FC Astra Giurgiu

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Astra Giurgiu
FC Astra Giurgiu crest
Full name Fotbal Club Astra Giurgiu
Nickname(s)
  • Astralii
  • Giurgiuvenii (The Giurgiu Men)
  • Dracii negri (The Black Devils)
Short name Astra
Founded 1921; 96 years ago (1921)
as Clubul Sportiv Astra-Română[1]
Ground Marin Anastasovici
Ground Capacity 8,500[2]
Owner Ioan Niculae
Chairman Dănuț Coman
Manager Marius Șumudică
League Liga I
2015–16 Liga I, 1st
Website Club home page
Current season

Fotbal Club Astra Giurgiu, commonly known as Astra Giurgiu, or simply as Astra, is a Romanian professional football club based in the city of Giurgiu, Giurgiu County, currently playing in the Liga I.

Founded in 1921 in Ploiești, Prahova County, as Clubul Sportiv Astra-Română,[1] the club spent the vast majority of its history in the lower leagues. Only after 1990, when taken under the ownership of businessman Ioan Niculae, the club began to achieve success, with a premiere promotion to the top of the Romanian football league system in 1998. In September 2012, the team was moved from Ploiești to Giurgiu.[3] At the end of 2015–16 season, the side led by coach Marius Șumudică won a historical championship title, while ending Steaua București's three-year domination.[4]

Domestically, Astra's major honours include one Liga I, one Cupa României and two Supercupa României. On the international stage, their best performance is reaching UEFA Europa League's round of 32 in the 2016–17 season.

The colours of the club are white and black, hence the old nickname Dracii negri (The Black Devils). Red, which is present on the current crest, was worn on many occasions on away kits.

History[edit]

Name changes
Year
Name
1921 Clubul Sportiv Astra-Română
1934 Astra Română Câmpina
1937 Astra Română Ploiești
1938 Colombia Ploiești
1945 Astra Română Ploiești
1959 Rafinorul Ploiești
1990 CS Astra Ploiești
1996 AS Danubiana Ploiești
1998 SC FC Astra Ploiești
2005 CSM Ploiești
2007 FC Ploiești
2009 FC Astra Ploiești
2012 FC Astra Giurgiu

Founding, early years and lower divisions (1921–1996)[edit]

On 18 September 1921, weekly newspaper Ecoul Sportiv announced the founding of the Clubul Sportiv Astra-Română ("Astra-Romanian Sports Club") by the Astra-Română Society, an oil-company owned by Henri Deterding and based in Prahova, composed of English, American and Dutch officials.[1][5]

Initially, the club consisted of several football sides based in towns from the entire county. In the summer of 1934, the inaugural edition of the Astra Societies Cup was organised by the rafinery, a trophy open for all the Astra teams. The matches were played in the town of Moreni. At the time, the refinery had only one team, Astra Română Câmpina, that was playing in the district championship. In order to make the cup more attractive, the society created three new football sides for the event: Astra Română Moreni, Astra Română Boldești and Astra Română Unirea Hârsa. After the 1937 edition of the Cup, the society decided to merge all of its Prahova teams and thus created Astra Română Ploiești on 29 May 1937. The team was registered in the district championship. Just a few months after the team's foundation, the society changed its name to Columbia and moved it to a ground located near the society's headquarters, in Câmpina. In May 1945, Astra Română Ploiești was reformed and played its home matches on the old Columbia Stadium, a stadium that still exists today in Ploiești and is used as a training ground by the team.

In the summer of 1992, Astra were promoted for the first time to the Divizia C. The following seasons it finished 6, 12, 3 and 14 in the championship.

Ascent under Ioan Niculae ownership (1996–2013)[edit]

In the summer of 1996, the club merged with Danubiana București, it changed its name to Danubiana Ploiești, and played for the first time in the Divizia B. After one season the club changed its name back to Astra. Since that year, Ioan Niculae has become the owner of the team. In 1998, Astra were promoted to the Divizia A for the first time. They played at this level for five consecutive seasons, until 2003, when it merged with Petrolul Ploiești.[6] Two years of pause pass for Astra, until 2005, when Ioan Niculae founded once again the club directly in the Liga II. It was relegated to the Liga III after only one season. In the summer of 2007, under the name of FC Ploiești, the team promoted back to the Liga II. In 2009, after six years, it finally promoted back to Liga I, with promotion achieved at the end of the 2008–09 season. It changed its name back to the traditional Astra Ploiești and the black and white colours were brought back, hence the team's old nickname, "The Black Devils".[7]

After 91 years in Ploiești, in September 2012, the club moved to Giurgiu.[3] The last match played in the Astra Stadium was on 2 September 2012, against Bucharest giants Dinamo București, won by Astra 1–0. The first game played on the Marin Anastasovici Stadium was on 23 September 2012, against Gaz Metan Mediaș. Astra won 4–0.

It qualified for the first time to the UEFA Europa League at the end of the 2012–13 Liga I season, after finishing 4th in the table.

The 2013–14 season was the most successful season in the club's history, reaching 2nd place in Liga I, losing the title by only five points to Steaua București and winning the Romanian Cup on penalties against the same team, Steaua. One month later they defeated Steaua București on penalties again, and won the Romanian Supercup.

First European participations and Șumudică era (2013–present)[edit]

Astra Giurgiu played its first European match ever in first qualification round of UEFA Europa League against Domžale, winning 1–0 in the first leg. In the second leg in Bucharest, Astra won 2–0 and qualified. In the second qualification round, Astra draw 1–1 with Omonia in the first leg in Bucharest and beat 2–1 in the second leg in Nicosia to advance. Seeded team after eliminating Omonia, Astra was drawn in third qualification round with Trenčín and qualified after winning 3–1 the first leg in Dubnica nad Váhom and drawing 2–2 in the second leg in Bucharest. In play-off, Astra faced the very first European defeat in a 0–2 against Maccabi Haifa in the first leg in Haifa, thus being eliminated after drawing 1–1 in the second leg in Bucharest.

Astra qualified directly in the third qualifying round after winning the Romanian Cup and met Slovan Liberec, winning both legs 3–0 in Giurgiu and 3–2 in Liberec, this time being the first European match to take place in Giurgiu. In the play-off round, Astra met Olympique Lyonnais, defeating them away in Lyon in a 2–1 win, with Kehinde Fatai and Constantin Budescu scoring the goals of victory. In Giurgiu, Lyon won 1–0 but Astra Giurgiu went on to the group stage phase due to the away goals rule. They were subsequently drawn in Group D alongside Red Bull Salzburg, Celtic and Dinamo Zagreb. Astra began their group stage adventure with a harmful 1–5 defeat at Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb against Croatian champions Dinamo, ending with Aurelian Chițu scoring their first goal in the group stages of a European cup. On 2 October 2014, Astra played Red Bull Salzburg one of the most important matches held on Marin Anastasovici Stadium in Giurgiu. Astra took the 1–0 lead with Takayuki Seto's goal, but were stunned by Jonatan Soriano's winner, losing 1–2. On matchday 3, Astra faced Celtic at Glasgow in a match which ended 1–2. On matchday 4, Astra hold Celtic in a 1–1 draw at Giurgiu, with William Amorim scoring the equaliser that brought their first group stage point. On matchday 5, Astra won 1–0 against Dinamo Zagreb with Sadat Bukari's winner, and secured its first ever victory in the Europa League group stages. Astra's Europa League campaign concluded at Red Bull Arena in Salzburg with another heavy 1–5 defeat to Red Bull. Astra ended in fourth place with four points, behind Salzburg (16 points), Celtic (8) and Dinamo (6).

On 28 April 2015, Marius Sumudica was appointed the new manager, having replaced Dorinel Munteanu. His first game in charge was a 2–1 away victory against rivals Petrolul Ploiești. He eventually led the team to a fourth-place finish, assuring qualification for the 2015–16 second round of the UEFA Europa League.

In the second round of the Europa League, Astra were paired with Inverness Caledonian Thistle, which resulted in a 1–0 Astra win on aggregate after a goal from Constantin Budescu. The third round proved to be extremely difficult, however, as Astra was drawn with English club West Ham United. A surprising 2–2 draw at London, followed by a 2–1 victory in Giurgiu, qualified Astra for the play-off round, where they faced Dutch club AZ. A 3–2 home victory for Giurgiu was not enough to see Astra qualified to the group stage as AZ won the reverse match in Alkmaar 2–0, thus ending the club's European campaign.

In the domestic league, Astra managed to impress. Despite having a poor start which included a severe 1–5 defeat from vice-champions ASA Targu Mures, the Astralii managed to finish the regular seasons champions. During this time, however, manager Marius Șumudică was convicted of betting on domestic matches, prompting his suspension by Romanian FA for the remainder of the season. On appeal, Șumudică managed to reduce his suspension to two months, and also begin to apply at the start of the 2016–17 Liga I. On 1 May 2016, after a draw between FC Steaua and Pandurii Tg. Jiu, Astra Giurgiu won the 2015–16 Liga I. This was Șumudică's first domestic title, and also made Giurgiu the 13th Romanian city to have won a national title, after Bucharest, Timișoara, Ploiești, Arad, Craiova, Cluj-Napoca, Pitești, Oradea, Brașov, Reșița, Urziceni and Galați. Astra also later won the 2016 Supercup against CFR Cluj.

Astra qualified for the UEFA Champions League, but were quickly eliminated by Danish side Copenhagen. Astra reached the play-off round of the 2016–17 UEFA Europa League and faced West Ham, which they also met – and defeated – one year prior. The club defeated West Ham 0–1 in London and reached the group stage of the Europa League, where they were drawn in Group E alongside Roma, Viktoria Plzeň and Austria Wien. Despite having zero points after two rounds, Astra Giurgiu managed to defeat Viktoria Plzeň and Austria Wien in away matches; this, in addition to a 0–0 draw with Roma and Austria Wien's failure against Plzeň secured Astra's place in the tournament's round of 32, where they faced Genk.

Crest and colours[edit]

Emblem[edit]

The present crest was adopted in July 2009, following the team's promotion from Liga II. The design is based on a classical template, and is characterized by the same black and white stripes which could be found on the team's shirts. The numerous stars which adorn the crest have their origin in the club's name, with Astra (like Steaua) being a Romanian word which translates as "The Star".

Kit[edit]

Currently, Astra Giurgiu's primary colors are white and black, although the kit design also included red on many occasions, especially on away outfits.

Grounds[edit]

Marin Anastasovici Stadium

Astra plays its home matches in Giurgiu at the Marin Anastasovici Stadium,[2] which has a current capacity of approximately 8,500 spectators. With the club having moved here since September 2012, the former Astra Stadium based in Ploiești now acts as a training ground.

Support[edit]

Rivalries[edit]

After Astra's premiere promotion to the Divizia A in the summer of 1998, its few fans engaged in a grudge with their cross-town rivals Petrolul Ploiești. Often, the matches between Astra and Petrolul ended with clashes between the supporters. Most Astra fans consider Petrolul as their main rivals, however Lupii galbeni regard Rapid București as their principal arch-enemies. The conflict was kept despite Astra's move to Giurgiu,[8] whilst the match has sometimes been referred to as Fostul derbi al Ploieștiului (English: Former Ploiești derby).

A mild rivalry also exists with Steaua București. In early 2016, at the time when the two clubs fought for the championship title, the non-playing staff of both sides often engaged in disputes via press statements. The rivalry between the two clubs ignited even further when a number of key Astra players chose to transfer to the capital-based team.[9]

Honours[edit]

Domestic[edit]

Leagues[edit]

Cups[edit]

Rankings[edit]

Players[edit]

First team squad[edit]

As of 13 February 2017.[12]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Romania GK Silviu Lung Jr.
2 Portugal DF Geraldo Alves
4 Brazil DF Fabrício
6 Romania MF Mădălin Răileanu
7 Romania DF Claudiu Belu
8 Japan MF Takayuki Seto (on loan from Osmanlıspor)
9 Romania FW Sergiu Buș
10 Romania FW Constantin Budescu
11 Romania FW Daniel Florea
13 Brazil DF Júnior Morais (Vice-captain)
14 Romania MF Romario Moise
15 Romania DF Cristian Oroș
17 Romania MF Viorel Nicoară
19 Senegal MF Boubacar Mansaly
20 Romania MF Florin Lovin
No. Position Player
21 Romania FW Daniel Niculae
22 Romania DF Cristian Săpunaru (Captain)
23 Bulgaria GK Plamen Iliev
24 France MF Damien Boudjemaa
30 Romania DF Alexandru Dandea
31 Romania MF Alexandru Ioniță
33 Romania GK Ionuț Boșneag
34 Portugal DF Ricardo Alves
71 Romania MF Andrei Pițian
77 Romania MF Alexandru Stan
80 Portugal MF Filipe Teixeira
96 Romania MF Silviu Balaure
97 Romania DF Mihnea Nicorescu
98 Romania DF Valentin Gheorghe

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Romania DF Radu Crișan (at Hermannstadt)
No. Position Player
Romania MF Robert Boboc (at Mioveni)

Second team squad (Astra II)[edit]

As of 3 March 2017

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Romania GK Iulian Nedelcu
Romania DF Fabian Ioniță
Romania DF Bogdan Mihăilă
Romania DF Cătălin Pahonțu
Romania DF Andrei Roman
Romania DF Daniel Vîrtej
Romania MF Paulian Banu
Romania MF Alin Bărîcă (on loan from SCM Pitești)
Romania MF Mihai Butean
Romania MF Ionuț Chiși
No. Position Player
Romania MF Cristian Cioran
Romania MF Denis Constantin
Romania MF Leonard Dăncilă
Romania MF Andrei Ioniță
Romania MF Berti Nicola
Romania MF Alexandru Oaie
Romania MF Constantin Popescu
Romania MF Răzvan Șerban
Romania FW Alin Gheorghe
Romania FW Marius Șumudică Jr.

Club officials[edit]

Shirt sponsor and supplier[edit]

Kit supplier Shirt sponsor
Spain Joma Romania Tinmar

Records and statistics[edit]

League history[edit]

Season League Pos. M W D L GS GA Pts. Notes
Before 1992
Data unavailable
1992–93 Liga III 6 38 19 4 15 57 51 42
1993–94 Liga III 12 36 14 6 16 40 47 34
1994–95 Liga III 3 36 21 3 12 68 35 66
1995–96 Liga III 14 36 15 3 18 51 52 48 Merged with Danubiana București, who won the promotion to the 2nd league.[13]
1996–97 Liga II 8 34 14 9 11 42 31 51 Played under the name of AS Danubiana Ploiești.[13]
1997–98 Liga II 1 34 28 4 2 80 20 88
1998–99 Liga I 10 34 13 7 14 40 38 46
1999–00 Liga I 10 34 13 8 13 43 41 47
2000–01 Liga I 10 30 11 7 12 41 36 40
2001–02 Liga I 12 30 9 10 11 29 28 37
2002–03 Liga I 9 30 13 3 14 42 42 42 Changed its name to Petrolul Ploiești.[14]
2005–06 Liga II 10 30 12 4 14 45 50 40
2006–07 Liga III 5 32 15 7 10 48 40 52
2007–08 Liga III 1 34 31 2 1 83 18 95 Promoted under the name of CSM FC Ploiești.[15]
2008–09 Liga II 2 30 21 4 5 62 32 67 Promoted under the name of FC Ploiești.[16]
2009–10 Liga I 14 34 8 12 14 33 45 36
2010–11 Liga I 11 34 10 15 9 36 30 45
2011–12 Liga I 12 34 11 8 15 36 43 41
2012–13 Liga I 4 34 17 9 8 64 37 60 Qualified for the 2013–14 UEFA Europa League
2013–14 Liga I 2 34 22 6 6 70 28 72 Qualified for the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League
2014–15 Liga I 4 34 15 12 7 53 27 57 Qualified for the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League
2015–16 Liga I 1 36 21 10 5 62 38 73 Qualified for the 2016–17 UEFA Champions League
Champion Runner-up Promoted Relegated

Cup history[edit]

Season Opponent 1st Leg 2nd Leg Cup Round Notes
Before 1996
Data unavailable
1996–97 Farul Constanța 1–2 1/32
1998–99 UM Timișoara 0–2 1/32
1999–00 Oțelul Galatați 1–2 (a.e.t.) 1/16
2000–01 Metrom Brașov 1–2 (a.e.t.) 1/32
2001–02 Rapid București 2–2 0–0 Semi-finals
2002–03 Dinamo București 2–1 1–3 (a.e.t.) Semi-finals
2005–06 Chimia Brazi 1–2 5th Round
2006–07 Petrolistul Boldești 0–3 3rd Round
2007–08 FCM Câmpina 3–4 4th Round
2008–09 Universitatea Craiova 1–3 1/32
2009–10 Dinamo București 1–2 Quarter-finals
2010–11 Rapid București 0–2 1/16
2011–12 Petrolul Ploiești 0–1 1/16
2012–13 CFR Cluj 0–0 0–2 Semi-finals
2013–14 Steaua București 0–0 (a.e.t.) 4–2 (PK) Final Winner of the competition
2014–15 CS Mioveni 1–3 1/32
2015–16 Dinamo București 1–2 Quarter-finals

League Cup history[edit]

Season Opponent 1st Leg 2nd Leg Cup Round Notes
Before 2014
The competition had a friendly character
2014–15 Steaua București 0–3 2–0 Semi-finals
2015–16 Steaua București 0–1 0–2 Semi-finals

European Cups history[edit]

Season Competition Round Club Home Away Aggregate
2013–14 UEFA Europa League 1Q Slovenia Domžale 2–0 1–0 3–0 Symbol keep vote.svg
2Q Cyprus Omonia 1–1 2–1 3–2 Symbol keep vote.svg
3Q Slovakia AS Trenčín 2–2 3–1 5–3 Symbol keep vote.svg
PO Israel Maccabi Haifa 1–1 0–2 1–3 Symbol delete vote.svg
2014–15 UEFA Europa League 3Q Czech Republic Slovan Liberec 3–0 3–2 6–2 Symbol keep vote.svg
PO France Lyon 0–1 2–1 2–2 (a) Symbol keep vote.svg
Group D Austria Red Bull Salzburg 1–2 1–5 4th Symbol delete vote.svg
Scotland Celtic 1–1 1–2
Croatia Dinamo Zagreb 1–0 1–5
2015–16 UEFA Europa League 2Q Scotland Inverness Caledonian Thistle 0–0 1–0 1–0 Symbol keep vote.svg
3Q England West Ham United 2–1 2–2 4–3 Symbol keep vote.svg
PO Netherlands AZ 3–2 0–2 3–4 Symbol delete vote.svg
2016–17 UEFA Champions League 3Q Denmark Copenhagen 1–1 0–3 1–4 Symbol delete vote.svg
UEFA Europa League PO England West Ham United 1–1 1–0 2–1 Symbol keep vote.svg
Group E Czech Republic Viktoria Plzeň 1–1 2–1 2nd Symbol keep vote.svg
Italy Roma 0–0 0–4
Austria Austria Wien 2–3 2–1
R32 Belgium Genk 2–2 0–1 2–3 Symbol delete vote.svg
Notes
  • 1Q: First qualifying round
  • 2Q: Second qualifying round
  • 3Q: Third qualifying round
  • PO: Play-off round

European cups all-time statistics[edit]

As of 9 December 2016
Competition S P W D L GF GA GD
UEFA Champions League 1 2 0 1 1 1 4 - 3
UEFA Europa League 4 32 14 9 9 43 45 - 2
Total 5 34 14 10 10 44 49 - 5

Notable Managers[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Istoric" [History] (in Romanian). FC Astra Giurgiu. 
  2. ^ a b "Astra are stadion de Europa League!" [Astra has a European stadium!] (in Romanian). Giurgiuveanul. 3 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Astra se mută la Giurgiu, iar Ploieștiul rămâne doar o amintire! Ioan Niculae: "Vrem să inaugurăm arena pe 20 septembrie!". Ȋmbunatățiri la arena giurgiuveană" [Astra moves to Giurgiu, and Ploiești only remains a memory! Ioan Niculae: "We want to open the stadium on September 20!"]. Sport Total FM. 6 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "Marius Şumudică a scris istorie! Astra Giurgiu este a 24-a campioană a României" [Marius Șumudică made history! Astra is Romania's 24th champion] (in Romanian). DigiSport. 1 May 2016. 
  5. ^ "Astra – din 1921" [Astra – since 1921] (in Romanian). Ziarul Prahova. 1 February 2013. 
  6. ^ "Aici este Petrolul Ploiești!" [Here lies Petrolul Ploiești!] (in Romanian). România Liberă. Retrieved 15 April 2009. 
  7. ^ "A reȋnviat Astra!" [Astra came back to life!] (in Romanian). liga2.ro. 13 June 2009. Retrieved 15 April 2009. 
  8. ^ "Fanii Petrolului jigniţi dur de Ioan Niculae! Patronul Astrei se ia şi de clubul din Ploieşti: "Nu are nici un palmares"" [Petrolul's fans, insulted by Ioan Niculae! He also talks about the club from Ploiești]. Gazeta Sporturilor (in Romanian). 16 April 2014. 
  9. ^ "Răspunsul ironic dat de Şumudică după ce Reghe a anunţat "desfiinţarea Astrei": "Dacă avem probleme, mai vindem un jucător la Steaua şi îi batem iar"" [The ironic comeback given by Șumudică after Reghe announced that "Astra will be dissolved": "If we have financial issues, we'll sell one more player to Steaua and we beat them again"]. ProSport (in Romanian). 22 April 2016. 
  10. ^ "Club World Ranking". IFFHS. 2016-01-07. 
  11. ^ "UEFA rankings for club competitions". UEFA. 2016-12-14. 
  12. ^ "Prima echipă" [First team squad] (in Romanian). FC Astra Giurgiu. 
  13. ^ a b "The history of Danubiana". Ilfov Sport. Retrieved 2014-12-08. 
  14. ^ "Here is Petrolul Ploieşti!". România Liberă. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  15. ^ "2007-08 Season of Liga III". Romanian Soccer. 
  16. ^ "2008-09 Season of Liga II". Romanian Soccer. 

External links[edit]

Official websites[edit]

Others[edit]