Sabău resigns as Poli's coach

Despite having the management's approvement, Sabău decided not to continue, most probably due to the fact that he has been contested by the fans. Although he managed a lower position that we achieved last season, some very good results have been achieved during his time in Timișoara: the elimination of UEFA Cup holders Shaktar from the Champions League qualifiers, a good performance in the Europa League, and the double win against Dinamo in the championship.

I leave you with an interview:

Are you satisfied with your achievements?

Yes, with a few exceptions. The season ending was difficult, but I'd like to thank and congratulate the players for what we've achieved together, because I believe they have outperformed themselves. In the last few stages we've had a lot of problems due to injuries. There were matches when I could basically rely on only 10 players.

So why did you decide to resign?

I cannot answer this question. It's better that way, because I don't want to leave opportunities for misinterpretations and arguements.

Are you relieved now? You seemed very tense in the last period.

I am not at all relieved. I didn't want it to end. I'm convinced the next year would have been better. The players are already used to my methods and they've grown some good habits. We could have achieved much more.

What about your relation with the management?

I've had a very good collaboration with mr. Iancu, with mr. Chivorchian (president) and with Daniel Stanciu (sports manager). I have nothing bad to say.

Mr. Iancu seems to be very impressed by you. What do you have to say?

He had his arguments to support me. I respect him and everyone I have worked with. I believe this is how to part ways.

Source: ProSport


Poli - FC Braşov 1:2 (0:2)

With no motivation whatsoever and a battered lineup, Poli had no say in the last match of the season. Fifteen minutes in, we were already two goals down due to a dreamy defense which left Taborda with little chance in front of the attackers. Brezinsky, who has played a lot for the second team, didn't seem to fit in the team, Luchin was taking all the wrong decisions, while Maxim was easily overtaken on the left.

Our big opportunities were a weak shot from Magera, and a good header from Curtean, who other than that made himself noticed by takend several chances on his own, but they all ended the same way, with the ball drifting inches past either post.

Goga was not only absent from the game, but when he did touch the ball, it all went wrong, which brought out his substitution with Mejia in the second half. Our goal came after a cross from Cociș and a header from Chiacu, right after another big opportunity in which he missed the ball miserably in the middle of the box. Other than that, the right-winger, who substituted Maxim at half time, wasn't to be seen in the match.

Mejia sped up the game a bit, but it wasn't until later that he actually managed to pass a few defenders and provide a good ball. The goal came quite early in the second half, but our players couldn't find the equaliser, the game ending with a very big miss, when Magera and Cociș couldn't get past the keeper.

It's disappointing to end the championship with a loss, especially in front of the fans, but we have gotten used to poor endings in the past seasons. Even with the win, we would have finished 5th, as both Vaslui and Steaua had won their games. Poli will play in the third round of the Europa League qualifiers, as a seeded team. If we get to the play-off, we will most probably encounter a tough adversary.

Until then, some changes and clarifications are sure to take place.

Poli: Taborda (6) - Bourceanu (5), Luchin (4,5), Brezinsky (4,5), Maxim (4,5) - Curtean (4,5), Alexa (5,5), Cociş (6), Sepsi (5) - Magera (5,5), Goga (4,5)


Chiacu (5,5) for Maxim (min 45)
Mejia for Goga (min 74)


Pandurii - Poli 0:0

A hard match awaited at Tg. Jiu, where lots of the big teams couldn't manage a victory. Indeed the first half was a cautionary battle at midfield, with little dangerous opportunities. Poli tried to play their passing game, but usually some sort of miscalculation or goof would put an end to our attack. Pandurii, struggling to jump above the relegation line, tried ambitiously to be dangerous on the counter attack, but the balls thrown into our box, couldn't be intercepted by their attackers. Towards the half-time whistle, Magera and Curtean tried some long distance shots, but only the Czech managing to hit the target.

In the second half, Poli pushed a lot harder, and due to a harsher pressing, we managed to keep the ball inside their half althroughout. The opportunities succeeded one another, but the goal failed to come. Pandurii massed all their players into their own box, as if on a courageous last stand, making it very hard for us to drive the ball into a good position. Goga decided to try his shot whenever he could, even though at times a pass to a teammate would have been much better. Bourceanu was perhaps the most inspired when he turned no less than 3 defenders, and when everybody thought he had a clear shot on goal, a 4th appeared in front to block him! The best chance of the game took place very late in the game, in the 88th minute. Cociș was found somewhere on the 6 yard line, with his back to the goal. He made an excellent turn, avoiding the defender at his back, shot diagonally past the keeper, but, again, a defender was in the way, blocking the ball right off the goal line. So frustrating!

The last stage of the championship poses only one last battle - for the 3rd, 4th and 5th places. Incredibly, Poli, Steaua and Vaslui are tied at 59 points, with advantage for Steaua, having better direct results. The stake is whether to start the Europa League qualifiers in the 3rd round or in the 2nd one and our objective is to somehow finish above Steaua. That means that Steaua shouldn't win. Considering that we win against Brașov, of course.

Poli: Taborda (6) - Luchin (5,5), Cisovsky (6), Nibombe (6), Maxim (5,5) - Curtean (4,5), Bourceanu (5,5), Sepsi (6) - Cociş (5,5), Magera (5,5), Goga (5)

Substitutions: None


Poli - Gaz Metan Mediaş 0:2 (0:1)

Poli started with a similar lineup to the last four games or so, this time Magera, coming back from a suspension, taking Goga's place in attack. We played good in the first half, trying the goal and not letting the adversary get close to ours. Magera, especially was very active, trying to score from different situations: from a cross, a volley, from a free kick. Curtean managed a surprise shot, which although not very powerful, fooled the goalkeeper, but hit the bar. At a prolonged attack, the ball snaps back to Contra, whose shot hits the top post, comes down inches behind the line, but the referees don't see it, and we are deprived of a valid goal. To make matters worse, Cisovsky tries a trick in defense, but is depossesed, which leads to the first goal of the match.

Things didn't look so bad, as we had played well enough. However, as we got used under these situations, the second half brought out an uninspired play, with little foresight for a goal. To make matters even worse, Contra made an irational gesture, going into Silvășan (ex-Poli player) not only with a tackle for the ball, but also with an elbow to the face. Undoubtul elimination. As we pushed forward, we were very often caught on the counter attack, with only 2 or 3 defenders against several attackers. After a shot in the bar, the second goal finally came close to the end. We weren't able to create any big opportunities, and the numerous corner kicks and free kicks have been - as usual - unfruitful.

An unexpected and sad defeat, which leaves us on a lowly 4th place. The final two matches shouldn't change much, although there is hope for the second place but very improbable. 3rd or 4th place are the same for us, leading to the same spot in the Europa League qualifiers. So I guess the objective for the championship finale is to remain above Steaua (5th place). Very feasible, indeed.

Poli: Pantilimon (4,5) - Bonfim (4,5), Luchin (5), Cisovsky (4), Sepsi (5,5) - Curtean (5), Bourceanu (4,5), Alexa (5), Contra (4) - Magera (4,5), Cociş (4,5)


Goga (4,5) for Bourceanu (min 45)
Parks (4,5) for Curtean (min 60)
Ionescu for Magera (min 74)


Dinamo - Poli 1:2 (0:1)

There is a big contrast between the importance of this victory and the actual quality of the game. The first half was easily one of the most boring ones we've played this season. Dinamo welcomed us with a highly improvised, cropped up line-up due to several absences on their part. I guess Poli just didn't bother seeing how weak their adversaries were, and as a consequence the first part was a just a mish-mash of wrong passes and uninspired play. We based our game on long passes, despite the fast one-touch passing style Sabău has been trying to impose for quite some matches now. This meant that we would let the opponents keep the ball more than us, but it was a great idea overall, because they just didn't prove dangerous at all, and in the end it brought our goal one minute before the half-time whistle. Contra lobbed the ball past the line of defense and Goga was one meter ahead of them since Boștină, forced to play left-back, eliminated the offside position. Goga shot on the near corner and the half ended with a relaxing 1-0 for us. The only other opportunity was a header from Cociș after a corner kick, but it was too central, and the keeper's reflex blocked it out.

The second half quickly brought us the second goal. Just three minutes in, an excellent pass from Sepsi, found us 3 against 2, with two more players coming forward. Still, Cociș decided to try his luck, and Curcă had no reaction as the ball went in at the near corner again.

As we have been accustomed, Poli relaxed a lot and through lack of concentration conceded a goal, which spiced things up, when the game could have easily and with no emotions went our way. The first sign was a powerful shot from 30 meters by Niculae. It was going right under the bar, but Taborda made an excellent save. With half an hour to go, a long cross had found the same Niculae inside the box, between Luchin and Bonfim, with Cisovsky nowhere in sight. From such a good position, the attacker easily executed Taborda with a shot a diagonal shot to the far corner.

Of course, the goal put fear on our players and Dinamo seemed more dangerous. N'Doye had a good shot from a sharp angle, but was blocked by Taborda. Towards the end, Poli managed to hold the ball a bit more and kept the danger way, except for conceding a free kick right in the last minute of added time. Fortunately, the cross couldn't be met by any players and this marked a historic win for Poli.

This is our first win on Dinamo's turf after 45 years! And since Sabău had already managed bust another myth by defeating them at home after 12 years, he enters history by becoming Poli's first coach to defeat Dinamo twice in the same season!

As far as this championship goes, CFR only managed a draw against Vaslui, which means there will be a very intense fight in the last 3 matches. Poli is third, just 2 points behind, but Urziceni has only one point difference. Vaslui and Steaua also wait for any missed step as they are only 2 points behind us.

A very interesting finale indeed.

Poli: Taborda (6) - Bonfim (5,5), Luchin (5,5), Cisovsky (5,5), Sepsi (6) - Curtean (6), Alexa (6), Contra (6,5), Bourceanu (6) - Cociş (6,5), Goga (6,5)


Dede for Curtean (min 77)
Parks for Cociş (min 81)
Maxim for Contra (min 86)


Poli - Oţelul 2:1 (2:0)

Another match in which Poli showed us its two faces. They easily controlled the first half, sealing an early 2 goal lead. First, in the 5th minute, Bonfim dashed down the side line after a pass from Cociș, and managed a sliding cross, where a brilliant Magera took the face of the defender and appeared out of nowhere at the near post to push it in. In the 11th minute, Alexa provides an excellent header from close range, after a free kick from the right, but the keeper manages to block it. And the next minute, the same Alexa gives a long ball for Cociș, who is one foot ahead of the defenders. The keeper comes out, and our striker finds the perfect opportunity to lob the ball over him and score. Like I said, Poli had a very good half, controlling the game, passing the ball around, with a visible relaxation given by the advantage. Despite this, the only two chances, came from long distance shots, first from Alexa, and then a very good effort from Curtean.

Half time was a changing moment, as we came out less concentrated, while Oțelul put pressure on use, looking for the goal. The threat appeared very early, in the 48th minute, when our defense made an almost fatal mistake at a free kick. Two attackers were left at least two meters in front of the defense, no offside, but luckily the header was poor. The goal in the 58th minute sort of poured lead in our shoes. Nibombe tried to clear gracefully, but he lost the ball. Axente, our player on loan to Oțelul, who had also scored against us in the away match, found the ball at his feet, took a quick looked to see Taborda a bit out and swerved the ball over him, into the net.

Oțelul had another big chance, when a player dashed into the box on the side, past Taborda who came to meet him, and got into a position similar to the one from where Deac scored against us on the goal line in the last home match, but our defense grouped quickly to block him. Although that was their last serious effort, Poli played more weary and uninspired, with the last few minutes bringing big chances for us, but with a fear that we might concede a goal towards the end. Fortunately, it wasn't to be.

First a long distance shot from Magera in the 70th minute, and then another one from Alexa with 3 minutes to go, both coming very close to the target. The biggest chance of the match came soon after, when Bonfim dashed on the right, luring three defenders and passing to Magera who was completely alone on the other side. He leaves the ball for Maxim, who tries a dribble, but slips right when he was about to shoot. Magera reposses the ball, but his shot is blocked. The ball jumps to him again, this time the keeper blocks, and then is quick enough to jump at Kozaks feet and stop him from scoring.

All in all a good effort from the team, and three precious points for the championship. CFR Cluj and Steaua have lost, leaving a slight opportunity for the title. But Vaslui and Urziceni have won, which means that the battle for second place is still fierce. Next match is against bitter rivals Dinamo, who are 6 behind us. It would be excellent to score a victory on their pitch, after 45 years!

Poli: Taborda (5,5) - Bonfim (6), Luchin (6), Nibombe (5,5), Sepsi (6) - Curtean (5,5), Contra (6), Alexa (6,5), Bourceanu (6) - Magera (6,5), Cociş (6,5)


Dede for Contra (min 74)
Kozak for Cociş (min 74)
Maxim for Curtean (min 87)