Finally, the first championship win against bitter rivals, Dinamo Bucharest, after 12 frustrating years. Both teams agreed on a foreign referee, which was selected from Serbia, so there weren't any flagrant mistakes. The Bucharest outfit had a tumultuous flight to Timisoara, because of fog, and after a second try they had finally arrived after midnight, before the match. All the better for us, as the players looked totally lost on the pitch.
Coach Sabău also had a few surprises up his sleeve. He sent the best 11 available, but the new thing was how they played the ball amongst them. Right from the warming up before the match and all throughout the first half you could see what they had been practicing the past 2 weeks since the last match. A game based on possession of the ball, with smart short passes and one-two combinations, quite beautiful to the eye. Despite a moderate rythm, and not many opportunities to score, Poli was totally in control of the match. All players were more involved in the game, Parks and Bucur's incursions kept the white-red defense on their toes, with the last one being one of the most active ones, as he wasn't isolated like in previous matches. Another surprise was that the small striker was the one to execute the corner kicks. Not being his best skill, the balls he sent were low and soft at the near post, but were quite dangerous. Certainly much better than Artiom Karamyan's long high ones. The biggest opportunity of the first half came only in the 42nd minute, when Magera's header went inches past the post.
In the second half, Poli went in more determined and Goga's shots, both in action and from a free kick were closing in on the goal. Dinamo, however had a big opportunity when Niculescu's free kick hit the outer side of the post in the 62nd minute. Bonfim was in excellent form, and 6 minutes later, after swerving past two defenders on the right, imitating Parks a few minutes before, found Bucur in the center of the box, who excellently takes over the ball, and puts himself in an impossible to miss position. It was 1-0 and the crowd goes crazy.
Dinamo upped their pace, trying fruitlessly to score. Towards the end of the match. The ever present mist decided to lay down on the Dan Paltinisanu stadium. It was the 85th minute and from my side I couldn't see a thing on the pitch. But the opposite corner could see the ball tripping Goian after a pass from his partner in defense - Tamas. Bucur was sneakily waiting the opportunity and grabbed the ball, diving towards the goal and putting it past Curca for a second time. It was a frenzy as soon all the stadium realized what happened. 4 minutes later, the game stopped. The linesman in Poli's half was one meter inside the pitch and then moved towards the box. Apparently it was a penalty for Dinamo. And also, the crowds cheers meant only one thing - they missed it. Whether Niculae had a bad shot or couldn't see the posts, remained a "mist"-ery.
The final whistle sounded a tremendous victory and as most of the stadium couldn't actually see their favourites celebrating, the more fanatic fans decied to invade the pitch and enjoy the sweetness of triumph. Good game, Poli!
The defense was sturdy, the only weaknesses being Nibombe's slow starts letting the smaller and faster Torje and Cristea run past him. But otherwise, a very solid play from the Togolese. Parks was as enchanting as always, perhaps a bit shadowed by Bucur's enthusiastic comeback. The Costa Rican was a great help to the attack, his highlight being an incursion on the right in the first minutes of the second half, passing through Dinamo's defense, going between two players, despite being fouled, getting to the center of the box leaving Goga for a great shot on goal. Magera was the one Sabău sent in as midfielder, but he also had a more offensive position, letting other player's with the decisive passes. The danger came more from the right flank, where Bonfim was king. An excellent performance from the Brazilian, as he has gotten us used, too.
Poli: Pantilimon (6) - Bonfim (7), Luchin (6), Nibombe (6,5), Maxim (6) - Chiacu (5), Alexa (7), Magera (6,5), Goga (5,5) - Bucur (7,5), Parks (6,5)
Borbely for Magera (min 78)
Arm. Karamyan for Chiacu (min 82)
Stancu for Parks (min 88)