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Season review: Romania

Published: Saturday 8 June 2013, 12.20CET
FC Steaua București ended a seven-year wait for the First Division championship while FC Petrolul Ploiești's steady rise to fame yielded a third Romanian Cup.
by Paul-Daniel Zaharia
from Bucharest
Season review: Romania
Vlad Chiricheş (second right) leads the Steaua celebrations ©Getty Images
Published: Saturday 8 June 2013, 12.20CET

Season review: Romania

FC Steaua București ended a seven-year wait for the First Division championship while FC Petrolul Ploiești's steady rise to fame yielded a third Romanian Cup.

After seven years in the wilderness, FC Steaua București's goal to re-establish themselves among the elite of Romanian football gathered momentum courtesy of a 24th league title. The success of Laurențiu Reghecampf's runaway leaders was in stark contrast to the travails of sixth-placed FC Dinamo Bucureşti, who will not feature in Europe next term for the first time in 15 years. Deposed champions CFR 1907 Cluj also endured an underwhelming campaign, finishing eighth. 

Champions: FC Steaua București
The destination of the First Division championship was never in doubt from the moment Steaua strode to the summit eight matches in. Reghecampf's team recorded 24 wins and plundered a league-high 74 goals en route to clinching the crown with five games to spare. The capital club fell short of surpassing the class of 1989, though, when 31 victories and 103 goals steered Steaua to glory. 

Cup final: FC Petrolul Ploiești 1-0 FC CFR 1907 Cluj
Jeremy Bokila's eighth-minute strike proved sufficient to take Petrolul to their third cup and first since 1995. The showpiece fixture was eight minutes old when Bokila capitalised on a defensive mistake and found the net with aplomb. A hard-fought contest ensued, with two sides trading blows in their first cup meeting. With the clock ticking down, CFR captain Cadú was centimetres away from conjuring a dramatic equaliser but it was not to be for the 2012 champions.

Player of the year: Alexandru Bourceanu (FC Steaua București)
Perhaps not the most technically gifted, the Steaua captain – a regular at international level for Romania – nonetheless oozes leadership qualities. Honest and wholeheartedly committed, the 28-year-old midfield linchpin scored just twice in a lean season, yet saved those rare goals for crucial moments.

One to watch: Gabriel Iancu (FC Steaua București)
The Bucharest-born 19-year-old rose through the ranks at the Gheorghe Hagi Academy in Constanta and joined Steaua from FC Viitorul Constanța in the winter break. An attacking midfielder with an eye for goal, Iancu was handed his Romania Under-21 debut in 2012 after starring at U19 and U17 levels. Expect covetous glances from Europe's elite.

Surprise package: CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu 
Founded in 1962, the club from humble beginnings gained top-flight status for the first time in 2005. Following an eighth-place finish last season, few would have predicted a historic runners-up berth this term. Coached by Petre Grigoraș and later Cristian Pustai, Pandurii took the plaudits for playing an eye-catching brand of football while nurturing several Romanian internationals, including Dan Nistor and Alexandru Vlad. 

Leading scorer: Raul Rusescu, FC Steaua București (21)

**Relegated: CS Concordia Chiajna, CS Turnu Severin, CSMS Iași, ACF Gloria 1922 Bistrița

Promoted: FC Botoșani, AFC Săgeata Năvodari, ASC Corona 2010 Brașov, ACS Poli Timișoara

Number: 24
Steaua captured their 24th title by winning as many games.

Quote
"I have no reason to be disappointed but every reason to be proud this season." Steaua boss Reghecampf on his team's triumph

Last updated: 08/06/13 15.48CET

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