Three Romanian football teams on Thursday proved their mettle in the in the first leg as part of the Conference League's third preliminary round. Away from home, CFR Cluj played Shakhtar Soligorsk of the Belarus. As a result of a UEFA resolution to ban official matches hosted by Russia or Belarus, the game was hosted by the Turkish city of Adapazari. CFR Cluj had the upper hand all throughout the game, yet the Romanians were held to a blank draw, so CFR are the favorites to winning the tie. The return leg is scheduled in Cluj-Napoca this coming Thursday. If they outclass Shakhtar Soligorsk, CFR Cluj will play a playoff fixture ahead of the Conference League group stage, taking on the winner of the match pitting Slovenia's NK Maribor against Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi of Finland, counting towards Europa League preliminaries. In the first leg this past Thursday, the Finnish team won 2-nil, away from home.
In Poland's Lublin, Unversitatea Craiova sustained a nil-1 away defeat by Zarya Lugansk of Ukraine. With no official match on their record sheet so far, Zarya Lugansk had the upper hand all throughout the game and won, thanks to Denis Nahnoinyi's goal in minute 56, so the decisive qualifying match will be next Thursday's fixture in Craiova. If they advance to the competition's next stage, in the playoffs Universitatea take on the winner of the match pitting Swiss team FC Lugano against Hapoel Beer-Sheva of Israel. In the first leg, the latter team grabbed a 2-nil win, away from home.
The only Romanian team to have played a home game this past Thursday, Sepsi Sfântu Gheorghe, sustained a 1-3 defeat by Djugaarden of Sweden. Scoring for the guests were Victor Edvardsen, who turned a penalty kick into a goal on 26 minutes and Joel Asoro, who scored in minutes 31 and 53. Sepsi's Alexandru Tudorie on 79 minutes turned a penalty kick into a goal. Sepsi's qualification chances are very slim, but if they outclass Djugaarden, Sepsi will play the winner of the match pitting APOEL Nicosia of Cyprus against FC Kyzyljar Petropavlovsk of Kazahstan. On Thursday APOEL Nicosia grabbed a 1-nil home win. On Wednesday in the Conference League's third preliminary round, FCSB defeated Slovakia's Dunajska Streda, 1-nil, away.
Matches counting towards Romanian football Superleague's fourth round are played at the weekend. On Friday, Universitatea Cluj face Petrolul Ploiesti. On Sarturday, CS Mioveni play a home game against FCSB, while in Bucharest, Rapid take on FC Argeș. On Sunday, Sepsi Sfântu Gheorghe are pitted against UTA Arad, Chindia Târgoviște face CFR Cluj, while FC U Craiova take on Universitatea Craiova. The fourth round's last two fixtures are scheduled this coming Monday, when FC Hermannstadt play FC Voluntari, while FC Botoșani go against Farul Constanța. Farul and FC Botoșani are at the top of the as-it-stands table, with 7 points each. (EN)