With both defensive midfielders suspended for this match, Sabău had to change the starting 11 and the tactical play. Vrsic and Magera played offensive, behind Gigel Bucur who was much more into the game then previous matches. Scutaru as defensive midfielder and Luchin (back from his injury) with Mera formed the triangle to counter Oţelu's attacks. This, unfortunately turned out to be the team's weak spot.
Poli pressed hard from the beginning, in the first twenty minutes creating very good opportunities to score. Magera did well to provide good passes for Bucur's characteristic incursions from the left, but the tiny striker failed to shoot it past the keeper. When he was in a good central position, he decided to give the ball to Chiacu, who had a poor finish.
And, as things go in football, the game died down, and an incredible goof from Mera, who failed to hit the ball, left Axente to put it past Pantilimon. The young player, borrowed from Poli, had another good opportunity 10 minutes later, but blew it over the post, from inside the box. Sabău changed Mera for Artiom Karamyan, but, with two minutes to go, our defenders neither held Axente, nor played for offside, Pantilimon hesitated to charge him, and the violets went in with 2 goals behind.
With nothing to lose, Stancu took Scutaru's place at half time. And soon enough, Magera's shot was deflected into the post, but Chiacu was at the right spot to head it in. Things were looking good for a comeback, but Karamyan failed to clear a ball, and Ibeh shot it past Pantilimon from the middle of the box.
Poli felt shook, and Otelu controlled the game, still being dangerous. However, they set back, looking to keep the lucky result, and the violets came back in it. Magera's free kick hit the post, and Chiacu couldn't hit it well enough on the rebound. In the 82nd minute, the goalkeeper failed to deflect a corner kick, which found Chiacu with the ball at his feet, passed it to Magera, who pushed it in from 3 meters. Still enough time to save the result. Otelu did their best to keep their advantage, but Stancu managed to win a good ball from Patras, another Poli player lent to Galaţi, passed it to Magera who made an excellent cross awaited by three players in violet. Luchin was the one to head it in, right at the end of regular play.
A very eye-pleasing game, which Poli could have easily won, were it not for the grave errors in defense. Magera is on top form, and together with Vrsic made the ball flow in midfield. Karamyan played well, but not well enough to make up for costing us the third goal.
A minor setback, but Poli is still undefeated in away games. The championship is far from being decided, the top 8 teams trying to pass each other in mediocrity and surprising results. The next match, against Dinamo, might shed some light.
Poli: Pantilimon (5) - Bonfim (6), Luchin (5), Mera (3,5), Maxim (5,5) - Chiacu (5,5), Vrsici (5,5), Scutaru (4,5), Curtean (4,5) - Magera (6,5), Bucur (5,5)
Art. Karamyan (4,5) for Mera (min 37)
Stancu (5,5) for Scutaru (min 45)
Goga (5) for Curtean (min 55)