World Cup qualifiers: Romania 1 Montenegro 1
Romania and Montenegro national football teams have ended in a 1-1 (0-0) draw on Sunday, at Cluj Arena in Cluj-Napoca, the first match of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Romania was very close to victory, at the debut of the German coach Christoph Daum, but in the last seconds of extra time Nicolae Stanciu (90+6) missed a penalty shooting wide. Adrian Popa (85th min.) opened the score, but the visitors equalized through Stevan Jovetic (87th min.).
After a poor first half, Romania definitely dominated the second half, but failed to create clear scoring opportunities.
The guests got the biggest opportunity in minute 5, when Beciraj managed to sprint to the posts untackled, but Pantilimon did an excellent job of blocking the player off.
Romania responded with Sapunaru (7) side-netting an angle shooting. Beciraj (17) shot the ball over the posts from 17 m. The best goal scoring opportunity for Romania came from (21), but his shooting was deflected by Bozovic. Montenegro’s best ball possession was in the first half, but the game was generally balanced.
In the second half, Romania took the lead, putting pressure on Montenegro, with Stanciu (47) shooting over the posts from outside the box. It was Stanciu again to test Bozovic (62) with a 25-m free kick, but Montenegro’s goalie deflected the ball to the corner.
Another notable opportunity for Romania came in minute 72, after a corner kick, when Moti and Stanciu deflected the ball dangerously before the posts.
Romania managed to open the score in minute 85 thanks to the newly introduced Adrian Popa, who scored a back shooting from Stanciu.
Their joy was shortened by Jovetic equalising for Montenegro in minute 87 with a header from a free kick executed by Kojasevic.
Romania wasted the chance of winning three points when Keseru was faulted by Vukcevic in overtime but Stanciu, overwhelmed by pressure, shot the penalty kick past the posts.
Romania started the qualifying campaign for 2018 FIFA World Cup on the wrong foot, under the management of his first ever foreign manager, who surprised many by lining up Benzar and Bicfalvi, with only Benzar confirming the trust placed in him.
The match In Cluj Napoca was attended by 25,468 spectators.
In the other matches of Group E:
Denmark 1 Armenia 0
Kazakhstan 2 Poland 2
Romania: 1. Costel Pantilimon — 6. Romario Benzar, 4. Cosmin Moți, 21. Dragoș Grigore (captain), 3. Steliano Filip — 5. Ovidiu Hoban, 22. Cristian Săpunaru — 17. Eric Bicfalvi (8. Adrian Popa, 76th min.), 19. Bogdan Stancu (13. Claudiu Keșeru, 90th min.), 23. Nicolae Stanciu — 9. Florin Andone (11. Gabriel Torje, 70th min.). Coach: Christoph Daum.
Montenegro: 1. Mladen Bozovic — 6. Zarko Tomasevic, 15. Stefan Savic, 22. Marko Simic, 4. Nikola Vukcevic — 23. Adam Marusic, 7. Marko Vesovic (16. Damir Kojasevic, 80th min.), 19. Aleksandar Scekic, 8. Marko Bakic (9. Stefan Mugosa, 68th min.) — 10. Stevan Jovetic (captain) — 11. Fatos Beciraj (20. Nemanja Nikolic, 90+2nd min.). Coach: Ljubisa Tumbakovic.