Saturday 10 December 2022

Ground #373 - Stadionul Rapid - Giulești

Date: 12th November 2022
Ground: Stadionul Rapid - Giulești
Location: Giulești, Bucharest, Romania

My thirteenth new ground of 2022 was on Saturday 12th November at Stadionul Rapid Giulești in Giulești, Bucharest, Romania. The game was Rapid Bucharești vs. Universitatea Craiova in the Romanian Superliga.

Stadionul Rapid - Giulești is located in the north-west of the city. It was opened in March 2022 and was built on the site of the old Stadionul Rapid - Giulești. The original stadium was a distinctive oval shape and was demolished in 2019. The ground sits opposite apartment buildings to the west, a children's 'comic opera' house to the south, a basketball arena to the north and the Grivița Railway Yards to the east which results in an irregular shape to the venue. It is located around half a mile from Crângași on the M1 Metro line and Grivița on the M4 Metro line.

The stadium has a uniform approach to the North, South and West Stands with an irregular East Stand. The West Stand is the main stand at the ground - it is the only two-tier stand with corporate boxes at the back of the lower tier. Media attendees are located in the middle of the upper tier while at pitch side the dugouts are sunk into the field of play and a tunnel between the two leads back to the dressing rooms. The exterior of the stand has the club reception and a tiny club shop which is presumably due to a proper club shop not being completed when the stadium was opened.

The two ends of the ground are identical with large single tiers and digital scoreboards hanging from the roof. Away fans are situated in the south-east corner. The East Stand has an unusual shape as it has to taper in because of the adjacent rail years - the roof remains at a consistent height with the other stands with the seating narrowing as it reaches the two ends of the ground. Unusually for new stadiums the seating is bucket seats sunk into concrete bases. The ground has a capacity of 14,047 but with the nature of the tight footprint of the structure it feels contained and retains sound well to generate a good atmosphere.

Rapid Buchareșt came in the game in 2nd place in the league some eight points off runaway leaders Farul Constanta. Their opponents Universitatea Craiova were in 4th but only two points behind so a win would leapfrog them above the hosts. They got off to a cracking start by scoring with less than five minutes on the clock - a defence splitting ball lead to an overload, Rivaldinho controlled the ball and laid off for Alexandru Cretu to slot in unopposed. The visitors then went 2-0 up in the 19th minute - it was all too easy with Rivalinho serving as provider again, this time for Stefan Baiaram who lost his marker and tapped in from a few yards out after the Brazilian's cross from the right. Rapid got back into the game five minutes later - a free-kick was lofted into the box, headed down by Cristian Sapunaru for Cristian Albu to slam home from inside the six yard box. The away side almost restored their two goal advantage on the stroke of half-time as a 20-yard curling shot from the far side of the area went just over. Into the 2nd half Rapid stepped it up a gear and dominated. In the 65th minute a 20 yard effort went just over the bar and in the 72nd minute they got back on level terms when a ball from the right by Alexandru Ionita was knocked in on the line by Marko Dugandzic. If anyone was going to get a winner it was the hosts but in the end of the game remained 2-2 with a point that kept both sides in the hunt for the European spots. 

Result: Rapid Bucharești 2-2 Universitatea Craiova
Division: Romanian Superliga
Attendance: 12,000

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