Poli - Gloria Buzau 1:0 (0:0)

Poli clinched the victory yesterday through Bucur's goal, in the 92nd minute, who pushed in a good Martinez header. Unfortunately, there is nothing else I can report, as I was unable to watch the match.

Poli: Pantilimon - Milhazes, Brezinsky, Luchin, Badoi - Art. Karamyan, Srhoj, Martinez, Abiodun - Ganea, Bucur. Alexa, Arman Karamyan and Aliuta were sent on for Srhoj, Artiom Karamyan and Ganea.

The white-violets have hereby ensured their spot for the UEFA Cup in the next season. Congratulations!


Steaua - Poli 1:1 (0:0)

It's really fantastic to see that football is still, to some degree at least, a sport and not merely a business affair. Despite numerous rumors that the match against Steaua had been rigged, the white-violets played with determination and ambition, to ultimately earn a deserved draw!

Steaua might have had the bigger scoring opportunities in the first half, but Pantilimon was generally focused and precise, and when he wasn't it was Luchin who saved our skin. The only real chance for Poli came after a Vrsic free-kick, but Steaua's goalie, Zapata, tipped the ball over the bar.
The second half started badly for the white-violets, as Steaua took the game to them and managed to open the score, Goian headering the ball in after a corner kick. Poli had seemed dazed and confused for about twenty minutes, when Artiom Karamyan made a great effort to reach a ball which he sent back to Bucur, whose shot hit the net and made it one all! After the equalizer the home side seemed out of ideas and despite two shots saved by Pantilimon, it was another Karamyan cross which created the best scoring chance for Poli, but a Steaua defender managed to divert the ball which was heading for Bucur. The final whistle sealed a mediocre performance by the white-violets, especially in the first half, but it was a performance of honor and dignity, as Poli defied Steaua who had been on a ten match win streak up to today's game.

Of the foreign players on the pitch, it was probably Brezinsky who played best - his good effort in defense helped Poli keep the Steaua strikers at bay. Srhoj was also in pretty good shape, as was Martinez, but both lost possession pretty often in dangerous positions. The greatest disappointment was Vrsic, who just can't seem to get his game going ever since he arrived at Poli. Rusic wasn't much better either, as a matter of fact and Artiom Karamyan, despite a very poor showing in the first sixty minutes, proved instrumental in achieving the draw. One should not that the Bucharest newspapers announced he would sign a contract with Steaua next year, a bit of news still to be confirmed.

Poli: Pantilimon (6,5) - Milhazes (5), Luchin (7), Brezinsky (6,5), Bădoi (6) - Artiom Karamyan (6), Srhoj (6), Vrsici (5), Martinez (5,5) - Rusic (5), Bucur (6,5). Ganea (6), Abiodun and Arman Karamyan, came on for Vrsic, Martinez andArtiom Karamyan.

Anyway, a positive result and a decent performance. Great job Poli, great job Uhrin!

Match highlights here.


Poli - Universitatea Craiova 1:3 (1:2)

Bad match. Again. Almost everyone disastrous. God, this ain't going well.

Poli: Popa (5,5) - Milhazes (5), Borbely (6,5), Scutaru (3,5), Bădoi (4,5) - Arman Karamyan (4,5), Aliuţă (5), Srhoj (5), Abiodun (4,5) - Ganea (4), Bucur (4,5). Rusic (4,5), Raţiu (4) and Vrsic came on to replace Arman, Scutaru and Borbely.

Also, apparently the current head coach of the Slovenian National team, Matjaz Kek, came to see the match. Not a lot to see though.

You can take a look at the goals and other highlights here.


Poli - Dinamo 1:1 (0:0)

It's been another tough evening on the Dan Paltinisanu stadium, as arch-rivals Dinamo came around to play out the battle for a much desired UEFA Cup spot.

Things were going pretty fine in the first half, as Poli came close to goal a few times, even hitting the post, but Dinamo midfielder Cristea also managed to stretch Marius Popa with a dangerous long-shot. The white-violets also had a good opportunity when Ganea was fouled at about 25 meters from goal, but Aliuta sent the ball high and wide, to the dismay of the 25,000 fans present in the stands.
The second half started in the same rhythm as the first, and Popa was once more forced to make a good save. In the 62nd minute however, Dinamo were awarded a dubious penalty after a Luchin foul which seems - at the least - not to have occurred in the penalty area. It was the second yellow for the young Poli defender (although a sending off for professional foul was warranted) and Danciulescu safely converted. Poli was down to ten men, but it didn't shake off Uhrin's team, and after a mistake by Pulhac, Ganea came away with the ball (even though he had been off-side), passed it to Rusic who converted to make it one all! The match went on as it had before, even though Dinamo were a bit more dangerous now, considering the extra-men. Vrsic was sent on the pitch to mark his return after a gruesome injury, a feat of which he is surely pleased, even if it could not be celebrated with a success for the team. Poli then went down to nine men, after Popa committed a hand-ball coming out to make a save and Brezinsky had a word or two with the referee, who obviously did not appreciate the input and decided to hand the Slovak defender two successive yellow cards - even though he had not done the same in the case of two Dinamo players. With ten minutes left, the white violets held on to the result, especially thanks to Popa's excellent saves, a result which, considering the circumstances, is quite satisfying.

Poli played a mediocre game today, even if they seemed to control it a bit better at times than their opponents. The lack of real dynamics in attack were mainly due to Arman Karamyan's lackluster performance, which explains the scarcity of goalscoring opportunities. His brother had a decent game, sending the cross which preceded Poli's equalizer, but he still isn't up to the level he showed in the first part of the season. Brezinsky and Borbely had flawed performances, the former losing many challenges to Dinamo striker Miranda, and the latter wasting possession pretty cheaply. Abiodun's night was also quite uneventful, even though he did find himself in a good situation at one point, but the red-white defenders blocked his shot. Of all foreigners on the pitch, it was Milhazes who played best, even though he could have done more to help Luchin's plight in the "charge" right before the penalty.

Poli: Popa (7) - Milhazes (6), Luchin (5,5), Brezinsky (5,5), Bădoi (5,5) - Art. Karamyan (6), Aliuţă (6), Borbely (5,5), Abiodun (5,5) - Ganea (6), Arm. Karamyan (5). Rusic (6), Vrsic (5,5) and Raţiu came on for Arman Karamyan, Aliuţă and Abiodun.

You can watch the important match highlights here.


Otelul - Poli 3:1 (2:0)

I'm too tired now to write anything about this new abysmal away performance.

Poli: Popa (5,5) - Milhazes (6), Luchin (5), Brezinsky (5,5), Badoi (5) - Art. Karamyan (5), Aliuta (4,5), Srhoj (4), Abiodun (5) - Ganea (5), Arm. Karamyan (5,5). Martinez (5), Axente (4,5) and Balan (5) came on for Aliuta, Art. Karamyan and Srhoj.

You can watch the goals here.


Poli - Universitatea Cluj 3:0 (1:0)

Finally, a clear cut victory! Although today's opponents found themselves in last place before the match, it was pretty obvious to everyone involved that it wouldn't be an easy win for Poli.

And this showed during the first half as well, when the white-violets did little more than miss a few good scoring opportunities, even rattling the post in the 30th minute. But the game really didn't feel and look like good football. It was however enough for Arman Karamyan to insist for a ball in the penalty area and Universitatea's defense broke down, as the Armenian sent a well placed shot at the far post to make it 1-0 for Poli, in the 41st minute.
The second half started well for the away side, as Edvan's long range shot just missed the goal and Popa made a great save at Goga's shot. But it was Poli again who scored, this time through Artiom Karamyan, who dribbled a defender and finished in a similar manner to his brother for 2:0! Merlier then made a good save on Abiodun's shot, before Arman converted - only to be signaled off-side. However, it was to be 3:0, when Aliuta passed perfectly to Ganea who - finally - managed to score with a fine shot past the goalie. Just before the final whistle, Edvan saw the red card for two yellows, thereby only further encumbering the struggle Universitatea will face if they are to save themselves from relegation.

I'd like to highlight the performance of Borbely and Milhazes (who might not be as obvious as Arman and Artiom), because they definitely swayed me today to say that both are excellent transfers. They excelled all-around, both defensively and offensively and hopefully they will keep on playing well in the matches to come. Brezinsky fared better today than last week, although he doesn't seem very at ease with Luchin on his side. Hopefully they'll get to work better together, because it seems that Canu won't be see the "green of pitch" very soon. Abiodun was hard working as well and had it not been for Merlier's brilliant save, he would've added his name to the goalscorer's list as well.

It's important to emphasize that it wasn't all peaches today. The slow and mediocre performance in the first half, as well as the many missed scoring opportunities, need to be avoided if the team is to win against Otelul on Wednesday - and especially Dinamo next weekend.

Poli: Popa (6,5) - Milhazes (6,5), Luchin (6), Brezinsky (6), Bădoi (5,5) - Art. Karamyan (6,5), Aliuţă (6,5), Borbely (6,5), Abiodun (6) - Ganea (6), Arm. Karamyan (6,5). Martinez, Srhoj and Tibi Bălan came on for Arman Karamyan, Aliuţă and Artiom Karamyan.

You can watch the goals here.