Steaua vs Dinamo: The eternal derby of 1988

1988 Steaua vs Dinamo final

There are finals in football, where titles have been judged in extra times, penalties, courthouses and even to the twist of a dime. Valentin Ceausescu had a different point of view, after a crucial goal that got disallowed from a referee in the 1988 final between Steaua and Dinamo...

Eldest son (s.s rumors wanted him to be illegitimate) of the infamous Nicolae Ceausescu, the man who ruled Romania from 1967 to his death in 1989, Valentin had a passion for football and especially with Steaua Bucharest.

In the late 80's, Ceausescu was something more than president of the team and at his era great things happened at Steaua.

For three years and three months, from June 1986 to September 1989, the Army team was undefeated in the league for 104 games, a record which in Europe is still untouched, hence the five consecutive championships (1985-1989).

The most important achievement was the win of the European Cup in 1986 in the final against Barcelona, which was finished at penalties. In 1989, Steaua went again in the final, but crashed by AC Milan 4-0.

The final of 1988 was the one that everyone expected... Steaua Bucharest vs their "eternal enemy", Dinamo. That season, both teams had to fight til the end for the championship, with Steaua to eventually won the title by one point difference.

dinamo fans steaua recycle bin
The final of 1988 made the hate between the two teams to become eternal...

At 27', the great Steaua scored (1-0), but at 87' the game tied at 1-1. In 90' Gavril Balint scored 2-1 for Steaua and the thousands of fans was about to start a great 'party' in the stadium.

But the referee did not count the goal as he decided that it was offside...

Steaua left the stadium after an order from Valentin Ceausescu, to protest about the disallowed goal!

The trophy awarded to Dinamo, but Valentin had a different opinion... He evaded every sense of football self rule, every law and logic, and decided that the goal must count as a valid one. He managed to "convince" the Romanian Football Federation to give the cup to Steaua...

Just two years later, in 1990, Ceausescu's regime was a past and Steaua proposed to give the cup back to Dinamo, but they refused.

In his later interviews, Valentin Ceausescu, whenever he was asked about that final, he answered monotonously: 'I did the right thing to protect the team from Dinamo'...

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