CFR Cluj manager Dan Petrescu has sarcastically blamed torrential rain for his side’s defeat to Celtic at Parkhead several weeks ago (or at least we think he’s being sarcastic).
On matchday two of the Europa League, the Bhoys overcame Cluj 2-0 at Parkhead. It put us top of our group on four points, with Cluj still just one point behind us after a shock win in Rennes.
It was a terrific night at Celtic Park when Cluj came for their second visit this season. We managed to avenge the Champions League loss in fine style thanks to goals from Odsonne Edouard and Mohamed Elyounoussi. It left Petrescu and his men with no response, as the rain lashed down on a memorable Parkhead night.
For one of the first times since that success, Petrescu has been speaking about the result. In comments picked up by the Evening Times, Petrescu touched on his Celtic experience after recording a win over the weekend.
“This victory was a new experience for me because it’s the first time I have ever won a match as a manager in the rain.
“It’s true. Look at the games we have lost this season. At Celtic and Poli Iasi. It was torrential rain. I never win in the rain so this is a first for me.
“I cut short the half time talk because I exploded in the dressing room and it wasn’t going to end well. But they got the message because they scored three second half goals.”
Cluj will be looking to get their form back well before Celtic visit
Matchday six of this season’s Europa League sees us take the trip to Romania. We drew there 1-1 earlier on this season in Champions League qualifying. Many of us would probably take that again.
If we were heading there this week, not one fan would be too worried right enough. Cluj have struggled for form in recent weeks. Their 3-0 win over Academica Clinceni yesterday was just their fourth win in eight matches. Their form has been patchy to say the least.
But the same can’t be said for their European form. The likes of Emmanuel Culio, Ciprean Deac, and Billel Omrani are showing up well in the Europa League. Cluj have six points after tremendous successes against Lazio and Rennes respectively.
Next up for them is a home clash against the French side. If they get another three points there, we have to win in Italy to stay top of the group. A draw for Cluj would be enough to keep us top on our head-to-head record if we were to lose in Italy.
As for that game back in October, don’t take anything Petrescu says seriously. It wasn’t the rain that beat them at Parkhead, it was Celtic. No matter what the weather was like, Celtic were always going to overcome their Romanian rivals with the form we were in.
But the return game in Romania will make for intriguing viewing. We haven’t heard the last of Cluj this season, and they remain an enigma the closer we get to matchday six.