Sometimes playing good just isn't enough. You need to play smart and actually take advantage of the opportunities you create. The scene last night was Poli controlling much of the match, but Rapid scoring a one-in-a-million goal from one of the few chances they had, all set in a snow covered field, just barely cleaned before the start of the match.
Despite the conditions, the game had good pace, with Poli trying to make their way right from the start. Sepsi had a first great shot in the 5th minute, which just scratched the post after being slightly deflected. Rapid came back into the game, but they only had one opportunity, the one from which they scored the only goal of the match. While everybody was waiting for Spadacio to shoot from a 35-meter free kick, he instead pushed the ball to Matic, who drove it diagonally right into the corner of the posts.
Poli tried to equalise, with Parks pushing into the box, but being reluctant to give the ball away or his teammates were unable to be at the best place to push it in. In the second half, Sabău raised the stakes by sending Contra in, but the performance from the last match wasn't to be repeated. Mansour's comeback was a flop, perhaps he was a bit afraid of the bad state of the pitch.
Rapid proved to be more dangerous, but only because Poli marched into attack, lowering the guards a bit. Still, they only had three chances - shot wide from Spadacio, a lob which almost caught Taborda unprepared, and a wasted opportunity from Varga, who, found in a good position in the box, only managed a weak shot.
Poli had a lot more chances, but as the game drew to the an end, they were getting more erratic, instead of more dangerous. Alexa started the show, with Chiacu wasting the most opportunities - whether shots from outside the box, or a weak header from 12 meters. Mansour escaped on a clear run for goal, but fumbled it. And many shots from all players and positions, but they were either a bit wide, or blocked by Bornescu. Goga was more involved than previous matches, but still didn't manage a good execution like last week.
Sepsi was one of the best on the pitch - sturdy in defense, but also contributed to the attack, putting a couple of shots on goal as well. Sabău's starting lineup was a bit of a surprise. Pantilimon had a slight injury at the national team, so Taborda was sent it for safety. He did a good job. There was nothing he could do to stop the goal. Bonfim also had to skip this match, and Luchin was moved in his place, leaving Mera and Nibombe in the centre. Overall, the defense played well, with no big mistakes. Chițu debuted for Poli in the championship and also did a good job.
There really isn't anything to blame on the players or the coach, other than the lack of composure shown in front of goal. It was one of those matches that brings out what is beautiful in football and we could talk endlessly on all that was this match, but we have to prepare for Unirea's visit next week.
Poli: Taborda (6) - Sepsi (6), Nibombe (6), Mera (6), Luchin (6) - Chiţu (5,5), Bourceanu (5,5), Alexa (6), Chiacu (5) - Parks (5,5), Goga (5)
Contra (6) for Chiţu (min 55)
Mansour (4,5) for Parks (min 65)
Kozak for Luchin (min 72)