With eleven games played Sportul Snagov find themselves four-points clear at the top of Liga 2. The recent round of midweek games produced an abundance of goals. In the ten fixtures played this past Tuesday and Wednesday, forty goals were scored with Petrolul 52 and UTA Arad both scoring six goals in their fixtures. Snagov were not so prolific but still managed to hit the back of the net four times against Baloteşti. The win against Baloteşti sees Snagov top on twenty-seven points with eight wins and three draws from their opening eleven games. Snagov are the only unbeaten team in Liga 2 have a very healthy defensive record having conceded just six times. Tomorrow afternoon Snagov travel to Clubul Sportiv Pandurii Lignitul Târgu Jiu, or as they are more commonly known Pandurii Târgu Jiu from the city of Târgu Jiu.
Fantastic photo taken by the Snagov staff, capturing the ball hitting the back of the net against Balotești. Snagov won the match 4-1.
Who are Pandurii Târgu Jiu?
The club was founded in 1962 following the merger of two football clubs in the city and quickly rose through the Romanian leagues before spending many years moving between the second and third divisions. In 2004 the Pandurii Târgu Jiu was promoted the first division but their first season in the top flight was a difficult one that ended with the club in the relegation zone. Fortunately for Pandurii Târgu Jiu, Sportul Studenţesc was not granted a licence for the following season and so Pandurii Târgu Jiu were granted reprieve and a place in the top flight for the following year.
After a few seasons of mid-table mediocrity Pandurii Târgu Jiu once more found themselves in a relegation battle which they lost. In 2010 the club finished the season in the relegation zone but Internaţional Curtea de Argeş were disbanded which once more granted Pandurii Târgu Jiu a lifeline in the top division.
Pandurii Târgu Jiu started to make an impact on the first division and qualified for Europe, taking part in the Europa League in the 2013-2014 season. Notably, the club defeated Braga to qualify for the group stages but that was the end of the European dream as Pandurii Târgu Jiu crashed out of Europe finishing bottom of their group with a -8 goal difference.
For the next few years Pandurii Târgu Jiu continued to compete at the top end of the table and qualified for the Europa League once more, but this time failing to reach the group stage. Pandurii Târgu Jiu’s descent in to Liga 2 was not seemingly down to bad management on the pitch but rather a downturn in the club’s financial fortunes. With the club’s sponsor reducing their funding to the club, many of the better players were forced to seek contracts with other clubs. Pandurii Târgu Jiu were forced to rely on younger players from the academy. Any football fan will know how this normally ends, and sure enough after over a decade in the top flight Pandurii Târgu Jiu were relegated to Liga 2 in 2017.
It has been an underwhelming start to the season for Pandurii Târgu Jiu as they begin life once more in Liga 2 this season. The club is currently ninth and in their last match were beaten 4-1 at Academica Clinceni. With three defeats already in the league, Pandurii Târgu Jiu find themselves six-points behind Snagov. It should be noted, however, that Pandurii Târgu Jiu have scored the third most goals in Liga 2 this season (24). Only Clinceni (29) and Petrolul 52 (25) have scored more, but both Clinceni and Petrolul 52 have had somewhat unusual wins this season. Clinceni scored sixteen goals in their opening three Liga 2 games.
The Snagov team after earning three more points against Balotești.
The following eight fixtures have resulted in just thirteen goals. Petrolul’s last two wins were both high scoring games finishing 5-0 and 6-2. The majority of Pandurii Târgu Jiu’s goals have come from midfield with Pîrvulescu scoring eight goals and Tudoran seven goals in the league so far.
The journey from Snagov to Târgu Jiu takes over four hours by road, with the city located just south of the Carpathian Mountains. Târgu Jiu is a fairly small city of just under eighty-thousand people which was founded in 1406. There are not many tourist attractions from what I can tell, but the ones that stood out to me have names that would not be out of place in a fantasy story. The main attraction is the Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin Brâncuși. It is a trio of sculptures called; The Table of Silence, The Gate of the Kiss and the Endless Column. My girlfriend has visited these sculptures and reports that they are extremely impressive and that they are a source of national pride.
I am predicting a draw for Snagov tomorrow. I expect Pandurii Târgu Jiu to score at least once but Snagov have demonstrated several times and impressive ability to bounce back under pressure. I would not be surprised to see the game finish 2-2.
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Critic. Writer. Thinker. Observer. Creator of nowwelive.com.