Poli - VFB Stuttgart 0:2 (0:2)

It just wasn't to be today, as Stuttgart were more on form and on target than the white-violets, who did not manage to compensate the absences of Parks and Bourceanu. Pantilimon fouled Marica to give the away side a penalty, which was duly converted in the 27th minute, and only one minute later, Hleb did what he desired with the Poli defence to make it 2-0. There was little Sabau's men could do and but for a bunch of corner kicks and a good long shot by Bonfim, Lehmann was mostly untroubled. Pantilimon managed to make a few more decent saves, but his error at the first goal is reprimandable.

So much from me now, I'll be away for two weeks, so most likely no exciting match reports to be had.

Poli: Pantilimon (5) - Bonfim (5,5), Nibombe (6), Cisovsky (5), Art. Karamyan (5,5) - Stancu (5), Scutaru (5), Alexa (6), Arm. Karmayan (6) - Bucur (5,5), Magera (5)


Borbely (5,5) for Scutaru (min 45)
Cl. Ionescu (5) for Magera (min 69)
Latovelvici for Art. Karamyan (min 79)


Poli - Rapid 1:0 (1:0)

Just a short post today, to sum up Friday's match. Poli did well enough to beat their Bucharest rivals - one of the rivals we've actually beaten quite a few times in the last couple of years - and the emphasis was on a solid defensive approach to the game. The result turned in our favour once Arman Karamyan received a very good cross from Stancu (the ball was slightly deflected by Parks as well) and the Armenian slotted it in past Marinescu. Rapid had their chances, by good fortune was on the white-violets' side, and Pantilimon hung on to a clean sheet.

Today's match is, of course, a completely different matter, but spirits are well in Timisoara. Hopefully something good will come from it.

Poli: Pantilimon (6) - Bonfim (6), Nibombe (6,5), Cisovsky (6,5), Art. Karamyan (6) - Stancu (5,5), Bourceanu (6,5), Alexa (6), Arm. Karamyan (6,5) - Bucur (5,5), Parks (5,5)


Magera (5,5) for Parks (min 46)
Scutaru (6) for Alexa (min 74)
Goga for Bucur (min 90)


CL: Poli - VFB Stuttgart

A good opponent for what should prove an interesting tie.

German football may not be at its historic best, but the Bundesliga has become a tighter affair in recent years, with surprise winners picking up the league title, as evidence to show that a very strong field had formed behind and around Bayern Munchen. Stuttgart is part of that group and while it sold its main striker in the summer transfer period, the squad has been completed with two equally impressive players, in the likes of Pogrebnyak and Hleb. The question is how well these have adapted to the team, as well as how well the team can handle official matches with the season starting only yesterday in Germany.

There is no reason why we shouldn't believe qualification is possible, as if there even is any difference between Shakhtar and VFB, it has to be in favour of the Ukrainian team. True, we most likely won't hold out for another skirmish like the one at Donetsk, but hopefully the experience gained in these last two matches will help improve our player's belief and sheer focus.

First leg at home, on the 18th of August, return leg one week later.


Poli - Shakthar Donetsk 0:0

What a historic qualification! It's truly an achievement that was beyond our wildest dreams, especially if we think of the humiliation suffered only a few months ago against CFR Cluj in the Romanian Cup Final. But to beat the UEFA Cup holders, to make their Brazilians who are worth individually more than our whole team put together - it's a terrific feat. I would go so far as to say that this is the best result any Romanian team has obtained in the last few years, considering the pure strength in footballing terms of the opponent and the huge stakes to be had.

It was Nibombe's night, who put in a great performance, but it wouldn't have been anywhere near enough if Bourceanu hadn't tirelessly run after every ball, or if Bonfim hadn't been so composed through the entire game. It's clearly a team effort, because you can't defeat a stronger team if you don't present a perfect tactical approach, as well as a strong determination and belief, so heaps of praise also have to be gifted to Mr. Sabau. Our new manager has made an impression on the squad in only one month, he's created a strong unit with a relentless fighting spirit. Sure, the seeds had been planted by Dusan Uhrin Jr., but as Sabau's predecessor, Mr. Balint, proved, you have to know how to tend to those seeds, otherwise they'll bear no fruit.

The football might not have been amazing, I reckon the matches weren't even a joy to behold for the neutral spectator, but at this phase of the competition, winning is by far the most important goal. We'll find out on Friday who our next opponents will be, but I'm certain everyone will have realized by now that Politehnica Timisoara are no pushovers. Superb!

Poli: Pantilimon (6,5) - Bonfim (6,5), Cisovsky (6,5), Nibombe (7), Art. Karamyan (6) - Stancu (6), Bourceanu (7), Alexa (6), Arm. Karamyan (6) - Parks (6,5), Bucur (6)


Scutaru (6) for Alexa (min 60)
Cl. Ionescu for Stancu (min 80)
Magera for Bucur (min 89)

Match highlights here.


Poli - Gloria BistriĊ£a 1:0 (0:0)

For the sake of information, Poli won the match against Gloria using a completely different line-up to the one from Donetsk. It was a tough game, given that the white-violets had their stadium suspended for this round, but in the end Poli prevailed thanks to a goal from Lukas Magera.

Poli: Taborda (6) - Badoi (5,5), Luchin (6), Scutaru (6), Latovlevici (5) - Stancu (5,5), Borbely (5,5), Vrsic (5,5), Arm. Karamyan (5,5) - Magera (6), Cl. Ionescu (6)


Art. Karamyan (6) for Arman Karamyan (min 45)
Alexa (6) for Borbely (min 64)
Bucur (6) for Vrsic (min 64)

You can watch the clips at slightly superior quality on the host website, www.fanatik.ro.

Goal Magera (min 75):

Anca hits the post (min 4):

Magera hits the post (min 47):

C. Borbely off-side goal (min 65):