Poli - Gyeongnam 1-2 (0-1)

The second friendly match was also a defeat, against Korean side, Gyeongnam, who started with a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute. Despite a lot of chances and 10 corners in the first half, Poli couldn't equalise until the 52nd minute, when Mejia created a good opportunity, continued by Ionescu and finalized by Tiago Costa.

The Koreans scored soon afterward, after Mera committed a penalty. The game went haywire from here, because of the ref's decisions, sending people off and on the pitch. Poli missed some more chances and in the end went out as losers.

Video footage:

Poli lineup:

1st half: Supić - Bonfim, Luchin, Nibombe, Maxim - Curtean, Alexa, Bourceanu, Goga - Parks, Vázquez

2nd half: Taborda - Tiago Costa, Mera, Brezinský , Artiom Karamyan - Chiacu, Scutaru, Ionescu, Arman Karamyan - Magera, Mejía

Exit: Stage Left

Another melodramatic transfer season is closing in to an end, with lots of confirmations on this day.

Let's start with the soap operas. Surprise, surprise, Dayro Moreno won't be joining us, as he has a great desire to stay in his home country, Columbia. Also, Bucur will not leave, as the Russian messenger was probably lost in the cold waves of the Turkish sea and the negotiations could not even start.

Contra, who has been mostly watching football at Getafe, rather than playing it, managed to convince his manager to let him go. He will join Poli in Antalya on Saturday and will help the violets until the end of the season. Of course, this will probably be just a stopping point for him, as I don't think that Poli is the kind of club that can keep such a good player. Nevertheless, it is a great transfer, both for him, because he will get to play and keep the wheels turning, and for us, as the spot of right back is now covered.

And finally, another long story has gotten to its end. The club has amiably ended the deals with the Karamyan brothers. They were in their last 6 months of contract and were asking for a salary raise despite their performances being on a somewhat downward curve. The club tried to sell them but was unable to. The contract resiliation is an incredible goof if you ask me. They could have very well played their part in these last 6 months, Artiom being one of the key players. And the €150,000 which would have been their salary for the upcoming period, isn't such a big sum if you consider that the club was willing to spend €500,000 for Dayro's transfer. Even worse, it seems that the Armenians will join Steaua. Great strategy giving one of your best players to the adversary midway during a fight for the title, wouldn't you say?

All in all, this transfer period was actually very good for Poli, covering up for 2 weak spots in the lineup, and bringing 3 (4 if you count Mejia, too) players to keep up the pressure on the main players.


Mejía joins the team in Antalya

After a slight problem with his visa, Christian Mejía has finally arrived on Turkish shores to prepare alongside the team he will play for, for at least the next 5 months. He too, offered a few words for Poli's official site:

"I was very happy when I heard that I can finally play for Poli. I can now prove that all the efforts to bring me here were worthwile. I feel good and I will push hard to be at 100% at the championship restart. My goal is to be fit to play for the first game. If the coach will need me, of course. The period up to now, when I couldn't play for Poli, has been very hard. It's the most difficult situation for a football player, not being able to play."

"Timișoara is a top team, with good technical skills. I think that this year its value will only go up and we will be able to win the title. I'm happy that all this time, people have been supporting me and were interested about me. But now I have to play well in order to thank for the club's, my teammates' and the fans' beneficial support. I want my perforamnce to reflect the sacrfifices made by my transfer to Timișoara!"

Mansi is back!

A short interview provided to Poli's official site:

"I felt reborn! The two goals are important, but even more important is the fact that I'm back on the pitch and that I finally got to play. I thank Allah that I'm well again and able to play football. It was hard, of course, because I had to get back in shape. It is true, we met a weaker adversary, but for my morale it's very important that I scored. That will help me a lot to get back to 100%. I'm glad that there are high expectations from me. It means that they care about me and appreciate my efforts. Their support helps me pull through this hard period of training."

Congratulations, Mansi!


Friendly: Poli - SV Kapfenberg 6:1 (2:1)

And we have the first friendly of the leg, against SV Kapfenberg's juniors. Poli sent two different teams in each half. In the first 45 minutes, despite Bucur and Parks being on the pitch, Goga was the man with the goals, in the 5th and 25th minutes. A mistake from Luchin allowed Michael Tieber to score in the last minute of the half, after he had two more chances before that.

The first goal of the second part came in the 67th minute, surprisingly from central defender Mera, who after a 1-2 with Magera, lobbed the Austrian goalkeeper. A great many opportunities were missed by Poli, including a couple big ones from Vázquez. But fortune would shine on Mansour, whose day was at a complete opposite from the first friendly 6 months ago. He came in in the 68th minute to score twice, in the 75th and 84th minutes. Certainly a good debut for his morale. The game ended with a penalty obtained by Chiacu and transformed by Arman Karamyan.

A bit of video footage from the match can be found here.

Following are the two lineups in each half. The only thing to note is that it seems that Artiom Karamyan played defender. It can be understandable by the fact that Sepsi is not fully available, but still, why insist on him?

Poli (1st half): Taborda - Bonfim, Luchin, Nibombe, Maxim - Curtean, Alexa, Cl. Ionescu, Goga - Parks, Bucur

Poli (2nd half): Pantilimon - Tiago, Mera, Brezinský, Artiom Karamyan - Chiacu, Scutaru, Bourceanu ('68, Mansour), Arman Karamyan - Magera, Vázquez


Confirmations and other news

Borbely has officialy joined Dušan Uhrin at AEL Limassol. Latovlevici's loan to Bistrița has been finalized.

The team that will leave tomorrow for Antalya is the following:

Goalkeepers: Pantilimon, Taborda, Supić

Defenders: Bonfim, Tiago Costa, Brezinsky, Nibombe, Scutaru, Mera, Luchin, Maxim, Sepsi

Midfielders: Alexa, Artiom Karamyan, Arman Karamyan, Ionescu, Chiacu, Bourceanu, Curtean

Attackers: Parks, Goga, Mansour, Magera, Mejia, Bucur, Vázquez

As you can see, Stancu is not on the list. He is free to go to any club that will pay €200,000. It seems that Brașov might be interested.

And as breaking news, Dayro Moreno (Steaua București) is close to coming to Poli.


Pablo Vázquez interview

The new acquisition has offered an exclusive interview to "Gazeta Sporturilor". Here is the translation below:

Pablo, how did you get to sign with Poli? Was it a simple decision to come to Romania?
I was in my last year of contract in Bolivia, but my manager had relations in Romania. After I received the offer, I didn't even stop to think. It has always been a dream of mine to play in Europe. All South American players make themselves known when they play in strong European Championships, and the one in Romania is one of them.

What is your background?
I've loved football since I was a kid and my dream was to play in Argentina's top division. That came true, and afterwards I was given the opportunity to play in Bolivia where I felt great. Now I'm starting it all over.

The Brazilians' secret is that they play a lot of football on the beaches. What is the Argentinians' secret?
Football in the sand is very popular in Argentina, too. You gain many qualities if you start playing early in the sand. I, however, started on the streets, like all kids today. Even back then I liked scoring very much. I've only played in attack and I didn't accept any compromises because I was in love goals. Even on my first day at a professional club I made my point of playing as a striker.

At first impression you look like a "bad boy", a ruffian. How are you, actually?
Outside the pitch I'm always "tranquillo". I don't cause any trouble, I like to mind my own business. In a match, however, I always know what I have to do to prove myself.

What are your strong points in the field?
I like to fight for every ball and try long distance shots. I'm a powerful attacker, but I don't like to talk much about myself. I said that I score about 15 matches per season, but that is what an attacking player must do. It's his first obligation. I always try to score at least one goal in every match.

Your former club in Bolivia is called "The Strongest". Will you make Poli "The Strongest" in Romania?
I've heard that Poli is already a very good team. Of course our goal is to be the best. That's why I came here.

About the fans:
"I know that a lot of fans come to stadium. This is a great support for the players. I looked on the Internet, and I was impressed by what I saw about Poli's fans."

On his first day of training, he, Mansour and Sepsi got seperate treatment. It was a good opportunity to become friends with the latter, as Sepsi speaks good Spanish, having played for Santander. Vázquez has good things to say about him: "He already helps me a lot. He is a good guy."

gsp.ro (Romanian)


Pablo Vázquez signs with Poli

It is now official, the 27 year old Argentian striker has a signed contract with Poli. After Sepsi, this is another good looking transfer. Brought as a possible replacement for Gigel Bucur, Vázquez shares Magera's impressive build, being 1.87m tall, and a bit of Bucur's technical skills.

He boasts of a 15-goal average per season, and indeed, last year he has scored 19 in 33 appearances for his former team, Bolivian side "Club The Strongest" from La Paz. Besides having a great feel for the goal, I noticed that he is very good at protecting the ball, which at his stature, is no surprise. I think this will prove a very important skill, which might be decisive for Poli.

Of course you can't really tell his actual value from two clips of his goals, nor when he comes from a championship like Bolivia. But the club says they have been watching him for quite some time, so perhaps he is as good as he looks. Only time will tell.

In the meantime, the offer for Bucur has been purely fictive up to now, when Poli is ready to set out for the training sessions in Antalya. But the "field detectives" assure us that the negotiations between Kuban Krasnodar, Poli and the striker will take place in the Turkish resort. In the form of a message in a bottle, no doubt.

Youtube: (1) (2)


Mansour + Timișoara = Love

The Scissor-man is back! A bit stirred, quieter and a bit more set back, like in 2004 when he didn't speak English at all, Gueye Mansour set foot once again on "Dan Păltinișanu" stadium, where he met his teammates. Some new, some old, but none have been as much with the team as him. He is the only survivor of the "old squad", back when performance was only a dream, and nobody had heard of Iancu and BKP, when Buia, Șuleap or Silvășan reigned in the lockers.

Yes, he's been through a lot. A young talent, fabulous executions, but the ball jumped off him like off of a bat. The fans cheered him to incredible heights, and scoffed him away from Timișoara. He was meant to go to Dinamo, but unlike a certain home boy, raised by the club and a big hope for the fans, the Senegalese refused. He didn't want to play there. He wanted Poli and Timișoara. Of course, his boldness wasn't seen good by the club. That was perhaps one of his darkest periods. A failed marriage, which was supposed to be more like a fairytale, ended after only three months. He was excluded from the team and his future was uncertain.

Finally he was sent to Buzău, where he played for the second part of the season. And what a great deal that was for him. There he became a star, with 14 appearances (out of 17 possible) and 7 goals! The feat brought him back into the attention of the club and new coach Sabău, who called him and took him with Poli's preparations for the new season. This was his chance, the closest to making the team again. But, alas, fate would have it, that he suffered a serious injury right in the first friendly.

After 6 months off the pitch, he is back again, but this time he's task is "twice as hard as before", as he has sturdy opponents - his teammates, who've had more time to settle in. Certainly, Mansour will have to do way more than we are used to seeing him do. But, he says, "I'm more prepared than before, because my problems have motivated me. It all depends on me, but I have faith." Indeed, faith his something he has plenty of: "I've prayed to Allah and I feel this year will be good for me."

More than 5 years with the same club is certainly a lot, but the Senegalese is still young at 24 years old. However, in a moment of introspection, Gueye confesses: "I am more mature now, I think differently, not like a child anymore. A man changes through life".

Furthermore, in a truely touching description, Mansour reveals us his feelings towards Poli, Timișoara and the fans: "That was how Allah wanted it to be, that I fall in love with Timișoara and the fans with me. They have given me goosebumps at my first match against Dinamo, and since then, I love them greatly."

The "Black Panther" as he is also nicknamed, reaches out to the fans to come and cheere for him. "They give me strength and faith in me. For Poli, they give all they have."

As he could not play football, he spent the winter at his home in Senegal, with his family, but also training, to stay in shape, like his teammates. After two years of absence, he hopes to play once again on the grass of "Dan Păltinișanu" stadium.

While I do not know how he will able to help the team, considering the many good strikers that Poli has at the moment, I, for one, will be certainly overjoyed to see the "Black Panther" in action once again, and why not, even one of his characteristic scissor-kicks against a big team. His charisma and ambition can make one close an eye to his lack of technical skills at times, and this lightens me up more than any of the news and rumours of people going back and forth that have been circulating this past days.

Welcome back, Gueye!

violamania.ro (Romanian), Wikipedia


One man enters, one man leaves

This will be a two in one, interviews with two players in opposite situations. On the one hand, Dejan Rusič and Poli will part ways, while Dédé will join the team after competing in the African Cup of Nations. Let's start with the sad story first.

Dejan Rusič leaves the team after having scored against all major opponents, but has been in bad shape for at least the last year, and has been surpassed by his other colleagues in attack. Thus, no longer needed, he feels he, and the club, have done the right decision to end the contract amicably.

However, the Slovenian has nothing but regret for departing from the club, especially from the fans. "I have no right words to say how much they meant to me and how good they've made me feel the whole period I was here. I will always remember them. They were incredible. I leave Timișoara with great sadness. Such a great public makes you feel like a big football player. They said they will keep me in their hearts.... How can I answer that? I can't think of anything to say to make them know how much I appreciate them."

A big cause in Dejan's shape has been his troublesome back injury. "At one point there was even the possibility of me having to retire. I was beginnning to prepare myself with the thought, until I met some great doctors in Germany, who've promised to put me back on my feet. My manager told me I already have some good offers, but I don't want foolish hopes. Right now, all I want is to be healthy, and only after that I can concentrate on my career." The next period has the Slovenian going to check-ups in Germany, and hopefully in 3 weeks he can return to the pitch.

We wish him the best of health! And, Dejan, we will always remember you! Take care!

Dédé describes himself as ambitious and identifies with Poli's spirit. This is what determined him to leave French side Arles, where things weren't going too well, and to come to Timișoara, where he has the opportunity to fight for the title. "It will be a test for me, which I will have to pass" is how Dédé sums up his determination.

The Angolan plays midfield and describes himself as "full of energy, the kind of player that works hard the entire game". He also says that he likes both to come back to defend, and to push upward towards the goal.

Not knowing his teammates very well yet, Dédé hopes they will support him, as he will surely help them whenever they need.

But for now, I think his thoughts are towards another team and another competition - the African Cup of Nations, where Angola are hosts, and Dédé will surely want to make a good show.

Let's wish him good games, but what's most important is for him to come back safe.


Medical status and other news

Cisovsky is due to return in March, which means that the problems in the center of defence will persist, at least in the begin of the season restart, but perhaps even more, until the Slovak is at full form and at level with the rest of the team. I think Brezinsky should be kept, at least until the summer. He may just be the backup needed.

Supić will be sent to more detailed medical examinations as his ankle problems just won't quit and he has not been at maximum capacity at all. This may be one of the reasons that Taborda will not be let go, after all. I think it's important that all three goalkeepers stay united and try to outperform each other. A good competitive spirit is what Poli needs for the goalie position.

And in the misc. section, it seems that Contra's transfer is as good as done, all that is needed being Getafe's accord. Other than that, Bucur will leave.... sometime, Alexa is wanted, and outside it's raining. Or maybe not. I didn't look.


László Sepsi

It is not the first time Sepsi has played under Sabău's lead. In fact, Sabău is the one who found and promoted him back when he coached Gaz Metan Mediaș. For the 2005-2006 season, Sepsi was accounted to the French side Rennes, brought by another Romanian coach - Bölöni. Even though he didn't get to play any match in the championship, being noticed by two coaches who are known to have a good eye for young talents says much about him.

Sabău then brought László to his new team - Gloria Bistrița, from where he was sold for somewhere around €2 million to Benfica at the beginning of 2008. He only played 7 matches, as he was loaned to Santander, where he got to play more, but not much.

Finally, Sabău decided to once again count on the now 23 year old defender and Sepsi is now the player of Politehnica Timișoara. The transfer sum is €1.2 million and his salary is reported at €200 000 a year. The defender says that he was convinced by the club's staff, especially by Sabău with whom he keeps a close relation, but also by Poli's aspirations to win the title this year and to play in the European Cups.

He is quite familiar with a few of the guys playing for Timișoara from the Under 21 national team, where he summed up 13 appearances. These players include Pantilimon, Latovlevici and Luchin. Sepsi has also been capped once to the "big" team, in the friendly against Russia (3-0) before Euro 2008.

At first sight, he seems like a player who didn't put up with the expectations. But for Poli he is just what was needed. Karamyan doesn't belong at all in defense, meaning that Sepsi will most likely be the preferred player for that spot, leaving the Armenian to play where he plays best. Even if he doesn't play as expected, if he just plays good enough, that is great for Poli. And the transfer sum seems right.

So, welcome aboard, László!

Wikipedia, Youtube interview (Romanian)

Beginning of the year news

Among some useless babbling and as yet unconfirmed rumours, there are also some important things that have already happened for Poli.

The first one, left defender László Sepsi has been transfered from Benfica for €1.2 million, and has signed a contract with Poli for a period of 5 years. More about him in the next post.

Poli's numerous squad will be much lighter at the restart of the season. As announced last year, some players have been let go. Borbely and Rusic have ended their contract agreement. Stancu is free to go for an offer of €200 000. Chițu and Latovlevici will be lent to Gloria Bistrița until the end of the season. The same goes for Vršič, who will play somewhere in his home country, Slovenia, most probably for FC Koper. Brezinsky is said to play once again under Uhrin's command at AEL Limassol.

UPDATE: Dusan Uhrin declared that Borbely is the one he wants for Limassol. He would like Brezinsky, too, but the club only allows him to do one transfer, and he opted for Borbely.

I would regret Brezinsky's departure, as he seemed a good central defender, certainly comparable to Luchin or Nibombe, but probably his injuries have set him back much. And as we really suffered in this compartment last year, I think it is an unfortunate loss. As for the three departures, they were, perhaps, overdue, so nothing to comment there. Hopefully the loaned players will take Bonfim's example and come back in a better form, especially Vršič and Chițu. The former seemed like a good talent, but his agonizing time away from the pitch might have been a too big a hit for him. Chițu is young and needs to play and gain experience, and probably he might make the team next season. Latovlevici, I don't think can improve himself, he's had way too many opportunities to do it and didn't. But he was raised by the club, so I guess it's ok to keep him and improve him as much as possible, in hope of a good transfer.

The rumuours include a possible loan for Contra for 6 months from Getafe and a departure for Gigel Bucur to Dan Petrescu's new club, Kuban Krasnodar. More on this when and if they happen.

Finally, we wish you a happy new year, and wish you to be healthy and able to fullfil your onsets. Also, we hope that 2010 will bring what we all wish for - the championship title for Poli, and that we will celebrate it together.