Politehnica Timisoara will play on Saturday in the first round of the second league play-out. The opponent will be Minaur Baia Mare, and the match will be played away from home, from 11 am.
Sekulic (suspended) and D. Benzar are unavailable for Timisoara. The latter was injured in the match against Dinamo and will be out for about a month.
In the Group A standings, Poli is in 7th place, last with 13 points, while Baia Mare is one place higher, with three points more.
The group also includes Unirea Slobozia, CSM Slatina, FK Ciksereda Miercurea Ciuc, CSC Șelimbăr and Metaloglobus București. The teams entered with full regular season points. They will play each other, tour only (seven rounds, six games each). The teams in 6th and 7th place will be relegated directly to League III. The fifth-placed teams in the two play-out groups will play a two-legged play-off to stay in League II.
Statements from today’s press conference:
Octavian Benga, Politehnica coach: “We have a very tough trip ahead of us from all points of view. Again a long trip, quite quickly, I wouldn’t have wished so quickly to have immediately after Dinamo, after the stage that was played on Sunday, and to have it so quickly. We arrived on Monday, Sunday night into Monday. We tried to restore the players as quickly as possible, both physically and mentally. Because it was a big drain both physically and mentally. That’s the situation, that’s the draw, and we’re going to Baia Mare, where we have a very tough game ahead of us, on a pretty tough court, from what I’ve seen in the pictures, and I think it’s going to be a battle game, more, a game in which duels are going to count a lot and I hope we can pick ourselves up, we’ve also trained this week on these aspects, to be ready for this game and the way the new Baia Mare coach is approaching it. I hope the game will be played under the auspices of fair play again. That is to say, to have fair refereeing or to have mostly fair refereeing, because I remember the first leg when our victory was influenced by refereeing mistakes and I hope that this will not happen again and the best team will win this match. Due to refereeing mistakes we were robbed of the victory in the Baia Mare match, that’s what I specified, because it ended in a draw. If we had received at least one penalty out of three, I think the result would have been different. Or if their player Mondragon, who deserved the second yellow and should have got it… had a red card. I hope it doesn’t happen again and the game is just on the pitch and it’s a positive atmosphere for football. It’s clear that in this match our players were very motivated, we played a tactically solid game, first of all, and more than likely mentally we are better. Because the expectations were high compared to the Dinamo match, even if we only drew. But we saw a progress from my point of view of the team, both physically and tactically, it’s also normal, because it was played in some sensational football conditions, that’s how football should be and I think also thanks to the pitch, the galleries, because both of them, the two galleries made a sensational atmosphere, and the evolution of all the players, not only Poli’s, of our players, increased by 25-30%. It’s a very important match, I don’t know if that’s the right word (capital), but it’s clear that we’re not in a very good situation also because of the group we’re in, because our group is very difficult compared to the other group. With all due respect to the others. It’s much easier in the other group to save yourself from relegation. We have a very tough group with good play-off teams, the vast majority of them had the play-off target and it’s definitely very hard to get a point or points. It’s important for both teams, whether it’s capital or not, we’ll see in the future, but it will certainly influence Metaloglobus, a draw would be their best result or one team will pull away, they’ll have the chance to pull away from the other team if there’s a defeat. We have Daniel Benzar, who suffered a muscle tear in the Dinamo game, and Sekulic, suspended, two yellow cards. I don’t think it’s an unlucky season, I think it’s an old problem of his. I’m not a doctor, I don’t estimate. Over the years he’s had these problems and he’s had a very large hematoma now and you can’t estimate, he’s still got blood there, and probably tomorrow he’ll be told exactly how big the muscle tear is. It was a very serious one and there’s a possibility from my point of view that it could be a month longer, not shorter. He’ll definitely stay at least a month. He misses more than half the playoffs. He’s a very talented player, who, I repeat, in my view, should be in the Premier League for his technical qualities and the talent he has from mother nature, but injuries and the consistency of them, they drag you down and you don’t have consistency.”
Tudor Călin, Politehnica player: “We have a tough match ahead of us, in which we absolutely have to get a point. We obviously want to take three points. From what I’ve seen on the video it will be a tough pitch and I’m convinced that it will be a hard-fought match, with many long balls, but I think that whoever adapts to the pitch faster will win. Whoever makes fewer mistakes, for sure. Since I came here, I’ve consulted with the coach and the trainer, with Mio, we had a programme where we played with the team and afterwards, we did some completions. For about two or three weeks, I ran like crazy. And so, slowly, slowly, it was planned to come back or it was all calculated, to get me back on the field”.