Monthly review: FC Sheriff have continued to dominate at home during a fine international month for Moldova.
By Miron Goihman
It has been a month to remember internationally for Moldova, but domestically FC Sheriff have continued to dominate.
Sheriff in charge
Sheriff, bidding for a fifth consecutive First Division title, are on a run of seven straight victories and have 28 points from their first ten games. Romanian Under-21 international striker Razvan Cocis has continued his superb form for his new club, scoring seven goals in his last six appearances. Hot on Sheriff's heels are FC Nistru Otaci, who have won every match since losing to Sheriff in mid-September and remain within four points of the leaders.
CSF Zimbru Chisinau are a further three points adrift, not helped by a 0-0 draw at city rivals FC Unisport-Auto Chisinau on 16 October. Indeed, while Zimbru have not conceded for 400 minutes, they have scored one goal or less in seven of their ten games to date, with the returning Serghei Clescenco not hitting the heights of previous years.
Elsewhere, last season's second division champions CS Steaua Chisinau are yet to win, but all the sides outside the top three are already losing touch with the title contenders. Fourth-placed FC Tiligul Tiraspol may hope to make up lost ground, though, after signing Moldovan international midfielder Valeriy Andronik, who endured a frustrating spell at FC Dinamo Moskva following his Hungarian championship-winning success with MTK Hungária FC.
On the international stage, Moldova lost 4-0 in Belarus in the first of this month's FIFA World Cup qualifiers, but recovered to hold Scotland 1-1 at home. Meanwhile, Moldova overcame Belarus and drew with Scotland in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship, and progressed for the first time to the second qualifying round of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship - as the best third-placed team from the 12 groups. Moldova also reached the equivalent stage of the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship.
Meanwhile, PFC CSKA Moskva striker Serguei Dadu became the first Moldovan to play in the UEFA Champions League group stage when he took on Chelsea FC. Compatriot Ivan Testimizanu has also reached the semi-finals of Asia's AFC Champions League with Korean Republic club Seongnam Ilhwa FC, though he missed the goalless first leg with Uzbekistani outfit FC Pakhtakor Tashkent through injury.