Beside the two good saves by Pantilimon, and the two important chances of Rusic and Abiodun in the first half, there is really nothing worth remembering from this match. It's a good point obtained on a bad pitch, as Uhrin himself stated, and now we need to build on this with a win at home against struggling Universitatea Cluj.
Poli: Pantilimon (6,5) - Milhazes (6), Luchin (6), Brezinsky (5,5), Bădoi (6) - Art. Karamyan (6), Borbely (6), Srhoj (5,5), Abiodun (5,5) - Ganea (5), Rusici (5). Axente (5,5) and Arman Karamyan replaced Rusic and Artiom Karamyan.
On the upside, Dare Vrsic has restarted training with the team, which probably means that he will have a real chance to at least find himself on the bench on Saturday!
The match had barely started when Martinez, Ganea and Karamyan missed a magnificent chance to score in the second minute of play! A few minutes later, Ganea received a great pass from Martinez, but the ex-Internatinol missed lousily. After the first quarter hour of the game, something started going quite wrong, as Dacia were coming on the offensive more often and Poli was doing very little in terms of creating scoring opportunities. And then it happened: after a corner-kick the ball ended up in Mioveni's possession, Frasineanu taking a shot from inside the area, which would have probably been saved, had Borbely not deflected it into goal.
Things were not much in easier in the second half, despite the fact that Poli went into it playing a bit better. They turned for the worst when Canu, terribly undecided whether to pass back to Popa or not, got the ball taken from him and basically offered the second goal of the night for Dacia. Poli did manage to peg back through Rusic, who headered in a good Martinez cross, but Ganea twice and Rusic missed great chances to draw level before the ninety minutes drew to a close.
Once more, everyone fared pretty poorly, with the exception of Martinez, Milhazes and Rusic. The many misses and the big defensive blunders were the main causes for this bitter defeat, which leaves Poli fighting for a UEFA Cup spot. One that seems to be slipping away...
Poli: Popa (6) - Milhazes (6), Cânu (4), Luchin (5,5), Bădoi (5,5) - Art. Karamyan (5,5), Aliuţă (5), Borbely (5,5), Martinez (6,5) - Ganea (5), Arm. Karamyan (5). Rusici (6) and Tibi Bălan (5) replaced Aliuţă and Arman Karamyan.
You can watch the goals here.
It was Aliuta who made the first game-turning mistake in the second minute, when after a corner kick, the ball was punched by Popa and the Poli midfielder tried to kick it away and instead kicked it back into the penalty area, to Dorian Andronic; the young Vaslui defender kept his composure and scored a fine goal. Just a few minutes later it was Popa's turn to make a blunder, as he rushed out of goal at another corner kick, but missed the ball, which left Zmeu with an easy chance which he took and converted. Poli tried to bounce back but it was useless, the only mentionable scoring opportunity being that of Luchin, whose header was saved by Haisan. Just before the break Brezinsky commited a sloppy hand-ball and the ref gave the home side a penalty, which was converted by Ljubinkovic.
The second half started a bit better for Poli, with Bucur's shot being smothered by Haisan. Ganea then received a very fine pass from the same Bucur, but the former couldn't reach the ball, which ended up in the goalie's hands. Abiodun was fouled in the 61st minute in the Vaslui penalty area, but the ref "rewarded" the Nigerian with a yellow card instead of a warranted penalty kick. Not even ten minutes later, Poli were reduced to ten men, when Ljubkinovic broke free of the last defender, Brezinsky tried to catch up, but only managed to hack the Serb down and saw a direct red card. Not much happened until the end of the match, with only Ganea and Arman Karamyan wasting a good scoring chance, to at least spare the team of a goalless match.
So it was a lousy match with everyone playing lousily, except perhaps Abiodun and Bucur. There's really little left to say, but for the hope of recovering until the next match, this weekend, against Dacia Mioveni.
Poli: Popa (4) - Milhazes (5), Brezinsky (3), Luchin (4,5), Bădoi (5) - Art. Karamyan (5,5), Borbely (5,5), Aliuţă (4), Abiodun (6) - Arm. Karamyan (5), Ganea (5,5). Aliuţă was replaced by Bucur (6), who in turn was replaced by Srhoj (5,5) due to an injury.
You can find videos of the goals here.
UTA hand one of their few chances early on, when Todea sent a long shot which whistled over the bar, and but for Baltoi narrowly reaching a good cross, there was really little the Arad based team's game amounted to. On the other hand, Poli had two good opportunities before opening the score, both through Arman Karamyan. The Armenian wasn't as forgiving the third time around, as the ball reached him following a free-kick taken by his brother, and Arman scored his second in two games with a powerful shot! Poli then had another two chances, but opposing goalie Tudor saved his team from going two nil down.
There was little he could do in the debut of the second half though, as Aliuta ploughed through the field, sent a long cross, Tudor only got the tip of his fingers to the ball which ended up at Abiodun's feet, the Nigerian converting with a well placed finish! The white-violets then retreated a bit, but UTA's lack of courage and determination meant that Popa was hardly challenged throughout the rest of the game. Portuguese striker Edson came close to pulling one back in the last ten minutes of the game, but the Poli goalie saved well. Gigel Bucur could have taken his tally to fifteen goals this season, if Tudor hadn't been decisive once more, in the dying moments of the match. 2:0 and UTA seem to be heading hastily towards the second league, while Poli can even set their sight on a Champions League spot.
All foreign players did well today, with a particular emphasis on Arman Karamyan, Borbely, Brezinsky and Abiodun. Milhazes was a bit less inspired, sending many bad crosses, while Artiom played at the level he let us get so used with, being outshadowed just by the mere fact that his brother scored once more.
Poli: Popa (6) - Milhazes (5,5), Cânu (6), Brezinsky (6,5), Bădoi (6) - Art. Karamyan (6), Aliuţă (6,5), Borbely (6,5), Abiodun (6,5) - Ganea (5,5), Arm. Karamyan (6,5); Bucur (6), Bălan and Latovlevici replaced Arman, Aliuţă and Abiodun in the 70th, 88th and 92nd minutes.
You can watch the goals here (Arman) and here (Abiodun).
The next match is Wednesday, away, against 7th placed FC Vaslui.
With Arman Karamyan in the first eleven, Uhrin was obviously "undermanned" for this match. But it started well and Poli controlled the game, even if without creating any scoring opportunities. Rapid came close to going one up when Popa forced himself to save a ball which had been passed back to him with his hands, but Stancu's indirect free-kick was deflected into a corner-kick. After first warming up with a tight-angle shot saved by Coman, Arman Karamyan was very precise in converting Badoi's excellent cross! The only problem being that Badoi had crossed the ball after it had gone over the line into, what should have been, a goal kick. Still, Karamyan's perfect header is worth its share of praise. Rapid could have drawn level a couple of minutes later, when Milhazes was hit with a ball which then headed toward the net, but Popa's excellent reflex saved Poli!
The second half started with a great chance for Bucur, who shot next to goal while on a one on one with the Rapid keeper. However, this was about the only real scoring opportunity for Poli in the second half, the home side working hard to find the equalizer. In then end though it proved all in vain, for when they did manage to get past Canu and Brezinsky, Popa was there to make the save - especially in the case of Joao Paulo, whose shot was kept out with great intuition! When the final whistle went, everyone jubilated in the most sincere of manners, for even without the linesman's mistake, Poli had outplayed itself today, displaying a perfect defensive approach to the game and ending, for the second match in a row, without conceding.
Of the foreigners, it was Arman, Brezinsky and Borbely who really stood out. I suppose it's quite something that Arman has, for a change, is taking most of the credit and not his brother. But it's well deserved, because Artiom simply wasn't very inspired today. Brezinsky and Borbely were majestic in defense and hopefully they'll keep on being just as majestic in the matches to come. Good game!
Poli: Popa (7) - Bădoi (7), Brezinsky (7), Cânu (7), Milhazes (6) - Abiodun (6), Borbely (6,5), Aliuţă (6), Art. Karamyan (5,5) - Bucur (6), Arm. Karamyan (6,5); Tibi Bălan (5), Axente and Raţiu came on for Aliuţă, Arman Karamyan and Gigel Bucur.
You can watch the goal here.
The next match is at home, on Saturday, against arch-rivals UTA. If the team plays as well as they did today, there's little doubt as to who will be the winner.
Poli: Marius Popa - Carlos Milhazes, Gabriel Cânu, Miloš Brezinský, Srdjan Luchin - Artavazd Karamyan, Marian Aliuţă, Valentin Bădoi, Abiodun Agunbiade - Ionel Ganea, Gigel Bucur with Martinez coming on for Bucur in the 80th minute.
Next match against Rapid will be very interesting, as it will probably determined the course of the rest of the season. It's Sunday, at 20.30 I believe.
This is hardly surprising, as Karamyan is considered the best left midfielder in the country, despite gsp awarding the title to CFR's Emmanuel Culio - based on their very dodgy scoring system. Hopefully he will keep up the good performances and if he leaves this summer, it will be to a top European club.