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Pandurii reveling in underdog status

Published: Monday 16 September 2013, 8.46CET
Romanian outfit CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu have cultivated a reputation for defying the odds and will look to do so again when they host FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in Group E.
by Paul-Daniel Zaharia
from Bucharest
Pandurii reveling in underdog status
Cristian Pustai took over the Pandurii reins in January ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

PanduriiDnipro

Goals scored3
 
13
Possession (%)48
 
52
Total attempts75
 
112
on target21
 
50
off target33
 
37
blocked21
 
25
against woodwork1
 
2
Corners29
 
52
Offsides17
 
23
Yellow cards15
 
12
Red Cards0
1
Fouls committed77
 
98
Fouls suffered62
 
103
Passes2398
 
2870
completed1910
 
2224

Press kits

  • Match press kit (local language)

Standings

Last updated: 20/06/2014 00:23 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Monday 16 September 2013, 8.46CET

Pandurii reveling in underdog status

Romanian outfit CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu have cultivated a reputation for defying the odds and will look to do so again when they host FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in Group E.

CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu may not be blessed with the infrastructure, facilities and fan base to match some of Romanian football's more established names, but their unwavering team spirit should stand them in good stead during Thursday's Group E opener at home to FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.

Founded in 1962, the club from Targu Jiu have made significant strides since taking their place in the top flight for the first time in 2005. Having twice wriggled free of the relegation noose, Pandurii turned heads in 2011/12 as coach Petre Grigoraș led them to seventh place. They then eclipsed that feat 12 months later under the stewardship of former CS Gaz Metan Mediaş boss Cristian Pustai, finishing second to clinch a European berth for the first time in their history.

For a club that had become synonymous with upsetting the odds, it came as little surprise when they emerged from the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round by edging out Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC 3-2 on aggregate. Better was to come in the play-offs, though, as Pustai's charges overturned a 1-0 first-leg deficit against SC Braga by posting a remarkable 2-0 victory in Portugal after extra time.

Much of Pandurii's success can be attributed to their shrewd dealings in the transfer market. Indeed, players have been picked up at bargain prices and sold for considerable profit, including Romania captain Vlad Chiricheş, who was snapped up by FC Steaua Bucureşti before sealing a move to Tottenham Hotspur FC this summer. Meanwhile, VfB Stuttgart snared attacking midfielder Alexandru Maxim for €1.5m, Dan Nistor left for Évian Thonon Gaillard FC and versatile defender Vlad Alexandru joined Dnipro.

Moving in the opposite direction, a raft of foreign imports, including captain Paraskevas Christou and midfielder Nicandro Breeveld, have swelled Pandurii's talented ranks, while 27-year-old playmaker Eric Pereira has set pulses racing since he arrived from Gaz Metan. Brazilian-born Eric has applied for Romanian citizenship after spending six years in the country with an international call-up a possibility one day.

"Everyone is confident," said Eric, after Pandurii warmed up for Thursday's historic encounter with Dnipro by defeating FC Dinamo Bucureşti 2-1. "Nobody gave us a chance before the qualifying rounds but we did it. Why shouldn't we be confident and dream of reaching the knockout stages?"

Last updated: 16/09/13 8.48CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2014/matches/round=2000469/match=2012485/prematch/preview/index.html#pandurii+primed+dnipro

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