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