A chilly evening greeted Sunday's match, where not more than 5000 assisted Poli's win over Pandurii Targu Jiu. The violets started good, having good chances, the first one in the 6th minute, when Magera found Parks in the box, but the Costa Rican shot wide from a difficult angle. After a few more attempts, the 11th minute brought our team's goal and basically the end of the match. Goga's shot was going wide, but Bucur was in its path, and from 6 meters it was a simple formality.
Poli set way back into a poor and uninspired game, despite controlling it. Three more notable opportunities in the first half: a header by Bucur in the 15th minute and another one from Nibombe towards the end, which was incredibly saved by goalkeeper Stanca. A beautiful team play ended with a shot right below the top post, but the same Stanca was right on it. Pandurii tried to score on the counter-attack, but were quite easily stopped by Nibombe, Luchin or Pantilimon, the latter having a spectacular, but not really difficult save.
In the second half, Poli started less enthusiastically, letting the opponents take slight control of the match, especially after Magera was substituted for Chiacu. Luckily they weren't too inspired, but still were getting closer and closer to our posts. Artiom Karamyan's entrance improved things a bit and Poli started to keep the ball. Most danger came on the left flank where the Armenian had some good incursions with the help of Bucur, and backed up by Bourceanu. This finally ended in a good shot from the first, which was deflected by Stanca, who was on a really good night. Karamyan's balls into the box were still defective, though...
In the end, all that matters is that we won, and we maintain first place, still because of superior goal difference to the other 3 teams: Urziceni, Steaua, CFR. Other than the names highlighted above, Nibombe made a good comeback after his hustle with the cold, a bit shaky in the first few minutes, but very sure of himself for the rest of the match. Parks was a bit of a mess, almost all his touches being awful. Magera wasn't on top either, as is his current trend, but certainly not the worst on the pitch. He was changed early in the second half, and had an unnecessary reaction, throwing his t-shirt and heading straight for the showers. But more on that later.
Poli: Pantilimon (6) - Bonfim (6), Luchin (6), Nibombe (6), Maxim (5,5) - Bourceanu (6), Alexa (5,5), Goga (5) - Parks (5), Magera (5,5), Bucur (6,5)
Chiacu (5) for Magera (min 51)
Art. Karamyan (5,5) for Goga (min 69)
Stancu for Parks (min 85)
A notable event happened at half time, when Poli's supporters arranged a moving choreography, accompanied by hearty applause, to celebrate the memory of those who fell twenty years ago in the fight for freedom. Respect to all of them!