Two Romanian football clubs have advanced to the Europa League playoffs. CFR Cluj and FCSB moved past the third preliminary round and are one step away from securing their presence in the main group phase. On Thursday’s second leg of the third preliminary round, CFR Cluj trounced Armenia’s champions Alashkert 5-nil. Scoring were Juan Culio on minute 19 from penalty kick, Billel Omrani on minutes 45 and 62, Ovidiu Hoban on minute 58 and Sebastian Mailat in stoppage time. In the first leg played in Yerevan, the Romanian champions had won 2-nil. In the playoffs, CFR will take on Dudelange of Luxemburg, a team that surprisingly ousted Legia Warsaw in the previous round.
FCSB had a more difficult match against Croatia’s Hajduk Split. One week before, our team drew nil-all away from home. In the return leg, FCSB scored first after French striker Harlem Gnohere sent the ball into the back of the net from the white-painted mark. Then on minute 83 Hajduk evened the odds after Italian Ahmed Said scored. FCSB scored the winning goal in the third minute of extra time. Romario Benzar sent a super cross from the right side into the penalty box and Gnohere scored with a header. In the playoffs, FCSB will play Rapid Vienna, a team that knocked out Slovan Bratislava of Slovakia.
Romania’s third representative in Europa League, CSU Craiova, was eliminated by RB Leipzig. In the first leg away from home, Leipzig had won 3-1. The second leg played in Craiova ended 1-all. Scoring for the home team was Raoul Baicu on minute 85, after Marcel Sabitzer had scored for the visiting side on minute 39.
This weekend will see a new round of the Romanian First Football League. On Friday, Politehnica Iasi will play FC Botosani. On Saturday, Astra is playing Dunarea Calarasi at home. Viitorul is taking on Gaz Metan Medias in Ovidiu. On Sunday, FCSB is playing Sepsi Sfantu Gheorghe. CFR is playing Dinamo Bucharest. Monday will see the last two matches of the round: FC Hermannstadt will play FC Voluntari in Targu Mures, while CSU Craiova is playing Concordia Chiajna. CFR tops the league tables with 8 points, followed by FCSB, Sepsi Sfantu Gheorghe and Dinamo, each with 7 points.