I've been away and lazy in the last four weeks, so there were no updates to be had on the state of affairs at Poli. Unfortunately, things have been rather tough. The team did well to draw at nil against Urziceni, despite coming close to winning on a few occasions, after which a tepid 0-0 draw at Stuttgart sent the team into the Europa League. This result was followed by a disappointing 3-3 draw at newly promoted Unirea Alba Iulia, despite Poli taking a 2-0 lead in the first half, thanks to Bucur and Ionescu. It took Goga's late effort to draw, after a sloppy performance in the second part of the match. Yesterday the white-violets only managed another 0-0 draw, "at home" against Astra Ploiesti, who had also just rejoined the first league. Due to some maintenance works at the Dan Paltinisanu stadium, the match was played over 500 km away, thanks to Mr. Iancu, who cares so much about the fans that he wanted them to be exempt of live, on-location suffering.
The team's defensive play, manifesting itself through the use of two defensive midfielders, is not fundamentally bad, although the football is not a great sight to behold. The real problem is the lack of efficiency in front of goal.
With the EL draw sorting Poli with Ajax, Anderlecht and Dinamo Zagreb, it would obviously be a very difficult, if somewhat balanced, fight for qualification. However, Mr. Iancu claimed yesterday that the team would focus primarily on the league, which makes little sense in view of the fact that EL qualification is a historic feat for Poli. The reason behind this decision is the obvious financial hardship which nobody wants to acknowledge and the ensuing fact that the team only has about 17 strong players. With some injured, this makes tackling two competitions difficult.
Funnily enough though, all the top players are registered for the EL, so it's a mystery to me how they will be spared. If Sabau will be forced to rely foremost on the reserve players selected for the EL, one can be sure that the team will find it hard to avoid conceding less than fifteen goals in the matches ahead. Tragic tale, really.