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.