This match has lived up to its name as a confrontation between the 2nd and 3rd placed teams. And for this championship that means a fast-paced game, lots of goals and a dramatic finish, but with lots of errors, poor quality football, the battle in midfield and the opportunities being decided by goofs rather than by brilliant play.
Sabău had sent in, as usual, a weird lineup. With Alexa being suspended, Angolan Dede made his debut for Poli, but his close-ups cast a rather dark light upon him: a clash with Arman Karamyan, two injuries and a loose marking at the first goal. Contra and Bourceanu weren't as effective as the last match, Steaua dominating the first half, and Cociș again not being integrated with the rest of the team.
Golanski had the first opportunity coming in from the left and rattling the sidebar. Taborda was providential in front of Kapetanos and Plesan, the former being a big threat, especially in the air, to our defenders. In the 33rd minute a corner kick could only be deflected to the side, where Golanski moved the balled past Dede and scored from close range. Our only chance of the first half came from a nice flow that found Goga a meter ahead of his man, but his dash wasn't what you would expect and his last moment shot was straight into Zapata.
Without any modifications at half time, somehow the tide had changed into our favour, and the first chance found Bonfim completely open inside the box, but he showed this was a rather unusual position for him, and he poorely delivered the cross. Our goal came in the 50th minute after, of course, a bad pass from Plesan at midfield. Goga was quick to react, opened Cocis perfectly, who dahsed away to score past Zapata.
The game stagnated, with one opportunity each close to the 80 minute mark. Kapetanos was again stopped by Taborda, and Goga managed to go past a couple of defenders, but his shot went way over. Throughout this championship, both Poli and Steaua have managed to score many goals in the last 10 minutes, sealing crucial points. Indeed, it was exactly the 80th minute when, at an action inside our box, Bonfim was to slow to clear, and our ex-player - Artiom (who replaced his brother) stole the ball and was brought down by the Brazilian. Kapetanos transformed the penalty, the ball going under Taborda, who was very close to stop it.
Sabău acted quickly, risking everything by substituting a defender - Mera, for Magera. The game quickly switched in our favour. Bonfim made up for his error, being brought down in the box. Contra executed without emotions and Poli hoped for more. Just 3 minutes later, with one before injury time, Cociș won a free-kick close to the left corner of the box. Contra executed well, the wall deflected the ball to the other side of the goal and Poli was alredy celebrating. Sabău quickly introduced Nibombe to guard this advantage.
In the last minute, however, Kozak lost the ball midfield, and our defense was caught outnumbered. A diagonal cross met Kapetanos on the right, Taborda was there to block him, but the ball jumped to Jelev, who pushed it into the empty goal.
A draw that helps none of the teams. CFR Cluj has gained a 6 point advantage and it seems impossible for them to lose the title now. Urziceni have jumped over Poli and Steaua, with 53 points, the same as Steaua, while Poli is just one point behind. Vaslui still has to play, and a win for them will bring them on level terms with us.
As you can see, a very tight battle for top positions, each striving for a better spot in the European competitions. It will be tought, but we hope that in the end we will be above all of them.
Poli: Taborda (6,5) - Sepsi (5), Cisovsky (6), Mera (6), Bonfim (5) - Bourceanu (6), Contra (7), Dede (6), Curtean (5) - Cociş (6), Goga (5,5)
Kozak (4) for Dede (min 66)
Magera for Mera (min 83)
Nibombe for Curtean (min 90)