Liga 2 is the second tier of professional football in Romania, just below the top-flight Liga 1. Recently, the league has been witnessing intense competition, with clubs fighting to either secure promotion to Liga 1 or avoid relegation to Liga 3. In this context, the baraj (relegation play-off) between the 12th-placed Liga 2 team and the 3rd-placed Liga 3 team has gained critical significance.
The first leg of the baraj for the 2020-21 season between ASU Poli Timisoara (Liga 2) and FC U Craiova 1948 (Liga 3) was played on 9th June 2021, and it ended in a 1-1 draw. The game was at the Stadionul Dan Păltinișanu in Timișoara, and it saw a decent turnout of fans. Though the weather conditions were not ideal, with a heavy downpour throughout the match, both teams displayed strong determination and skills.
FC U Craiova 1948, who came into this match after finishing third in their Liga 3 group, started brightly and created some early chances. However, it was ASU Poli Timisoara who took the lead in the 31st minute when Marian Buciu scored a header from a corner kick. The home team had a few more opportunities to extend their lead, but they failed to convert them.
In the second half, FC U Craiova 1948 intensified their attack and equalized in the 56th minute when Ionut Trandu scored a brilliant goal. The midfielder received a pass from the right flank, dribbled past two defenders, and struck a powerful shot into the top corner of the net, leaving the ASU Poli Timisoara goalkeeper with no chance. The visitors continued to press and created more goal-scoring opportunities, but the home team’s defense held strong.
The match ended in a draw, giving both teams a chance to advance to Liga 2 or retain their place in Liga 3 in the return leg to be played on June 12. As the away-goal rule does not apply in the baraj, a win or a high-scoring draw will be crucial for both sides. With so much at stake, the second leg promises to be a thrilling encounter.
In conclusion, the Liga 2 baraj is a critical phase for teams in the second tier of Romanian football. The first leg between ASU Poli Timisoara and FC U Craiova 1948 was a closely contested affair, with both teams displaying good footballing skills. The second leg is expected to be equally exciting, with everything to play for. Fans of Romanian football will be eagerly waiting to see which team will advance to Liga 2 or face relegation to Liga 3.