Tuesday, October 18, 2011

UCL Matchday 3: Otelul Galati vs United

Who on earth are they?
Founded in 1964, Otelul are the reigning Romanian champions, having won the ‘Liga 1’ title for the first time last season.
Where is Galati?
Located in eastern Romania, Galati is home to a large steel-producing seaport on the Danube. It is twinned with Coventry!
So, should United fans be heading down to the port?
No, they will be 118 miles away as the game is being played in Bucharest’s 55,600-capacity national stadium. Otelul’s Stadium holds just 13,500.
Who manages them?
Dorinel Munteanu, whose 134 caps is a Romania record. He is fondly remembered for scoring in the dramatic 3-2 defeat of England at Euro 2000. 
Is he any good?
Munteanu managed five clubs between 2005 and 2009. However, he has found a home at Otelul, putting together a close-knit squad which he guided to league and cup glory last season.
What is his secret?
Munteanu has focused on instilling ‘modesty, determination and ambition’ into his team and the players have taken those beliefs to heart, with some players even demanding a pay cut!
A modern-day footballer asking for a pay cut, surely not?
The instigator of this was playmaker Gabriel Paraschiv, who demanded that his £5,000-a-week wages should be cut by 30 per cent. He said that his performances since his return from serious injury didn’t merit the amount of money that he was receiving. Several players have followed his lead, which has played a crucial part in keeping the club alive financially
So Otelul have had some financial problems?
Unfortunately, yes. They have a small stadium without floodlights and Indian steel firm Arcelor Mittal withdrew their £2million-a-year sponsorship.
They must have some decent players. Who will pose a threat to United?
Paraschiv is a cult hero who, at 33, is enjoying an Indian summer to his career. He is clever on the ball and Otelul will be looking to him for inspiration. Striker Marius Pena, 26, was their highest scorer last season with eight league goals.
How are they looking ahead of arguably their biggest ever match?
Not great. They are ninth in the Liga 1 and have lost five of their last 10 games in all competitions, including ties against Basle and Benfica in the Champions League.
It would surely take a miracle for Otelul to beat United, but stranger things have happened...

United will face the Romanian with the ultimate mission to secure their first win in UCL for this season. Rooney said to be in the starting line up. But Ferdinand was not in the trip to Romania.

Aiyaaa got to go maaa...but the interesting fact that The Red Devils began their legendary 1998-99 European campaign with two draws, but eventually ended up conquering Europe.

So glory glory United

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