Pandurii vs Dnipro by Isaiah
Pandurii made the big surprise in the play offs of Europa League and excluded Portuguese Braga beating them away from home 0:1 (0-2 in extra time), a result that shocked the footballing Europe. In the Romanian League Pandurii has made a positive start and they are located in fifth position after seven games.
The administration has strengthened the existing roster with foreign players who had prior service in other Romanian teams. Their target is to transform their club from a low range club to a top club in Romania, something that happens slowly. Since last January they have Cristian Pustai on the bench, an able and ambitious coach who led Gaz Metan in the Europa League a few years ago.
Tonight Pandurii debuts to the groups of the Europa League, but they will lack their physical home stadium as it does not meet the requirements of UEFA, so the game will be held at CFR Cluj stadium, which is around 200 kilometers away from Targu Jiu. Anyway, Pandurii will want to show everyone that they have a good team that is fighting all games. Qualification is within their targets although they have been found in a difficult group. Main defender Paraskevas Christou is expected to play although he had an injury last week, while Lithuanian striker Deivydas Matulevicius will not play as he did not surpassed his injury. Also attacking midfielder Cornel Predescu is injured.
Dnipro qualified easily against Estonian Kalju (3-1, 2-0) and have been found again in the groups of Europa League, and aiming now only to qualify to the next round. Their administration supports the team with spending lot of cash during summer and they kept Spanish coach Juande Ramos. Their roster did not change a lot compared to last season, since the main structure of the team remained and their teamwork is at high levels for this season's effort.
In the Ukrainian League Dnipro has proven their quality and they are now sitting comfortable in the second position just three points behind Metalist. They already won against Shakhtar 3:1 and got an away draw against Dinamo. As their coach stated they want to win all six group games and see Europa League seriously this season. They will not underestimate the Romanians, they know well that they are a dangerous team.
Striker Nikola Kalinic is suspended and attacking midfielder Giuliano is injured, no other problems are reported for Dnipro. There is lot of option for the attack with Matheus, Roman Zozulya, Evgen Seleznev, Bruno Gama and Evgen Konoplyanka, undoubtely a very rich squad with many quality attacking players.
Pandurii will come to this game with high morale after the big success over Braga and they will have lot of enthusiasism to their game, but they are left without lot of options in the attack, as only young striker Diego Rubio is available in the strike line. I guess that will face the game giving more emphasis in the defense and will try with counters, while Dnipro will come into the game pressing from first minute without fear. I think that Dnipro have the quality to start the Europa League groups with all three points.