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.