A loss is always heavy if you aim at anything but drifting in the uninteresting part of the league table, but it's even heavier when it comes in a match against the second last team, over whom you had a one man advantage for twenty minutes.
The match could've started differently than it did, as Artavazd Karamyan missed a great chance in the first few minutes of the game. Poli kept pressuring, but at the first chance the home side got, they scored, as Costea went past McKain a finished the move off with a well placed shot. Our team didn't lessen the pressure, and Bucur came close to scoring as his header went over the bar, while the same Karamyan hit the post before half-time.
The second half started on the same note, but Poli's domination didn't amount to any actual scoring opportunities - surely, the terrible pitch conditions and Rusic's hideous form had their role to play. In the end though, the efforts seemed to pay off, as Barboianu was sent off for an ugly foul against Bucur, just before Bucur managed to score a splendid goal from outside the penalty area to bring the scores level! The happiness (if it can be called so) was short lived though, because Australian striker Michael Baird put the home side back in front a few minutes later, with a well placed header following a Wobay free-kick. Poli could've still pegged back, but Cristea failed to place his header on target and the match ended in a disappointing loss.
As I've already mentioned, Rusic's performance of the day was dismaying, as the Slovenian loss a lot of good balls and barely put together any useful passes. Artavazd Karamyan played well, but he could've and should've scored at his opportunity in the fourth minute, as well as at his one on one against Bornescu. His brother made his debut for Poli in the league, but Arman did nothing worth noting, except perhaps sending a weak header at Bornescu's goal. McKain had a decent day, although his slip-up at the first goal cost us dearly, but he kept well composed throughout the rest of the match. Perhaps the only pleasant surprise was Abiodun's performance, as the Nigerian did very well as a defensive midfielder, although that is not his natural playing position.
Of course, the loss today isn't a tragedy, as the team is still on target as far as its objectives are concerned, but the same weak spots keep plaguing an otherwise solid first eleven at Poli: the defense and the 2nd striker. Surely, if all goes well in the next round against Steaua, today's mis-step will be forgotten, but that "if" is a hell of a long word.
Poli: Popa (5) - Dancia (5,5), McKain (5,5), Radoi (5,5), Stancu (4,5) - Artavazd Karamyan (5,5), Abiodun (6), Aliuta (5,5), Torje (5) - Bucur (6), Rusic (4,5) with Arman Karamyan (5), Cristea (5) and Mansour coming on for Aliuta, Bucur and Torje.
Watch today's goals here.