A Last Transfer

Tiberiu Balan, of Sportul Studentesc, has joined Poli on loan until the end of the season. The 27 year old midfielder has been capped six times at international level for Romania, but his last two seasons were plagued with injuries. Being a player of high quality, if he manages return to his previous form, there is no doubt as to whether the team will need him or not.

On another note, it has been brought to my attention that Jonathan McKain signed with Wellington Phoenix, a New Zealand based team. It's good to see players of some integrity still exist, McKain having promised that he would only leave Poli for a foreign team - which he did. It's too bad that it happened under these circumstances, but surely, there is always more behind things than we can see.


Vrsic's Return...

...should take place in about a month from now! Just wanted to let you all know about the Dare's statement on the club's official website, www.politimisoara.com.


Pandurii - Poli 1:3 (0:1)

Finally football again, and what a sweet pay-off for the months of "abstinence"! Poli controlled the match well against lowly Pandurii, but more than that, they kept focused throughout most of the game and won it convincingly.

Barely had the referee whistled the debut of the first half that Karamyan and Ganea came close to opening the score. It was however Bucur who did it in the 20th minute, after a Karamyan free-kick was punched to him by Pandurii's goalkeeper, Mingote! Aliuta then stretched the keeper with a long-shot, before Luchin, Karamyan and Bucur were all denied within one minute by the home side's Portuguese goalie.
After half-time, our side's efficiency increased. Just five minutes after the break, Abiodun received a great pass from Borbely, dribbled the goalkeeper and finished easily for 2:0. After Luchin's missed header a few minutes later, it was Borbely's turn to score, who sent a scorcher from thirty meters which hit the post and went in! While Pandurii managed to peg one back through Piturca, it was not enough for them to truly challenge Poli's win - which would have actually been by an even larger margin, had Popovici managed to convert the fine counter-attack lead by Aliuta, in the game's dying minutes.

Poli: Popa (6) - Milhazes (6), Brezinsky (6), Luchin (6,5), Badoi (6) -Art. Karamyan (6), Aliuta (6), Borbely (7), Abiodun (6,5) - Bucur (6), Ganea (6); Arman Karamyan, Popovici and Axente came on for Artavazd Karamyan, Bucur si Abiodun.

You can watch Bucur's goal here, Abiodun's here and Borbely's here.

So a great match to hit it off, which leaves room for hope! However, given Pandurii's poor quality of football, the level of our own potential remains in doubt, at least until next week's match against Unirea Urziceni.


Borbely Interview

In what is obviously an excess of spare time, I've come to translate another interview, this time with the Slovakian international Balasz Borbely. It was published in Gazeta Sporturilor.

"I'm Ready!"

R: Balasz, does Poli have, at this time, a team capable of playing in the European Cups?

B: It's hard to tell now, because I haven't seen the other teams in the league play yet. I do know for certain though that we have high quality players.

R: You've played in the Champions League. What does a football player feel when he reaches that level?

B: It's hard to describe in words, you have to experience such a match from the pitch. Everybody knows what games in the Champions League mean. It's too early to talk about Poli and the Champions League in the same sentence. We have to approach each match at a time and stay focused. Who knows what the next year will bring?

R: Your first match is the one against Pandurii. Are you ready?

B: Yes, Im ready. I don't have any problems whatsoever now. I'm totally prepared. The first game is always the most difficult one, but it all comes down to us. We don't know them very well, but we'll probably watch more tapes until Sunday.

R: How is Timisoara?

B: It's even more beautiful than Bratislava! I often walk around the city and I see many young people, students, who - I believe - like football a lot. I have everything I need here to be calm and keep concentrated just on football.

R: Poli suffered plentiful in defense, in the first part of the season.

B: Yes, I've heard of that. Perhaps we still need a bit of time. The defensive play has to involve the whole team and that's what we all need to understand. I believe however that it will be much better, because we have a manager who involves himself a lot in order to improve this situation.

R: Have you made any friends at Poli?

B: I get along very well with "Lionel" Ganea. I've talked to him and he helped me get integrated quickly. As he's played in Germany, it was much easier for us to communicate. "Lionel" is always up to something, but he's a great guy.

And here is a picture of the five winter transfers.

Photo: Istvan Sasz, Prosport


A Karamyan Brothers Interview

I've been rather quiet of late, for which I apologize. In order to make up for it, I've translated a recent interview with Artiom and Arman Karamyan (taken by Vali Silaghi, of ProSport), who donated US$ 8,000 to a children's hospice a few days ago.

R: How did you come to think of of donating money to the children's hospice?

Ks: When it's about children, we think that we need to help if we can and I don't want to talk more about this, we are happy we could do it, all three of us (note: obviously referring to their brother who is, if I'm not mistaking, their agent/manager). We are glad we could do a good thing for them and we wish them to be healthy and happy. We promise to also help out in the future, wherever there is need.

R: What are your expectations for the rest of the season?

Ks: I am worried about the weather, it might snow or the pitch might be frozen, which is not good. Anyway, we have to play and it's important to win matches, in order to reach the European cups.

R: Several teams claim they want the title...

Ks: We aren't interested in who says what, for us all that matters is winning the next match, Sunday at 18:30.

R: On which position do you think the team can end the season?

Ks: I don't want to guess now, it's important to win every match and be serious in everything we do.

R: Politehnica President Marian Iancu claims he wants at least eight points in the next four rounds...

Ks: I think we need to win all matches, and I'd also want us to win away, against Rapid. I'm not saying this to irritate the players there, I've spent two and a half years at Rapid, I feel at home, but a win for us there would be very important.

R: Is Poli better now, compared to the first part of the season?

Ks: You will see it when the season restarts. We mainly wish for the weather to be on our side, because you saw what happened at Novi Sad, it snowed and we couldn't play (note: the last friendly of the pre-season was canceled because of this). But we have to win on any weather, that's how I think about it.

R: About the new players?

Ks: We get along very well, they are good players, we've helped them adapt and they help us on the pitch and I think we can beat any team.

So don't forget, first match is Sunday at 18:30 local time (GMT +2), away against Pandurii Targu Jiu!


A Vrsic Rumor

A news bit came up today on several Romanian sport websites, according to which Dare is being monitored by AS Rome.

While I do not wish to play down any rumor, I do think that this is nothing more than that. Even if Rome were interested in Vrsic, I don't see how his rather uncovincing performances since joining Poli would have swayed them to follow him more closely.

My scepticism notwithstanding, it would be nice to see Vrsic recovering as quickly as possible and then playing so well that AS Rome would still want to buy him. We'll live and see.


McKain is out

Today it was announced that Jonathan McKain and Politehnica Timisoara have parted their ways, the Australian defender being released by the club. McKain was in the last six months of his contract and had refused to sign an extension throughout the latter part of last year.

Whether he will keep his promise and leave Romania to further his career in a league from Western Europe, or join Dinamo Bucharest as has been rumored in the last few weeks remains to be seen, but it would be nice to see that there are still some people with integrity around there. That's the impression McKain made while at Poli and I can only hope he will be perservere in it.

McKain played 65 matches for Poli in the championship, scoring 2 goals. He also scored the vital goal against Steaua Bucharest in the Romanian Cup semi-final last year.


Friendly Report: Poli - FCM Resita 4:1 (1:0)

Yet another match against a rather weak opponent saw Poli win easily, after dominating the game from beginning to end.

Resita, with a few players from the Poli ranks - Pantilimon, Sandu, Danci and Cojocnean - played with determination, but it wasn't enough to stand up to the challenge at hand.

Dusan Uhrin sent the following players on the pitch:

Zimmermann - Luchin (Badoi), Scutaru, Brezinsky, Latovlevici (Milhazes) - Popovici (Abiodun), Daminuţă, Martinez (Aliuta), Artiom Karamyan (Arman Karamyan) - Ganea (Rusici), Axente (Bucur).

Ganea scored first in the 20th minute, after a cross from Artavazd Karamyan, in a half which saw Pantilimon save his team from a load of goals. However, in the latter forty five minutes, Resita could not keep up. Bucur made it two, converting a pass from Milhazes, Arman Karamyan scored the third and Bucur sealed the match with his second of the day. Arthur Patras scored/lead to Resita's 3-1 goal, after a Badoi blunder. The only other notable event was Rusic's injury, which might keept him away from the pitch for a month.

The next match is against Vojvodina Novi Sad, on Saturday, at 16:00, Romanian time.


Friendly Report: Poli - FK Novi Sad 3:0 (2:0)

A short recap of today's friendly against the Serbian second league team FK Novi Sad:

Poli: M. Popa - Bădoi, Cânu (Raţiu '70), Luchin, Milhazes - Abiodun, Srhoj, Aliuţă (Mertine '65), Arm. Karamian - G. Bucur (Popovici '65), I. Ganea (Axente '81).

Srhoj scored the first goal with a header, in the 22nd minute.
Ganea made it two five minutes later, after a nice volleyed finish.
In the 80th minute, Abiodun sealed the game with a shot from the edge of the area which found the net.

The three goals, thanks to www.violamania.ro

Srhoj Goal:

Ganea Goal:

Abiodun Goal:


Friendly Report: Poli - Metalurg Donestk 1:2 (0:1)

Another sour one to go, please!

The last friendly played in Cyprus managed only to strengthen everyone's belief that things are not looking good. Despite Artiom Karamyan's goal, Poli wasted many other opportunities and even had two players sent off! (Canu and Karamyan)
Apparently a penalty would've been in order too for the white-violets, but this surely doesn't solve things in any way.

Poli: Zimmermann - S. Stancu (Abiodun 46, Axente 69), Cânu, Balazs Borbely, Alberto Milhazes - V.Bădoi, Shroj, Aliuţă (Martinez 65), Karamian - Ganea, Arm. Karamian (G. Bucur 46).


Friendly Report: Poli - Slovan Liberec 0:5 (0:3)

A rather humiliating defeat, I'd dare say, at the hands of 2006 Czech champions Slovan Liberec, took place yesterday, in the second to last match of the Cyprus friendlies.

Although Poli fielded a pretty solid team, they proved to be no match against their highly efficient opponents. Popa - Luchin, Ratiu, Cînu, Milhazes - Stancu, Borbely, Martinez, Artiom Karamian - Rusic, Bucur were sent on the pitch from the first minute, but not only did they concede three goals, they couldn't even muster one shot at goal!

With Pantilimon, Abiodun, Aliuta and Ganea replacing Popa, Stancu and Rusic at the beginning of the second half, the team fared a bit better and seriously tested the opposing goalkeeper two times. However, it was Slovan who scored two more times, sealing a the most severe defeat since Uhrin's arrival at Timisoara. Hopefully it was all just a bloody, big, once in a year mishap and the match against Metalurg Donetsk will enforce this hope! We'll see tomorrow.