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.