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Season review: Romania

Published: Monday 14 June 2010, 9.00CET
CFR Cluj won the double for the second time in what was a captivating campaign in Romania, where a clutch of clubs were in contention for the championship until the season entered the final straight.
by Paul-Daniel Zaharia
from Bucharest
Season review: Romania
CFR were league and cup winners in 2009/10 ©CFR 1907 Cluj
Published: Monday 14 June 2010, 9.00CET

Season review: Romania

CFR Cluj won the double for the second time in what was a captivating campaign in Romania, where a clutch of clubs were in contention for the championship until the season entered the final straight.

CFR 1907 Cluj came out on top at the end of the tightest Romanian championship in history. With 12 matches to play two points separated the top six and although the title contenders were soon whittled down to three teams, Andrea Mandorlini's squad had to wait until the penultimate round to secure the title despite having led the division since the halfway stage. CFR ultimately finished three points clear of FC Unirea Urziceni, who nonetheless finished with the lowest number of losses in the 34-match campaign − four.

Champions: CFR 1907 Cluj
CFR fully deserved their second title in three seasons despite a campaign in which they changed coach. Having replaced António Conceição in November, Italian boss Mandorlini guided CFR to the Liga I summit at the season's midway point, a position they would not relinquish. Not only did they register the most victories in the division – 20 – and have the tightest defence (23 conceded), but, like last term, CFR also finished unbeaten at home.

Cup final: CFR 1907 Cluj 0-0 SC Vaslui (CFR win 5-4 on pens)
CFR lifted the Romanian Cup for the third successive season and with it completed the domestic double for the second time, having previously achieved the feat in 2008. Vaslui, competing in their first final, fashioned more opportunities over 120 minutes but a combination of profligate finishing and excellent goalkeeping from CFR's Nuno Claro ensured the need for spot kicks. Taking the first penalty of the shoot-out, Nemanja Milisavljević proved to be the only player not to score as CFR made it a hat-trick of cup victories.

European places*
CFR 1907 Cluj – UEFA Champions League group stage
FC Unirea Urziceni – UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
SC Vaslui – UEFA Europa League play-offs
FC Steaua Bucureşti – UEFA Europa League play-offs
FC Timişoara – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round
FC Dinamo Bucureşti or FC Rapid Bucureşti (TBC) – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Cadú (CFR 1907 Cluj)
The official honour in Romania is handed out at the end of the calendar year so awards the pick of the season's performers to CFR captain Cadú. The Portuguese led his side in every sense of the word while also contributing five goals from defence. He also struck the winning penalty in his team's cup triumph.

One to watch: Mihai Răduţ (FC Internaţional Curtea de Argeş)
The 20-year-old midfielder enjoyed a fine season even though his club only retained their top-flight status by a slender two points. He joined the youth team at Sporting Clube de Portugal in 2007 but soon returned home, helping Internaţional win promotion to Liga I two years later. Răduţ made his international debut as a substitute in a friendly loss to Ukraine on 29 May before featuring in a 3-0 defeat of FIFA World Cup finals contenders Honduras seven days later.

Surprise package: SC Vaslui
Hailing from a town with a population of only 70,000, Vaslui have been on the rise since winning promotion to the top flight five years ago. They have improved their position in each subsequent campaign, posting a third-place finish − not to mention a cup final appearance − in 2010. Owner Adrian Porumboiu, who has invested heavily in the club since taking charge, is not resting there, though – the former FIFA referee has demanded the double in 2010/11.

Leading scorer: Andrei Cristea, FC Dinamo 1948 Bucureşti (16)

Number: 37
Home league matches without defeat for CFR; their last reverse was a 2-1 loss to CS Pandurii Lignitul Târgu Jiu on 6 April 2008.

Relegated: CS Pandurii Lignitul Târgu Jiu, FC Politehnica Iaşi, FC Ceahlaul Piatra Neamţ, FC Unirea Alba Iulia

Promoted: FC Victoria Brăneşti, FC Sportul Studenţesc Bucureşti, FCM Târgu Mureş, CFM Universitatea Cluj

"I don't necessarily want a team which entertains, but definitely a team that wins. Our way of playing reflects how I am. I am Italian and I love being Italian. Our national style of football is very well organised and that's how I've always been. That kind of discipline is something specific to Italian football. Me and the teams I coach will always be like that and I am happy to have succeded in doing a great job with Cluj."
CFR coach Mandorlini champions the virtues of an Italian approach to football

Last updated: 14/06/10 10.53CET

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