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Sunday, 01 March 2009 21:48

Romanian league returns: Andrade finds net in Rapid win

Cluj back with victory

RomaniaThe Romanian first division resumed on Friday, with the country’s top flight returning after a three-month long winter break. Surprise package Unirea Urziceni still head the table on goal difference, while champions CFR Cluj and capital giants Rapid and Dinamo returned with wins, but Steaua dropped down to sixth after a disappointing draw with Vaslui.

For Cluj, a 1-0 victory against Otopeni means that, although in 4th place, the reigning champions are now just three points off top spot.  Goalkeeper Nuno Claro was joined in the Cluj side by captain Ricardo Cadu and playmaker Dani, while Nuno Diogo played in defence for Otopeni.

Unirea stay top after, without Bruno Fernandes, they were held 0-0 by FC Brasov, who had Paulo Adriano in midfield. Dinamo Bucharest are level on points with the leaders, but crucially have a game in-hand on Unirea. Bruno Simao was unable to make his debut for the club in their 3-0 win over Pandurii Targu Jiu.

Joao Paulo Andrade scored the clinching third goal with four minutes left to play as Rapid Bucharest made a winning return to action, beating Gloria Bistrita 3-1 away from home. Ricardo Fernandes joined Andrade in the Rapid starting line-up, while Joao Paulo Pinto came on a second-half substitute. Joao Pedro was in the Gloria Bistrita side and scored his team's goal to give them brief hope at 2-1.

It was a less happy weekend for Steaua Bucharest, who started with Portuguese duo Tiago Gomes and Antonio Semedo on the bench for their home clash with Vaslui. Steaua fell behind after nine minutes (Wesley Lopez) but soon drew level when Bogdan Stancu scored after 27 minutes. However, despite the introduction of both Semedo (70’) and Tiago (87’) the home side could not find a winner.

Striker Chico started and played ninety minutes before being replaced in injury time for Farul Constanta in their 2-0 win over Gloria Buzau, while Nuno Viveiros was in action as Politehnica Iasi beat Universitatea Craiova 1-0 at home.

By Sean Gillen

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