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Rednic fuels Universitatea ambition

Published: Tuesday 27 July 2004, 13.31CET
The Romanian championship starts on Friday, with FC Universitatea Craiova out to challenge the Bucharest clubs. features

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Published: Tuesday 27 July 2004, 13.31CET

Rednic fuels Universitatea ambition

The Romanian championship starts on Friday, with FC Universitatea Craiova out to challenge the Bucharest clubs.
The 87th Romanian championship begins on Friday, and the big question is whether any team will emerge to challenge the traditional dominance of the capital's big three sides, FC Dinamo Bucuresti, FC Steaua Bucaresti and AFC Rapid Bucaresti.

Universitatea success
Not since 1991 has the First Division title left Bucharest, when FC Universitatea Craiova were champions, but there are signs that this season Universitatea might once again be pushing for honours.

Lofty ambitions
Universitatea and their coach Mircea Rednic seem determined to turn the championship into a four-horse race. Rednic has brought in experienced strikers Ionel Tersinio Gane and Rubenilson, a Brazilian, and Universitatea could be the surprise package of the campaign alongside FC National Bucuresti.

Turbulent time
Elsewhere, it has been a turbulent summer. Eight clubs have changed coach, with FC Farul Constanta doing so twice in quick succession. Petre Grigoras is now in charge, while in recent days Dumitru Dumitriu has taken over at FC Politehnica AEK Timisoara after Basarab Panduru's sudden departure.

Title favourites
There has been no such upheaval at Dinamo, last season's double winners and the title favourites, where Ioan Andone remains as coach. His team have lost only two key players - defender Cosmin Barcauan to Ukrainian side FC Shakhtar Donetsk, and midfielder Dan Alexa to China's Beijing Guoan FC. To compensate, four signings have been made in Liviu Ciobotariu, Cristian Irimia, George Galamaz and Dennis Serban.

Steaua threat
Last season's runners-up Steaua are aiming to go one better this term, and coach Victor Piturca has brought in national-team players Petre Marin and Andrei Cristea to help achieve this goal.

Hoping for rapid results
Rapid, with 35-year-old Razvan Lucescu installed as coach, have also added to their squad and hope that a blend of youth and experience will produce results. The Karamian twins join from FC Arsenal Kyiv, and Marius Constantin and Lucian Burdujan are the other newcomers. Whatever the final outcome, it promises to be a memorable campaign.

Last updated: 27/07/04 19.18CET

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