Monday 19 February 2018

Who are Galati?

Industry runs to the core of Manchester United's opposition tonight -- Otelul Galati were formed 47 years ago to represent Romania's largest steel factory -- but there is questionable fire in a side against whom anything but victory tonight would be a catastrophe.

The Romanian champions do have players to treat with care. Midfielder Gabriel Paraschiv is the one they enthuse about locally for a game intelligence not matched by pace, and 26-year-old striker Marius Pena has physical presence.

But the side managed by Dorinel Munteanu, legend of Romania's 1994 World Cup side, have looked anything but champions since stealing in to take the title in a six-way race last season.

Discipline obscured their mediocrity as Otelul took that championship and no one here is surprised to see them languishing in mid-table domestically, with 12 points from 10 games. They have scored just 13 goals in 14 games in all competitions this season.

The enthusiasm nurtured by Munteanu -- part of the Romania side that reached the last four of the '94 finals and knocked out England in the group stages of Euro 2000 -- seems to have gone.

The stadium will be filled with Romanian neutrals tonight: Otelul have sold only 3,000 tickets. (© Independent News Service)

Ian Herbert

Irish Independent

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