Levente Balint.

After a slow start, everything turned for the best when the players settled in to the warm atmosphere created by the group of supporters present, as the meeting took a friendlier spin. Both players are enjoying their time in Timisoara and have adapted well. Rusic especially was delighted by how easily he got used to the team and how much support he has received since joining Poli. Also, both acknowledged the big difference in quality between the Romanian first league and the Slovenian one, emphasizing the greater level of physicality shown here. When asked about their favorite teams, Vrsic said that he enjoys Italian football and especially AS Roma, while Rusic stated he is a fan of the British game, doubting however that it would be easy for him to the adapt there. The latter also hopes to be called up to the Slovenian national side as soon as possible - and may I add, if he keeps playing like this, it's just a matter of time.

The conversation then moved more rapidly between less factual issues, from tips for the upcoming matches against Bucharest rivals to things like what their favorite places in Timisoara are. All in all, it was a very pleasant experience, as Vrsic and Rusic were very open about most matters discussed and helped enhance the night's humorous tone.

This being said, I wish you a good week until my next post - which should be after Poli's Saturday match against Dacia Mioveni, which takes place at 18:45 local time.


Questions for Rusic and Vrsic

I'm glad to announce that at tomorrow's "Cafeneaua Sportiva" (something like Sport's Cafe) the two guests of the evening will be Dare Vrsic and Dejan Rusic, thanks to the lovely people organizing the event. I know it's short notice, but the news is as fresh as they get.

So if you have any questions you'd like to ask them, you can send them in as comments or just e-mail me at fcpolifan@yahoo.com. I think you can even send in questions in Slovenian, but I wouldn't guarantee you'd get answers for these, as it doesn't come down to me - but I'd do my best.

Please send in your questions by 17:00 tomorrow, +2 GMT (that's 16:00 CET, Slovenian time if I'm not mistaking).

I'll try to summarize anything interesting they say anyways.


Poli - Vaslui 2:1 (2:1)

It's always hard when you have to play against not only the other team, but also the referee, yet it is then when victory is so much sweeter. Sorin Corpodean, today's ref, is not at his first "performance" in the Romanian top league and it seems that he will continue to "perform" unhindered in the years to come, judging on the leniency of the decisions taken against him by the refereeing committee on past occasions. Still, it's football we wanted to watch this evening and it's football we got.

The match had barely started and Poli came into scoring positions twice, but both Torje and Rusic didn't manage to send the ball on target. While FC Vaslui was stacking up the corners at the other end, the white-violets were dangerous on counter-attacks. Then, in the 22nd minute, Alexa was fouled at about 25 meters from goal, Torje took the free-kick, hit in the post and Rusic pounced on the rebound, scoring for 1-0. Just a few minutes later though, Corpodean offered an easy penalty to the visitors who converted through Ljubinkovic. This unjustice didn't affect the players' morale as Poli kept pushing and their efforts were rewarded when Karamyan's corner-kick was headed into goal by the same Rusic, thereby making it 2-1!
After half-time, Poli took hold of the game and had two important scoring opportunities: first, Karamyan's shot was parried by Vaslui's goalie, Haisan, and a few minutes later Torje worked up a spectacular shot, which was just tipped over the bar by the Vaslui shot stopper. Dorinel Munteanu, player-manager of Vaslui and the most capped Romanian player, tried to force the attack but his long passes were generally easy targets for the Poli defense. As a matter of fact, the yellow-greens had no scoring real scoring chances throughout the match, as they never managed to convert the pressure they created. The match ended with the half-time score and it was a well deserved victory for Poli!

Today's foreign players were all active and played an important role in obtaining the three points. Artavazd Karamyan was all over the left flank and he reeked panic with most of his runs, while also adding an assist to his day's tally; Arman was on the bench. Dare Vrsic has still to have found his rhythm, but then again, few balls actually went via midfield to the strikers; a decent if unimpressive performance from him today. Rusic on the other hand was as incisive as strikers get, scoring two goals and setting up several dangerous plays. While he did commit a few blunders (especially a couple of lousy passes), I think it's safe to say he was the man of the match, closely followed by Gabriel Torje. John Wayne Srhoj came on in the last fifteen minutes and played very well, but his Australian team-mate (Jonathan McKain) remained on the bench, still recovering from an injury. Nigerian winger Abiodun and Senegalese striker Mansour also came on in the last few minutes of the game.

So here are the day's ratings: Popa (6) - Latovlevici (5,5), Canu (6,5), Ratiu (6), Stancu (6) - Karamyan (6,5), Vrsic (5,5), Alexa (6), Torje (6,5) - Bucur (6), Rusic (7) with Srhoj (6), Abiodun and Mansour coming on for Vrsic, Torje and Bucur.

Next match: away at Dacia Mioveni.

You can watch Rusic's first goal here and his second goal here.
There's a photo gallery on ProSport too. Feel free to check it out, you'll find pics of Rusic, Vrsic, Karamyan and several other players.

P.S. Sebastian Cojocnean and Florin Sandu from CS Otopeni have both signed three year long contracts with Poli, despite being wanted by Steaua Bucharest. They are both two of the most promising youngsters of their generation.


Friendly Report: Poli -Shakhtar Donetsk 1:1 (0:1)

A fine friendly took place between Poli and Shakthar on this pleasant Sunday afternoon (evening), despite the fact that several important players from both teams were away on international duty.

The match was well balanced throughout the ninety minutes, but it was easily noticeable that the Brazilian colony from Donetsk was truly able in controlling the ball and making it roll swiftly from A to B. The first goal of the match came quite early, as Jadson sent a scorcher towards Popa's goal from a distance of roughly 30 meters and the ball ended up in the net. Shaktar could have made it two several minutes later, first if Popa hadn't made a good save after a powerful close range shot and then if Canu hadn't hacked away Brandao's lob, which was heading for the empty goal. At the other end of the pitch, Cristea sent two free-kicks close to goal, Abiodun shot meekly at goalkeeper Virt, despite being in a good position, and Mansour seemed to have forgotten he actually had to part from the ball in order to score and wasted a good opportunity.
The second half was less spectacular than the first, but both teams could have scored at least one more time. Poli first equalized through Rusic, in the 70th minute, as the Slovenian headerd in an excellent cross coming from Dancia, but he later went on to miss an excellent chance, with the goalkeeper strayed off his line. Shakthar themselves had another shot parried by Popa in the last ten minutes of the game, and in the end the 1-1 draw rewared both teams' efforts in a fair manner.

Of the foreign players, it was obviously Rusic who came out shining once more. His performance was completely superior to that of fellow strikers Cristea and Mansour and his goal rounded off a good day for the Slovenian. Abiodun played well on the right, taking part actively in most offensive charges, but he was rather inefficient in converting the chances he had. The same thing can be said about Abiodun's countryman, Peter Omodumekue, who returned to the first team after helping out two matches at the club's second league "B" squad. The pleasant surprise of the match was John Srhoj, who proved that he is very well capable of taking Alexa's place, should the necessity arise. McKain's return on the pitch after recovering from an injury improved Poli's defence considerably and we can only hope the Australian will be in good shape for Friday's match against league leaders Vaslui.

So all things considered, it was a fine night for football, while the match also cleared up any uncertainties regarding the starting line-up.

Poli: Popa (6,5) - Stancu (6), Canu (6), Ratiu (5,5), Dancia (6) - Omoduemuke (5,5), Alexa (5,5), Srhoj (6), Abiodun (5,5) - Mansour (5), Cristea (5) with Caramarin coming on for Omoduemuke but suffering an injury just a few minutes later and being replaced by youngster Adrian Ganea (5), Rusic (6,5) for Mansour, McKain (6) for Ratiu, Radoi for Dancia and Ad. Popa for Cristea.

For videos from the match check out: http://www.prosport.ro/index.php?section=articole&screen=index&id=57903



A nice wallpaper featuring Dejan Rusic popped up on violamania.ro, thanks to some enthused fan (cheers!). Click here to get it.

You can find more wallpapers if you look through the pages of this thread: http://www.poli.tm.ro/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3673&start=0


The Monthly Schedule

Seeing how I try to be as organized as possible, I've decided to jot down something that might resemble a monthly posting schedule, so that anyone interested in a "long term relationship" knows exactly what to expect and when to expect it (especially our Slovenian friends, who seem to have taken up an interest in their countrymen Vrsic and Rusic).

  • about one or two days after the match day (perhaps even three, if I can't watch the match live, once I'm back in the UK) there'll be a match report, with player ratings and a special focus on foreign players and their performance;
  • occasionally, there'll be unannounced news bits during the week, if I deem it significant enough to bother with them; there's a lot of ga-ga floating about, as far as I'm concerned;
  • at the end of the month, I'll look back at the golden days that have passed and do a swift wrap up; I plan to also present the monthly performances of the foreign players;
  • I thought of inserting a "Nostalgia Check" every once in a while - that is a descriptive piece on something regarding Politehnica's history, so that the non-fans around might become curious enough to check up on the team more often; (but don't bet on it happening, at this point)

Of course, all these except for the first depend on visitor numbers, so the more people come and check out this blog, the more enthused I will be about writing stuff. I doubt these will increase very soon, as the international profile of Poli is rather low, but one never ceases to hope!

Many thanks to you all for your time and presence.

Forza Viola!


UTA - Poli 2:3 (1:2)

You have to adore these victories against arch-rivals! They always bring back memories you wish you'd have forgotten. At 2-2, immediately after half-time (after Poli was 2-0 up in the 12th minute), my thoughts drifted (violently) towards a match from a few years back, when Poli had scored in the first minute and was 1-0 up. By half-time, the score had become 2-0 and things seemed rather done and over. But then UTA came back and managed to draw again, before Poli scored one more to make it 3-2. I vividly remember jolting up from my seat when UTA equalized again and swearing my lungs out, walking up the stairs in order to leave the stadium. And while I was leaving, they scored again and it was 3-4, with me feeling as if I had awoken that morning into a horrid nightmare.

Well, yesterday's match was about as good of a revenge as they get. Bucur's quickfire double in the 4th and 12th minutes gave everyone the impression the match would be a walk in the park, but errors from Poli's defence increased the confidence level of the home team. While Popa was on form, it proved insufficient, as Ratiu decided it might as well have been his day off, and after a misunderstanding with the goalie, a rebound found Todea at the edge of the area with an empty goal - and he didn't miss. Poli managed to hold on to the result until half-time, especially due to a great Popa save, but as soon as the second half started, a counter-attack found Baltoi in the area, who slotted the ball. UTA could have then scored two or three more, but their inability to convert and obsession to the dive in the penalty box lead to no change whatsoever. On the other side, Poli had two important scoring opportunities, but Karamyan's shot hit the post and someone's (hmmm) finish from the right was saved off the line by a defender. Then, in the 80th minute, Latovlevici showed Varga in the box at what was the only real obstruction in the area against UTA, but referee Serea - probably sick of all the dives - decided to wave away the protests.
And now comes the sweet part of revenge: newly transferred Rusic came on five minutes before time and tried "bulldozering" his way through the Arad defence, serving Bucur with a nifty pass in the area while pressured by three UTA defenders, but the day's goalscoarer was off-side. Then, in the 90th minute, a quick counter by Poli and a divine pass from the same Rusic found Bucur free of all defenders and as he raged towards Hutan's goal I was on my knees praying to whoever was listening, just before starting an obnoxiously loud yell of outrageous joy, when the ball passed the Arad goalie and ended up into the net! The beauty of it all is what makes football worth living for.

Still, there's a lot left to do, especially in terms of defending. Hopefully Canu's and McKain's returns will make things more secure at the back, but there's still a question of who should play on the left. Neither Dancia, nor Latovlevici are that exciting. Up forward though, things seem to have just gotten better, as Poli announced the signing of 24-year old Halenar, from Artmedia Bratislava, who can boast with a hattrick against Celtic and 52 goals in 163 matches.

Of the foreign players who came on against UTA, no one was really impressive (except for the short-lived Rusic). Karamyan had a rather bad day with few achievements - but even that isn't too bad, considering his usual "output level" - , Abiodun came on in the second half and did little, Srhoj managed to somewhat strengthened the defense when he replaced Luchin, and Vrsic just didn't really get his game going yet - at all.

So here are the majestic 14: Popa (6,5) - Latovlevici (5), Luchin (5), Ratiu (5), Stancu (5,5) - Karamyan (6), Alexa (6), Vrsic (5), Torje (5,5) - Mansour (5), Bucur (8,5); Srhoj (6) replaced Luchin, Abiodun (5,5) replaced Torje and Rusic replaced Mansour.

P.S. Halenar's transfer seems far from resolved. Truly, Sadly, Deeply.