Rumored Players

Although there have been no new confirmed signings, a few names have been mentioned several times in connection with a move to Poli. These are Jorge Riberio of Boavista, Cosmin Contra of Getafe and Cristian Lucchetti of Banfield.

Of the three, Ribeiro seems the most probable to be transferred, as Contra's situation isn't very clear and Lucchetti has only been suggested to the club in order to create some competition in goal. Also, Steaua's Valentin Badoi should join the club if he solves his disputes with the white-blue's management, in what seems poised to become another great melodrama of Romanian football.

That's all for now.


Merry Christmas!

Just wanted to wish everyone around a great Christmas on my behalf! May all your wishes come true - as long as they don't involve anything against Poli or sadomasochistic stuff like that - and I hope to greet you just as merrily in a year from now.

If anything occurs these few days, I'll still be around to report on it, so you can all sleep light and tight, without worrying about it. I'm sure this just took a heavy load off your chests, so I'll leave you with that thought, for now. Merry Christmas!


The First Two Signings

The already mentioned Milos Brezinsky (Sparta Prague, on loan from Slovan Liberec) and Artmedia Brasilava's Balazs Borbely will sign five year contracts with Poli, according to club director Gheorghe Chivorchian. The rumored transfer sum is of 2,000,000 US Dollars for both of them.


The 1,92 m defender is currently on loan at Sparta Prgue from Slovan Liberec and the rumored transfer fee is of 800.000 Euro. He has played 17 matches this season for the Czech champions.

2007-08Sparta PragaCZA110
2006-07Slovan LiberecCZA111
2006-07Mladá BoleslavCZA81
2005-06Mladá BoleslavCZA190
2004-05Rimavska SobotaSKA100
2003-04Slovan LiberecCZA10
2002-03Slovan LiberecCZA00
GP= Games Played; GS= Goals Scored; CZ= Czech Republic; SK = Slovakia; On loan
The Slovakian international born on the 2nd of October 1979 was loaned to Kaiserslautern for two years before returning to Artmedia this season. He is 1,82 meters tall and weighs 76 kilos.

2006-07FC KaiserslauternDB131
2005-06FC KaiserslauternDA80
1999-00Dunajská StredaSKA--
1998-99Dunajská StredaSKB--
GP= Games Played; GS= Goals Scored; D= Germany; SK = Slovakia; On loan
P.S. The most interesting bit of news I've left for last: Liverani of Fiorentina is a rumored target of the club these days. Seems an unlikely transfer, but it's nonetheless exciting.


Poli - CFR Cluj 1:0 (0:0)

Finally, a grand victory against a more than matching opponent! Even more importantly, it gives us all reasons to look forward to the future and keeps everyone's hopes for a podium finish alive.

Leaders CFR Cluj had obviously come to Timisoara to win and they didn't shy away from showing it: Panin came close to scoring early on, Fabbiani then had his cross well blocked by Canu, Trica hit the post from a free-kick and CFR's Argentinian striker came close again, when Popa managed to save his well placed shot. Poli had only managed to match their adversaries in terms of control, but the scoring opportunities were lacking. Karamyan tried many crosses from decent set pieces, but most of them were poor and didn't find their targets, while Torje sent two long shots at goal, with no effect on the scoreline however.
The second half started in a more decent manner, as Poli got closer to scoring. Rusic and Canu didn't manage to convert two corner kicks, as CFR's goalie Nuno Claro was well placed. CFR were still dangerous, but young Pantilimon - who replaced Marius Popa at half time, injured - made two good saves in very dangerous situations. Fact is though, that while Poli had levelled the match in terms of quality, it didn't really seem as if they'd score, mainly because the midfield lacked creativity. But then, in the last five minutes, Marian Aliuta was sent on the pitch instead of Abiodun, the ex-Iraklis playmaker being the decisive force in the match: he received a ball on the right flank, stormed towards the centre, dribbling three CFR players on the way, and then smashed the ball diagonally, above Nuno Claro, but low enough to find the goal and make it 1:0! The derby ended with this score, CFR have lost their first match of the season in the last match of the year.

The excellent defensive performance of Luchin, Canu, McKain and even Latovlevici was key to Poli's win today. Of the foreigners. Abiodun did well in defense, but contributed too little in creating scoring opportunities; Artiom Karamyan wasn't particularly in form; Rusic was quite elusive as well, sending no shots at goal whatsoever. Dusan Uhrin's tactical decisions have to be praised too, as he did not make any compromises in choosing his first eleven and was extremely inspired in sending Aliuta on the pitch when it really mattered.

So now it's all about to president Iancu and his investments to ensure Mr. Uhrin's success in the rest of the season. It will certainly be an interesting winter break.

Poli: Popa (6,5) - Latovlevici (5,5), McKain (6), Canu (6,5), Luchin (6,5) - Karamyan (5,5), Alexa (6,5), Abiodun (6), Stancu (5,5) - Torje (5,5), Rusic (5) with Pantilimon (6,5), Aliuta and Cristea coming on for Popa, Abiodun and Torje.

You can watch the goal here and other match highlights here.


Artiom's suspension reduced to one match!

Which means that the Armenian midfielder will be available for Sunday's derby against CFR.


Poli Iasi - Poli 2:1 (1:0)

And here we go again. Terrible first half, several blunders by Uhrin in the first eleven and another gifted goal in the second half, lead to a new defeat at the hands of a relegation battler.

With the horrendous Aliuta on pitch from the match debut, with Ratiu in defense and McKain as defensive midfielder, there is little else that could have gone worse for Poli. The home side scored in the 10th minute, when Balba got free of the central defenders, dribbled Popa and finished rather easily. And then...well, not much happened until the half time whistle, as Iasi defended and Poli did nothing. With Torje on the pitch in the second half, things were going much much better, and the white violets equalized 52nd minute after a flowing move which was initiated by the young U21 international, then went via Arman Karamyan to Gigel Bucur, who beautifully advanced with the ball and then crossed to Rusic, who only had to push the ball over the line. Good things seem to last only for a short while nowadays in Poli's case, as the home side went ahead once more after a free-kick found Kalai unbelievably unchallenged a few meters away from goal - and you can imagine the rest of this chapter. Bucur then had a huge chance, but he didn't manage to convert a one-on-one with Branet and Rusic's and Torje's shots both went close to goal, but not close enough. The final minutes found the white-violets defending, so as to conclude another lousy, lousy afternoon.

Uhrin's mistakes aside, the team played very poorly in the first half, even for its latest standards. Arman Karamyan didn't quite complement his brother's absence, but he did decently, while Rusic's goal and some good passes by him saved his skin. But Abiodun's error at the second goal and McKain's poor performance in midfield cost the team dearly.

Sometimes, one can only hope things will be better one day - and this is exactly the case.

Poli: Popa (5) - Latovlevici (5), Ratiu (5), Canu (5,5), Stancu (5) - Arman Karamyan (5,5), Aliuta (4), McKain (5), Abiodun (4,5) - Bucur (6), Rusic (6) with Torje (6) and Cristea coming on for Aliuta and Latovlevici.

Today's goals here.

Next match: at home against leaders CFR Cluj, Sunday the 16th if I'm not mistaken.


Romanian Cup: Gloria Buzau - Poli 7-5 (2-2, 1:1, 0:0)

Yet another humiliating loss at the hands of Gloria Buzau occured today, as Poli were unable to keep focused when it mattered and lost out on penalties.

Stancu scored the first goal after Artiom Karamyan had hit the post in the second half, but the white-violets conceded one after a free-kick and a mess in the penalty area, from which Litu managed to equalize in the 92 minute.

Buzau were awarded a penalty in the second half of injury time and Bunica scored, after which Karamyan and a player of the home side got sent off (Karamyan will not be present in the final two matches of the season, against Poli Iasi and CFR Cluj). Yet, Poli managed to peg back through the same Stancu, whose shot from 17 meters clipped the post and ended up in goal.

At the shoot-out, Bucur's effort was saved, and despite Alexa, Ratiu and Radoi converting, it was Buzau who came through to the next round.

Not much too say after this splendind achievement, but that some players should seriously consider looking for a new club this winter.


Farul - Poli 1:1 (0:0)

It's extremely painful when you have to watch your favourite team play as badly as Poli did today.

After a lackluster first half, in which only McKain's header was worth noting (and which I did not see, luckily I'd say) Farul came out more determined for the last forty five minutes. After mounting the pressure on Popa's goal, the inevitable happened when Nanu converted a good cross by Maxim to make it 1-0. Poli's response to the goal was inexistent and but for Artiom Karamyan's shot that was saved by Curca, no scoring chance whatsoever occured until the 89th minute. Then, in a moment of God knows what, Farul's Todoran sent a backpass that found the same old Karamyan, who easily converted the one on one with Curca to draw level. The match ended in an unfair 1-1, Poli having earned a completely unhoped for and unmerited point after a horrendous performance.

It was once again Artiom Karamyan who played the best football for Poli, running up and down the flank in his usual fashion. Although his crosses didn't really find their target, he was still better than any other of the white-violets. McKain did a decent job, as did Rusic, who came on in the second half for a disappointing Mansour. Srhoj suffered an injury rather early on and needed to be substituted, while Abiodun and Arman Karamyan (substituted Latovlevici towards the end of the match) worked hard, but achieved little.

Poli: Popa (6) - Latovlevici (5), McKain (5,5), Canu (5,5), Stancu (4,5) - Karamyan (6,5), Abiodun (5,5), Alexa (5,5), Srhoj - Bucur (5), Mansour (5) with Torje (5,5), Rusic (5,5) and Karamyan coming on for Srhoj, Mansour and Latovlevici.

Match goals here.

With three more matches to go, there is little to be done now about the poor level of performance of many players in the team. Hopefully Uhrin will know how to "weed out all non-hackers who do not pack the gear to serve" in our beloved team.


The Rumor Mill

According to GSP, Poli is close to signing Slovakian International Miloš Brezinský. The 1,92 m defender is currently on loan at Sparta Prgue from Slovan Liberec and the rumored transfer fee is of 800.000 Euro. He has played 15 matches this season for the Czech champions.

Some data as of 01.12.2007.
2007-08Sparta PragueCZA100
2006-07Slovan LiberecCZA111
2006-07Mladá BoleslavCZA81
2005-06Mladá BoleslavCZA190
2004-05Rimavska SobotaSKA100
2003-04Slovan LiberecCZA10
2002-03Slovan LiberecCZA00
Career Totals:552
GP= Games Played; GS= Goals Scored; CZ= Czech Republic; SK = Slovakia; On loan

Also, Halenar is still a Poli target, but his arrival is in no way certain at this time.