Football

Rolando Aarons has netted two goals this season.

Rolando Aarons ruled out of the Tyne-Wear Derby

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Rolando Aarons has netted two goals this season.

Rolando Aarons has netted two goals this season.

Newcastle United have been dealt a huge injury blow ahead of the Tyne-Wear Derby match against Sunderland.

Newcastle United have been dealt a huge injury blow ahead of the Tyne-Wear Derby match against Sunderland.

Rolando Aarons has suffered an injury setback that will see the youngster miss tomorrow’s Capital One Cup quarter-final tie against Tottenham Hotspur and Sunday’s derby against Sunderland.

The 19-year old has been sidelined since early last month with a hamstring injury, and is yet to return to full fitness.

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew had hoped Aarons would be back in time for the cup game tomorrow. However, the England Under-20 international is expected to miss a further two weeks.

Aarons made his way on the scene during pre-season after signing his professional contract last year.

The winger has made three started twice for the Magpies, whilst making a substitute in the Premier League on three occasions, netting against Crystal Palace and Manchester City.

More to Follow..

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AC Milan 1-1 Inter Milan: Honours even in Derby della Madonnina

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San Siro ahead of the Derby della Madonnina. (Picture: When Sunday Comes)

San Siro ahead of the Derby della Madonnina. (Picture: When Sunday Comes)

Joel Obi’s second-half equaliser was enough to earn Inter Milan a point as two of Italy’s  greats, Pippo Inzaghi and Roberto Mancini faced each other for the first time as managers.

A wonder goal midway through the first half was enough to give Inzaghi’s men the lead going in to half time. However, Inter battled back and equalised through Joel Obi 15 minutes in to the second half.

Zdravko Kuzmanovic told Sky Sports: “Inter needed a night like this. We didn’t communicate well at all, but in the second half we played a great match.

“We did well on the pitch, we were compact defensively and we were always ready to counter attack. Inter has to aim high, especially with our new manager. Obi? He deserved it (the goal) completely, my regards go to him.”

Both Milan clubs have struggled in the Serie A of late, and this season is no different. Milan started the game in eighth, just one point above Inter in ninth.

Mancini returned to Inter for a second spell, picking up eight trophies in four seasons. The Nerazzurri have struggled to score of late which is what ultimately cost Walter Mazzarri his job, with just 10 goals in the past nine games, after putting seven past Sassuolo on the second match day.

Previous encounters has seen just five goals scored in the previous four matches between the two sides, with neither team managing to score more than once in those fixtures.

Inter looked like a different side under the 49-year old Italian. Within the opening five minutes of the 213th Derby della Madonnina Inter pressed Milan high up the pitch, a sense of urgency from Inter as they looked to take an early lead.

Mauro Icardi looked to score his eighth of the season as a stray pass from Sulley Muntari hit the Argentinian who was through on goal before Diego Lopez smothered the ball to safety.

Jeremy Menez scored the only goal of the first half after 22 minutes following a well-executed counter-attack from the Rossoneri. The ball fell to Stephen El Shaarawy on the right-flank, whose cross found Menez and the Frenchman hit the ball first time beyond Samir Handanovic.

The opening goal seemed to have taken the intensity out of the derby as Inter could not really carve out any real opportunity, to the disgust of Mancini who was barking orders from the sideline – as they went in to the break a goal down.

Both sides started the second half like they did the first – with high intensity, putting their opponents under pressure.

Lopez was called in to action for the fourth time and the Spaniard showed why he’s number one ahead of Andre Agazzi. The Milan goalkeeper got down low to deny Mateo Kovacic an equaliser 10 minutes after the restart.

Persistence paid off for Inter as Michael Essien failed to clear his lines, the ball fell to Joel Obi on the edge of the box and the Nigerian found the bottom corner, out of Lopez’ reach.

El Shawaary had a chance 15 minutes from time for Milan, but the Italian could only find the crossbar as Inzaghi looks away in disgust – the former Milan player would have surely put that away.

Straight up the other end, Fredy Guarin’s cross found Icardi who took the ball on first time, unleashing a right-footed volley, which struck the outside of Lopez’ post.

The result means Inter remain in ninth, on 17 points whilst their counterparts move up to seventh after Udinese drew 1-1 to Chievo Verona earlier today.

AC Milan XI: Diego Lopez; Rami, Zapata, Mexes, De Sciglio; Bonaventura, Essien, Muntari, El Shaarawy; Menez; Torres.

Inter Milan XI: Handanovic; Nagatomo, Ranocchia, Juan Jesus, Dodò; Guarin, Kuzmanovic, Obi; Kovacic; Icardi, Palacio

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Dinamo vs Split match abandoned as fans and players boycott tie

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Hajduk Split refused to play Dinamo Zagreb yesterday afternoon in the Eternal Derby, after approximately 50 supporters were blacklisted from the Maksimir Stadium.

Dinamo Zagreb's Bad Blue Boys at Maksimir Stadium. (Creative Commons)

Dinamo Zagreb’s Bad Blue Boys at Maksimir Stadium. (Creative Commons)

Croatian media had reported that out of the 1,000 travelling supporters, 50 of these who made the trip from the Adriatic coast were listed as troublemakers, barring them from entering the stadium. Hajduk players followed suit and refused to play the tie, the biggest in Croatian football every season.

According to Croatia FA rules, the match will be registered as a three-nil win for Dinamo, while Hajduk face a maximum six points deduction and possibly even being thrown out of the division.

Dinamo director Tomislav Svetina told the clubs official website: “We will sue Hajduk to refund us the expenses of the match organisation. Hajduk only makes a mess of Croatian football. This is one of the saddest moments in Croatian football, and this was planned to create a chaos in our football.

“It was Split police who gave us the list of 92 persons who have stadium bans. And as soon as the first of them arrived, he was denied entrance. And than Hajduk asked for the match to be postponed! For what?! Because fans registered as hooligans could not get in!? Hajduk should be severely punished.”

This is not the first scandal to rock Croatian football. Just last week, Croatian supporters twice held up play against Italy in the Euro 2016 qualifier in Milan. Fans hurled flares on to the pitch as the Croatian FA to condemn their behaviour, urging the government to crush hooliganism.

“Although Hajduk Split are lagging further behind their Zagreb-rivals, hardly making the fixtures decisive for titles. The Eternal Derby between Hajduk and Dinamo steals more or less all the attention and focus in Croatia,” Runar Nordvik told RivalTalk.

The return tie in Split, is expected to draw a much bigger crowd as Hajduk always sell out at the Poljud stadium, providing great atmosphere when Dinamo arrive. Which is the opposite of the game in Zagreb as there are often boycotts.

Hajduk Split's Torcida's at Stadion Poljud. (Creative Commons)

Hajduk Split’s Torcida’s at Stadion Poljud. (Creative Commons)

Since 2010, Hajduk have only won the Eternal Derby on one occasion, a 2-0 win in 2013 with Mario Pašalić scoring a brace, meaning Dinamo have dominated of late.

One of the most controversial transfers between the two teams is that of Niko Kranjčar who left Dinamo for Hajduk in 2005, and to this day the Bad Blue Boys (BBB), Dinamo’s ultras are yet to forgive him.

The BBB started up in 1986, alongside many other supporter groups in the former Yugoslavia who came in to the football scene in this decade. Hajduk’s ‘Torcida’ supporters group were the first recognised group in Europe when they came on the scene in the early 1950’s.

Dinamo’s BBB became a major force in the hooligan scene back in the early 1990’s as the infamous game at home to Red Star Belgrade broke out in riots, making BBB also a symbol of Croatian independency.

“The actual game has often been referred to as what made the Balkan Wars break out,” said Nordvik.

At present, the BBB are still a force in Croatian football.

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AC Milan vs Inter Milan: Five players who have played for both sides

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Key game in the Serie A this weekend is the Derby della Madonnina. (Picture courtesy of AC Milan, Creative Commons).

The Derby della Madonnina returns to the Serie A for the first time this season. It’s AC Milan vs Inter Milan and RivalTalk looks at the top five players who have featured for both sides.

1. Andrea Pirlo

Whilst Andrea Pirlo is not known for his time at Inter, the deep-lying playmaker currently playing his trade for Juventus featured 22 times for the Nerazzurri.

The 35-year old claimed that he could have been a “legend” at Inter had Marcello Lippi not been dismissed from the managerial role in October 2000.

“When I see him, I am instantly reminded that, if he stayed on as Inter coach, I’d probably have become a legend there,” Pirlo said in his autobiography.

Marco Tardelli took over the reigns from Lippi and Pirlo was loaned out to Brescia after failing to impress the new coach.

“I won the European U21 Championship. Maybe he [Tardelli] did not recognise me at Inter, the fact that I never played. I suffered and wanted to scream so many times,” said Pirlo.

The Italy veteran then moved to fierce rivals, AC Milan in June 2001, three years after making his debut for Inter. Pirlo came on to become a pivotal player for Milan, lifting two Serie A titles and two Champions Leagues, before moving to Juventus.

Pirlo went on to make 284 appearances for Rossoneri in a decade, after making his €17million switch, which included Dražen Brnčić moving in the opposite direction.

During his time at Milan, Pirlo was nominated for the Ballon d’Or on two occasions, as well as World Player of the Year, in which he finished seventh.

2. Clarence Seedorf

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Clarence Seedorf was influential during his decade in Milan (Creative Commons)

Another Milan favourite, Clarence Seedorf played for rivals Inter Milan before making his move to the Rossoneri.

The now 38-year old, started his career at Ajax, before moving to Italian side Sampdoria, before earning a move to Real Madrid.

From here, Seedorf was almost ever-present, attracting the interest of Inter, who agreed a £21million transfer fee to take the Dutch international to the Serie A club.

Unable to bring any major silverware to Inter, Seedorf moved on to Milan in 2002, in exchange for Francesco Coco, where he would become the key player in Carlo Ancelotti’s 4-3-2-1 formation.

During his time at the San Siro, Seedorf helped Milan to the Coppa Italia in his debut season before winning the Serie A and Champions League, both on two occasions.

3. Hernan Crespo

The Argenine will be known for his two goals in the 2005 Champions League final, which will be known as one of the biggest shocks in European football, as Liverpool battled back from 3-0 down to win on penalties.

“It’s hard to forget such a game, but now I’m proud to have been part of it,” said Crespo, on loan from Chelsea at the time.

Crespo earned his move to Inter after finding the back of the net on 39 occasions in 54 games for Lazio, in a two-year spell. The Argentine only managed a season for Nerazzurri before earning a move to Chelsea, where he was loaned to Milan in 2004.

Despite scoring 20 goals for Chelsea, Crespo was struggling to adapt to English football and was loaned back to Inter in 2006, for two-seasons, before making a permanent move.

4. Ronaldo

‘The Phenomenon’ joined Inter from Barcelona in the summer of 1997, where he scored 25 goals in his debut Serie A season.

The Brazilian moved to Real Madrid after scoring 49 goals in his five year Inter career, where he would then become one of the most feared strikers in the world.

Injuries ravaged the striker during his career, where he only made 127 appearances in five years for Madrid, before moving to Milan in 2007, where he spent a year.

Ronaldo is one of two players who have scored for both sides in the Derby della Madonnina, 1998-99 season for Inter and 2006-07 season for Milan.

5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic during his time at Milan. (Creative Commons)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic during his time at Milan. (Creative Commons)

The Swedish striker arrived at Inter in 2006 and won three consecutive Serie A titles before earning a move to Barcelona.

Having written an autobiography, Ibrahimovic had much admiration for Jose Mourinho, whom he worked under during his time at Inter.

“Mourinho would become a guy I was basically willing to die for,” said Ibrahimovic.

Ibrahimovic found the back of the net on 57 occasions in 88 games for Inter before his move to Barcelona, which included Samuel Eto’o moving the opposite direction.

After playing under Pep Guardiola for one season, Ibrahimovic was loaned back to the Serie A, this time it was to Milan, where he would spend the season before making a permanent move to the San Siro.

On November 14, Ibrahimovic scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 victory against his former club, Inter Milan.

Known for his strength and finishing abilities, the Swedish striker scored 42 goals in 61 appearances for Rossoneri, whilst winning the Serie A in the 2010-11 season.

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Daniel Lovering: “Pride. Passion. Pyro.”

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Daniel Lovering and the Peluza Nord Ultras (Picture courtesy of Daniel Lovering)

An Englishman from Herefordshire, a Bristol Rovers season ticket holder and an avid Steaua Bucharest fan, meet Daniel Lovering – who completed a 3000 mile round-trip to watch his team play.

Following his father’s move to Romania in 2008, Dan’s first Steaua game was later that year, against local rivals – Rapid Bucharest.

“The first thing I noticed was the amount of police and how heavily armoured they were – they looked like something from Starship Troopers.”

The match was played at Stadionul Giulești-Valentin Stănescu, a classic Eastern European style stadium – a bowl shape with a roof only covering one section of the stadium.

Leading up to the game, police let the Steaua fans in one by one, literally: “A Steaua fan would enter the arena, get abused and then give some abuse back before being ushered to basically a cage near the corner flag. It was like theatre or the build up to an event in WWE wrestling,” said Dan.

The game ended 0-0, but it wasn’t your typical bore draw: “The atmosphere was electric. Flares all over the place, flags flying and Ultras jumping and singing about how much they hated Steaua.

“It felt like a proper derby. Rivalry, Hatred. The stadium was full of people who cared for their team and despised their local rivals. Fireworks were thrown, Rapid fans were kicking at the barriers trying to get at the Steaua players taking corners.

“The stadium looked like it was on fire due to all the flares. It was just mental, and an experience I’ll never forget,” recalled Dan. “It honestly felt good to get out of there alive, which I guess is a bit of a buzz.”

Steaua, being the most successful Romanian team – played Liverpool at Anfield in the Europa League the following season. A game which Dan attended: “The Steaua fans out sang the Kop all night, with incredible passion [despite losing 4-1]. I was then a Steaua fan.”

Ahead of the 2009 Europa League tie against Liverpool (Picture courtesy of Dan Lovering)

Ahead of the 2009 Europa League tie against Liverpool (Picture courtesy of Dan Lovering)

Having now seen Steaua play on six occasions, this was the first time Dan has attended the Eternal Derby – which Steaua ran out 3-0 winners.

“Unbelievable, start to finish,” Dan reminisced. “Dinamo’s Ultras were behind the goal to my left, the Steaua Peluza Nord behind the goal to my right. Next to the Dinamo Ultras by the corner flag, were Steaua’s Peluza Sud.”

Dinamo’s Ultras and the Peluza Sud were dressed in all black: “There were about 20 seats and a row of police officers kitted out with heavy armour. Some with pepper spray guns attached to cannisters on their backs, it all looked very sinister.”

The Dinamo end unveiled a choreography of Charlie Chaplin whilst the Peluza Nord got a load of balloons out. “It would have looked really impressive in England, but I was a little disappointed because the Dinamo fans were making all the noise.

“Once the balloons were lifted, Peluza Nord upped their game. Flares and flags started flying and smoke bombs started going off. It was a spectacular sight.

“I’ve met people who genuinely think that the English fans are most passionate. In my experience, they are nowhere near it.”

The game finished 3-0 as Steaua sealed the victory with two late goals. The tie seemed to pass without any major incidents other than Steaua keeper, Giedrius Arlauskis, getting hit by a missile thrown by the Dinamo supporters.

“The police presence was enough to deter any major trouble. I had a fantastic evening, the most amazing experience I’ve had watching football.

“I’d recommend it to anyone, football fan or not.”

You can follow Dan on Twitter @LedburyGas

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Steaua Bucharest 3 – 0 Dinamo Bucharest: Hosts win bragging rights after two late goals

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Goals from Łukasz Szukala, Paul Papp and Claudiu Keserü gave Steaua Bucharest a deserved 3-0 victory over rivals, Dinamo Bucharest in the 157th Eternal Derby.

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Steaua Bucharest ultras ahead of tie (Picture courtesy of When Saturday Comes @WSCsm)

The two teams came in to the match on mixed fortunes. Steaua lost their previous league game 1-0 against Târgu Mureş and came in to the game with an injury crisis in the forward positions. Whilst their counterparts Dinamo Bucharest, have won three of their previous five games, including a 3-2 victory against Pandurii Târgu Jiu last week.

Tempers were already high and fans were in full, singing spirit hours before the game had even kicked off. Excitement in the city of Bucharest was upon us as the Eternal Derby is the game both sets of fans want to win – for bragging right. Upon kick-off, the Steaua fans enjoyed their pyrotechnics and balloons whilst Dinamo fans unveiled a choreography of Charlie Chaplin.

Dinamo started off the better side with Kamil Bilinski having a chance after just seven minutes. The ball was crossed in from the right-flank, however a bobble on the pitch put the forward off, who couldn’t bring the ball under control.

#derby #dinamo @echidistant @francoisrobespierre

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Marius Alexe then had a chance just moments later, but forced Steaua goalkeeper, Giedrius Arlauskis, in to making a great save.

The tide started to turn then as Steaua looked to dominate. The home contingent shone a green laser in to the eyes of the Dinamo goalkeeper, who made a great save to deny Adrian Popa after quarter of an hour. Steaua then had the ball in the back of the net but the assistant referee has his flag up for offside, as Keserü was the wrong side of the defender.

Popa then continued his fine start to the game as he crosses the ball in towards Keserü – but Traian Marc was there to deny the forward.

A huge chance for Dinamo went begging as first – Bilinski was denied from a last ditch tackle from midfielder Andrei Prepeliţă, who showed his passion to get back to stop the forward. Bilinski was then denied again just seconds later as his left-footed strike from just inside the area forced Arlauskis in to parrying the ball. However, the Steaua keeper couldn’t clear his lines as the ball fell to Cosmin Matei who really should have done better from six-yards out.

Szukala then headed the home side in front on the stroke of half-time following a dead ball, crossed in from Lucian Sânmărtean – in front of the Dinamo supporters, to the delight of the home contingent.

Following the break – Steaua again looked the more likely to score and, they perhaps should have when Fernando Varela headed over from six-yards out. The defender was under no pressure at all and should have doubled his sides lead.

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Steaua Bucharest pyrotechnics (Picture: When Saturday Comes @WSCsm)

Dinamo youngster, Dorin Rotariu, looked promising since his inclusion and forced Arlauskis in to making another save.

However, it was Steaua who always looked the more prominent going forward and it was Papp who doubled the hosts lead, finishing in to an empty net after Popa did all of the hard work.

Two minutes later and Keşeru had the ball in the back of the net again for Steaua to put the game beyond doubt – and to give the hosts a deserved three points who took their chances when it really mattered.

Steaua are now five points clear in first place ahead of CFR Cluj who welcome Braşov to their stadium on Monday night.

Steaua Bucharest XI (4-2-3-1): Arlauskis – Papp, Varela, Szukala, Filip – Prepeliţă, Sânmărtean – Ad. Popa, Chipciu, Tănase – Keşeru.

Dinamo Bucharest XI (4-2-3-1): Marc – Fai, Nedelcearu, Cordoş, Grecu – Mansaly, Bărboianu – Lazar, Matei, Alexe – Bilinski.

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Steaua Bucharest vs Dinamo Bucharest: Flares and football fandom

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Peluza South ultras

Peluza South ultras showing their support for Steaua Bucharest with the use of pyrotechnics. (Creative Commons)

The Eternal Derby (Derbiul României) is one of the most fierce rivalries in Europe – it’s Steaua Bucharest vs Dinamo Bucharest and, it’s the two biggest teams in Romania.

Different from the El Clasico (Real Madrid vs Barcelona) and AC Milan vs Inter Milan – the Eternal Derby: “Is of the biggest rivalries in the world. High level intensity, passion, emotion, colour and extreme hatred for a full 90 minutes,” said Alecsandru S, a Romanian football fan.

A Steaua Bucharest fan, who wished to remain anonymous said: “As soon as the schedule is published, every fan regardless of team looks to see when Steaua play Dinamo. I think it’s very underrated abroad.”

The rivalry originates following the end of World War II, when Romania and much of Eastern Europe turned communist. Many of the football clubs were dissolved and new, communist clubs were established. Steaua represented the Romanian Army whilst Dinamo, were represented by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Construction of Stadionul Ghencea in Bucharest by the Romanian Army, early 70s.

Construction of Stadionul Ghencea (Picture: @BeyondTLM)

Many army personnel became Steaua supporters, whilst police officers and other civil servants, supported Dinamo. That been said, this doesn’t seem to be the case in today’s day and age, where young people tend to pick a side and stick to it.

Communism in Romania fell in 1989 however, the rivalry was already mature and, because the two teams were backed – Steaua by dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and Dinamo receiving money from ministries – they were both giants in Romanian football.

However, Steaua were more successful in Europe, having been crowned European champions in 1986 whilst they finished runners-up three years later. Romanian football started to grow in the 90’s and 00’s both on and off the field – mainly down to the ultra groups.

Armata Ultra’s were formed on 4 December 1995 and were the second ultra group to originate from Romania, however, they were the first in Bucharest. Adopting a far-right ideology with very strict rules – the group soon reached 4,000 members.

The Armata Ultra’s dissolved in 2001 and new, smaller groups started to appear – with different ideologies. Peluza Nord have a close and friendly relationship with the Steaua players whilst on the opposite side of the stadium, you have Peluza Sud, a much smaller group, but more fanatical.

Gheorghe Mustaţă, a Steaua ultra, is currently serving seven years and five months in prison for organised crime and attempted murder.

The Peluza Sud are more often involved in clashes outside the stadium and, they also have a link with CSKA Sofia ultras – often attending fixtures. Peluza Sud are currently protesting against the aggressive security forces presence at matches and missed Steaua’s last fixture.

Video courtesy of FanSteauaTV

In 1996, Dinamo fans founded Nuova Guardia (New Guard) and just a year later, they set fire to the south stand at the Stadionul Ghencea (Steaua’s stadium). One of Dinamo’s ultras group, Peluza Catalin Haldan (PCH) – was named after the death of their captain, Catalin Haldan.

A famous match between the two sides is that of 26 June 1988, a Romanian Cup Final that ended abruptly when one of the teams stormed off the pitch and refused to continue.

Steaua were in the middle of a 60-match unbeaten run which stretched back to 1986 and included the European Cup Final win over Barcelona. The game was tied at 1-1 with a minute left to play, Steaua striker, Gavril Balint gave his side the lead just seconds from the whistle – only for it to be ruled out for offside. Distraught at the decision, the Steaua players stormed off the pitch in the direction of the club’s highest profile supporter Valentin Ceaușescu, son of dictator Ceaușescu.

The referee abandoned the match and awarded the cup to Dinamo – only for the government to intervene the following day, ruling that the goal should have stood, making Steaua the winners.

Steaua Bucharest choreography (Creative Commons)

Steaua Bucharest choreography (Creative Commons)

In modern history – Steaua went seven years without winning the league, to the disgust of their fans. “I remember one time in 2007, Steaua had one of their worst seasons and fans started to chant at the game before the derby: ‘If Dinamo beats us we will break your heads and smash your cars,’” recalled Alecsandru.

Steaua won the Romanian league in 2013 whilst Dinamo have endured a poor run of late, having not won the league since the 2006-07 season. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact how big the Eternal Derby is – as this season the two teams are a lot closer, with just six points separating the two.

In current times – the Steaua owner, general manager and as previously mentioned, the head of the ultras, all behind bars. Currently, the football club is being managed from jail and Becali (Steaua owner) is in permanent contact with the chairman and coach of the club.

Dinamo have also suffered a bad period of late. After fearing bankruptcy, the club was saved in the last moment – thus resulting in Dinamo currently being banned from European competitions. Also, former Dinamo boss, Cristi Borcea (Becali’s Godson) is currently serving a six years and four months jail sentence for file transfers. This is when owners of clubs would declared amounts lower than the actual transfer fees – paying the remaining money in to an offshore bank account.

Unlike most derbies, the two teams face each other tomorrow evening with just one win between the two. They have played each other 156 times in all competitions with Steaua winning 55 of those, and Dinamo winning 54, whilst drawing on 47 occasions. The two teams haven’t recorded a 0-0 draw since 15 May 1999.

The home side (Steaua) have an injury crisis coming into the derby with no serious threat in the forward position. The hosts face Dinamo on the back of a loss in the Liga I – losing 1-0 to Târgu Mureş, which was marred with violence following poor refereeing decisions. Dinamo on the other hand are enjoying mixed fortunes of late – winning three out of their previous five in the Liga I. However, unlike Steaua, they face their rivals after a 3-2 win in the league against Pandurii Târgu Jiu.

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