Inter v Cluj: Europa League Round of 32

Strama and Pereira show their EL enthusiasm before the game with Cluj. - Inter.it.

Well, here we go. Europe is back and this time we have Romanian side CFR 1907 Cluj. Inter and Cluj have never met before, but we have a pretty good record against Romanian sides in general. Unfortunately, our home record in the Europa League has been pretty mediocre so who can say what will happen. I mean, I am totally sure we can win and all, I am just not entirely certain we will. Yikes.

What: Inter v Cluj
Where: San Siro, Milan
When: Thursday, February 14, 9:05pm local time (12:05pm pacific, 2:05pm eastern)
How to Watch: Live streaming (ppv) on Fox Soccer 2Go or two hours later on Fox Soccer Plus. Find other channels here. Or, you can look for a stream here.

Ok, so here is where I would normally do the whole past statistics thing and what not, but this time I just cant. Instead, I can do our past stats with Romania in general (that's something, right?):

We Win Draw We Lose Goals for Us Goals Allowed
Home 6 2 0 21 4
Away 4 1 3 12 7


Our last match against Romanians at home was against Vaslui in August (remember that 2-2 horror show?). I want this one to end a little better for us.

FUN FACT: Our very own Alvaro Pereira spent his first season in Europe with Cluj, before going off to Porto.

THEM:

Cluj find their way to the Europa League by just barely finishing third in their group in the Champions League. They ended up with 10 points, as did Galatasaray (could that word have any more A's in it?), but Galawhaterver had a better head-to-head against Cluj so they went through and poor Cluj got dumped into the EL. They had some great results in the CL, including beating the infamous Manchester United at Old Trafford (0-1). Any team that sticks it to Man U is a friend of mine. Too bad we will have to beat them.


A little trip to Wikipedia tells us that Cluj is from the city of Cluj-Napoca in (get this) Transylvania. Wow. Who knew things where really from there, I mean besides vampires, that is. They are in fifth place in the Romanian First League. I was looking for their weekend results but, well, this table it totally illegible. If you can figure it out, have at it.

Um, I can say they won their league last season. That's something. As for the rest, all my usual sources are failing me so we will just have to find out all about the team tomorrow. Think of it like a fun little adventure. Hooray.

178885-650_medium
Look! There's the new guy! Hi there new guy! via www.inter.it

US


Strama hs somehow managed to find 21 players to call up:

Goalkeepers: Handanovic, Belec, Dalle Vedove (who the heck is that???);
Defenders: Silvestre, Ranocchia, Pereira, Juan Jesus, Jonathan, Nagatomo;
Midfielders: Zanetti, Kovacic, Alvarez, Guarin, Cambiasso, Gargano, Benassi, Pasa;
Forwards: Palacio, Milito, Garritano, Cassano.

Oh man, that list of forwards sure looks skimpy. Yikes. As for our new WonderKid, Kovacic, he had a bit of an ankle thing. He managed to train with the team today but Strama is waiting to make a late decision on his fitness. Given that Guarin had the weekend off, it is likely he will play tomorrow. Word is, Milito is also raring to go, which is good because, like I say, our list of forwards is skimpy. As for the rest, I expect that we will stick with the four at the back, but the rest I just dont know. If Strama was inscrutable before, he is that much more baffling with the new guys added in. And for the record, I am pretending that Jonathan is not that list and I am enjoying my denial, thank you very much.

178835-650_medium
What do you suppose Strama is telling Ricky... hmmm... "No, put it in THEIR goal."
via www.inter.it


Ideally, Inter win tomorrow by more than one goal. Even better, they dont score at all. I would love to go into the away leg with a comfortable buffer, especially given that we have the derby in between. Really, what more is there to say? For those of you who celebrate it, tomorrow is Valentines Day. It is a given that Inter is my valentine. I just hope they reciprocate with the love and with the win.

Inter_valentines_medium
Be Mine. Happy St. Valentine's Day.


FORZA INTER

Right, so no Chivu tomorrow so we might as watch his adorkable muppetness here:


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