Friday, August 26, 2011

Romania & Ukraine August 2011

Romania & Ukraine August 2011.

Not quite the original plan in a number of ways.

The Romania v Argentina game, that was to open the redeveloped National stadium, was cancelled when the South Americans pulled out.

Dinamo Bucharest were playing behind closed doors, Steaua were playing in different locations and my planned game at Targu Mures game was re-scheduled to an inconvenient time.

So I was left with 4 league games and one Europa League fixture plus a trip to Odessa.

Starting with CS Mioveni 0 Astra Ploiesti 1.

Mioveni is about 130 km from Bucharest and close to Pitesti where I stopped for a look around.

The central pedestrianised area was pleasant enough in the sunshine and many people were out enjoying the weather.

Meanwhile in Mioveni there was a small carnival going on.

Near to which was the central, green and yellow, Dacia stadium.

Appropriately named, not only because of my rental car but also because their main factory is in Mioveni.

Like my car the Mioveni team lacked some acceleration and perhaps a little quality.
Astra always looked in control especially after a controversial headed winner on 20 minutes.

The linesman, given plenty of grief afterwards, signalled that the ball had crossed the line - it was hard to tell from my seat.

The game had plenty of robust tackles and rather too many stoppages.

The men who stood out tended to be in the away side - Argentinian striker Miranda and the Senegalese N’Doye.
Certainly the home side’s Brazilian Roberto Ayza was not the best player from that country,.

So Mioveni, only formed in 2000, struggled to score despite having more possession and just to compound the frustration had a man sent off near the end.
By then the home crowd (a decent 4500) were reconciled to their fate.

I negotiated my way along some bumpy roads and then the motorway back to Bucharest.

With Dinamo Bucharest playing without spectators I next opted for the Concordia game.

Concordia Chiajna 0 Vaslui 3.

Despite being close to Bucharest I didn’t find it easy to locate Chiajna ending up going virtually off-road to the stadium.

Once there it was played in a neat, small and somewhat stylish ground decked out in yellow & green.

The game started fairly even but once Vaslui scored (a Wesley header on 33 minutes) they tended to be in control.
Concordia lacked ideas and were caught on the break a couple of times as the visitors wrapped up the win late on.

The excellent away ultras - some 50 or 60 who had made the very long journey from the east of the country - went home happy.

Steaua Bucharest 2 Univ Cluj 1 played at Astra Ploiesti.

Steaua were playing this game in Ploiesti because of a dispute over them using their own stadium.

The ground is of an inner city type with houses almost attached to the stands.
There is a mix of covered and open seating and the fans are typically close to the action.

A number of the Cluj players, presumably being ex-Dinamo, received plenty of grief.

The away team started well with striker Anthony Nwakaeme (Nigeria) a definite threat.
But as has become a trend the game changed when Steaua scored after Costea had his first effort saved.

That gave Steaua the confidence and they consolidated the lead when sub Rusescu rifled in a 25 yarder.
Although Cluj replied immediately it made no difference to the result.

Surprisingly for me I made it back to the centre of Bucharest in an hour without getting lost.

Vointa Sibiu 1 Targu Mures 1.

My fourth game in the Romanian Liga 1 was played in the very attractive city of Sibiu in Translyvania.

In a way it was a relief to get away from Bucharest and the traffic, lack of good signs and the, at times, manic drivers.
Not that the driving standard was much better anywhere else.

Vointa have made a very quick rise up the Romanian leagues and they are now in the top level for the first time (in this incarnation)

There side comprised only Romanian players unlike the opposition who had a Brazilian and Ba from Senegal.

The municipal ground, a fifteen minute stroll from the historic centre, has a track, covered main stand and curved open seating around the rest of the stadium.
From the main stand there are views of the surrounding mountains.

On another warm evening (they even stopped for drinks after half an hour) the two sides probed until Ba brought down a home forward and Vointa had a penalty.
Unfortunately Antohi’s shot went wide.

The next significant action was the red card for Claudio Bunea of the home side after a reckless tackle.
On 75 minutes Astafei converted when put through but the home side, encouraged by the local fans, forced an equaliser with about five minutes left when defender Forika, up for a corner headed in.

The home fans cheered their team and though they didn’t scored again it was a well deserved draw for the ten men.

I’d missed the Tarja Turunen and Lacuna Coil concerts taking place over the weekend in Sibiu.
but had seen a decent game & afterwards I was back in the centre to sample the local wine.

Steaua Bucharest 2 CSKA Sofia 0 in the Europa League.

Played in Cluj as Steaua continue their tour of ‘home’ games around Romania.

Probably not too many made it from the capital but plenty did turn out (20,000) from the nearby regions on a warm evening.
They stamped their feet to create quite a racket in an atmospheric stadium, albeit with three sides.

The Sofia fans also played their part including unveiling a banner criticising the Steaua president - which went down particularly well.

With the final in Bucharest the Europa League represents a unique opportunity for the five Romanian teams to play a final in their own country.
Being the best supported local club Steaua obviously would like a piece of this action.

And they are likely to progress further after this match although probably not to the final.

The goals came from defender Galamaz and Brazilian Tatu.

Steaua survived some near things but merited the win.

At one time it looked like we might have a ‘Malmo’ situation with the Sofia fans letting off fireworks but after some stern warnings (‘the Bulgarian fans will go out of the stadium’) it settled down.

With a hotel about 200m from the ground I could dispense with the car and stroll to and from the stadium.

Chornomorets Odessa 0 Volyn Lutsk 0.

A diversion to the seaport of Odessa, via Timisoara in Romania, to watch the home side play at the Spartak stadium before they move into their redeveloped central stadium.

The Spartak comprises just two sides of mostly opening seating with a small, raised, covered VIP area.

The game itself was watchable with the very tall Lutsk team looking especially dangerous on crosses but neither side could create much from open play.

The ‘woodwork’ was hit 3 or 4 times but it ended goalless and brought to end my personal scoring run of over 70 matches.

Odessa provided plenty of attractions including some quality beer from a micro brewery and a pre-game meal of caviar and irish coffee - not my usual refreshment.

In port was an italian training ship, some of its occupants would no doubt be searching out the local entertainment.

more pictures at

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