FC Astra Giurgiu
Asociația Fotbal Club Astra Giurgiu (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈastra ˈd͡ʒjurd͡ʒju]), 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.
|Full name||Asociația Fotbal Club Astra Giurgiu|
|Founded||18 September 1921|
as Clubul Sportiv Astra-Română
|2018–19||Liga I, 5th|
Founded in 1921 in Ploiești, Prahova County, as Clubul Sportiv Astra-Română, the club spent the majority of its history in the lower leagues. Only after late 1990s, 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. At the end of 2015–16 season, the side led by head coach Marius Șumudică won a historic championship title, at the same time ending a three-year successful run of FC Steaua București.
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.
|1921||Clubul Sportiv Astra-Română|
|1934||Astra Română Câmpina|
|1937||Astra Română Ploiești|
|1945||Astra Română Ploiești|
|1990||CS Astra Ploiești|
|1996||AS Danubiana Ploiești|
|1998||SC FC Astra Ploiești|
|2009||FC Astra Ploiești|
|2012||FC Astra Giurgiu|
Founding, early years and lower divisions (1921–1996)Edit
On 18 September 1921, the 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 and composed of English, American and Dutch officials.
Initially, the club consisted of several football sides based in towns from the entire county. In the summer of 1934, the refinery organised the inaugural edition of a tournament open for all the Astra teams, called the Astra Societies Cup. 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 Niculae's 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 been 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. 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".
After 91 years in Ploiești, in September 2012, the club moved to Giurgiu. 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.
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 (2013–2017)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 Șumudică was appointed as the new head coach, following Dorinel Munteanu's resignation. It would be Sumudica's third term at the club, following two short spells in 2009 and 2011. 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. A 2-2 draw at Giurgiu followed by a defeat, 0-1 in Belgium ended Astra Giurgiu's best european campaign in history. 
In the league, Astra had a very disappointing campaign, struggling for the majority of the regular season in the second half of the table. However, a fantastic streak of 8 consecutive wins  allowed the Giurgiu club to finish 3rd in the regular season, and to qualify for the play-offs of 2016-17 Liga 1. The good form didn't last however, as they managed to gather just 5 points in the play-offs and eventually finished 6th. On 27th May, Astra lost the Romanian Cup Final against FC Voluntari after a penalty shootout, however because FC Voluntari didn't apply early enough for a European License to participate in the 2017-18 Europa League, the vacant spot was given to Astra, thus qualifying yet again in Europe.
Recent history (2017–)Edit
Crest and coloursEdit
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".
Currently, Astra Giurgiu's primary colors are white and black, although the kit design also included red on many occasions, especially on away outfits.
Astra plays its home matches in Giurgiu at the Marin Anastasovici Stadium, which has a current capacity of approximately 8,500 spectators. With the club having moved here since September 2012, the former Astra Stadium in Ploiești now acts as a training ground.
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, and the match is sometimes referred to as Fostul derbi al Ploieștiului (English: Former Ploiești derby).
A bittersweet relationship also exists with FC Steaua București; in early 2016, during the time when the two clubs fought for the league title, the officials of both sides often engaged in disputes via press conferences. On the other hand, following that period Astra accepted to sell some of its best players to the capital-based team, including eventual Romanian Footballer of the Year winners Denis Alibec and Constantin Budescu. In addition, a 1–0 win of FCSB in Giurgiu even led to accusations of match fixing in March 2019.
First team squadEdit
- As of 1 July 2019
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loanEdit
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Current technical staffEdit
Shirt sponsors and manufacturersEdit
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Period||Shirt partner|
Records and statisticsEdit
|1995–96||Liga III||14||36||15||3||18||51||52||48||Merged with Danubiana București, who won the promotion to the 2nd league.|
|1996–97||Liga II||8||34||14||9||11||42||31||51||Played under the name of AS Danubiana Ploiești.|
|2002–03||Liga I||9||30||13||3||14||42||42||42||Changed its name to Petrolul Ploiești.|
|2007–08||Liga III||1||34||31||2||1||83||18||95||Promoted under the name of CSM FC Ploiești.|
|2008–09||Liga II||2||30||21||4||5||62||32||67||Promoted under the name of FC Ploiești.|
|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|
|2016–17||Liga I||6||36||14||7||15||42||45||49||Qualified for the 2017–18 UEFA Europa League|
|Season||Opponent||1st Leg||2nd Leg||Cup Round||Notes|
|1999–00||Oțelul Galați||1–2 (a.e.t.)||1/16|
|2000–01||Metrom Brașov||1–2 (a.e.t.)||1/32|
|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|
|2013–14||Steaua București||0–0 (a.e.t.) 4–2 (PK)||Final||Winner|
|2016–17||FC Voluntari||1–1 (a.e.t.) 3–5 (PK)||Final||Runner-up|
|2017–18||Gaz Metan Mediaș||0–1||Quarter-finals|
|2018–19||Viitorul Constanța||1–2 (a.e.t.)||Final||Runner-up|
League Cup historyEdit
|Season||Opponent||1st Leg||2nd Leg||Cup Round||Notes|
|2016–17||Dinamo București||2–5 (a.e.t.)||Quarter-finals|
European Cups historyEdit
|2013–14||UEFA Europa League||1Q||Domžale||2–0||1–0||3–0|
|2014–15||UEFA Europa League||3Q||Slovan Liberec||3–0||3–2||6–2|
|Group D||Red Bull Salzburg||1–2||1–5||4th|
|2015–16||UEFA Europa League||2Q||Inverness Caledonian Thistle||0–0||1–0||1–0|
|3Q||West Ham United||2–1||2–2||4–3|
|2016–17||UEFA Champions League||3Q||Copenhagen||1–1||0–3||1–4|
|UEFA Europa League||PO||West Ham United||1–1||1–0||2–1|
|Group E||Viktoria Plzeň||1–1||2–1||2nd|
|2017–18||UEFA Europa League||2Q||Zira||3–1||0–0||3–1|
- 1Q: First qualifying round
- 2Q: Second qualifying round
- 3Q: Third qualifying round
- PO: Play-off round
European cups all-time statisticsEdit
- As of 9 March 2018
|UEFA Champions League||1||2||0||1||1||1||4||–3|
|UEFA Europa League||5||38||15||12||11||48||50||–2|
Notable former playersEdit
The footballers enlisted below have had international cap(s) for their respective countries at junior and/or senior level and/or more than 100 caps for FC Astra Giurgiu.
Notable former managersEdit
- "Istoric" [History] (in Romanian). FC Astra Giurgiu. Archived from the original on 25 April 2016.
- "Astra are stadion de Europa League!" [Astra has a European stadium!] (in Romanian). Giurgiuveanul. 3 July 2014. Archived from the original on 4 November 2014.
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- "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. Archived from the original on 30 July 2017.
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- "A reȋnviat Astra!" [Astra came back to life!] (in Romanian). liga2.ro. 13 June 2009. Retrieved 15 April 2009.
- "Omonia 1–2 Astra". UEFA.com. 25 July 2013. Archived from the original on 6 March 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "VIDEO Budescu Show! Atacantul Astrei a eliminat-o pe Omonia cu o dublă de senzaţie, 2–1" [VIDEO Budescu Show! Astra's attacking midfielder eliminated Omonia with an exciting double, 2–1]. Gazeta Sporturilor (in Romanian). 27 July 2013. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Astra - Maccabi Haifa 1-1. Giurgiuvenii părăsesc UEFA Europa League" [Astra – Maccabi Haifa 1–1. The Giurgiu People leave UEFA Europa League] (in Romanian). Digi Sport. 29 August 2013. Archived from the original on 1 September 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Lyon 1–2 Astra". UEFA.com. 21 August 2014. Archived from the original on 23 December 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Europa League, tragerea la sorti. Steaua, in grupa cu Dinamo Kiev, Rio Ave si Aalborg. Astra va intalni Salzburg, Celtic si Dinamo Zagreb" [Europa League draw. Steaua will be in the group with Dinamo Kiev, Rio Ave and Aalborg. Astra will meet Salzburg, Celtic and Dinamo Zagreb] (in Romanian). HotNews.ro. 29 August 2014. Archived from the original on 7 September 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Astra obţine prima victorie în grupele Europa League, 1-0 cu Dinamo Zagreb, şi urcă pe locul 3 în grupă" [Astra obtains its first victory in the Europa League group stage, 1–0 against Dinamo Zagreb, and reaches the third place in the table]. Gazeta Sporturilor (in Romanian). 27 November 2014. Archived from the original on 30 December 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Şumudică este noul antrenor al Astrei, după demisia lui Dorinel Munteanu: "Vreau să ne calificăm în Europa"" [Şumudică is Astra's new coach, after Dorinel Munteanu's resignation: "I want us to qualify for European cups"] (in Romanian). Digi Sport. 28 April 2015. Archived from the original on 1 May 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Astra se califică în turul trei preliminar după 1-0 la general cu Inverness" [Astra qualifies for the third round after 1–0 on aggregate against Inverness]. Gazeta Sporturilor (in Romanian). 23 July 2015. Archived from the original on 9 August 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Astra Giurgiu 2–1 West Ham". BBC Sport. 6 August 2015. Archived from the original on 18 January 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Astra - West Ham 2-1. Dubla lui Budescu i-a calificat pe giurgiuveni în play-off-ul Europa League" [Astra – West Ham 2–1. Budescu's "double" qualifies the team for the Europa League play-off round] (in Romanian). Digi Sport. 6 August 2015. Archived from the original on 14 November 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Alkmaar - Astra 2-0. Gafa lui Lung jr. a lăsat România fără nicio echipă în grupele cupelor europene" [Astra – Alkmaar 2–0. Lung Jr.'s mistake leaves Romania without any teams in the European cups' group stage] (in Romanian). Digi Sport. 27 August 2015. Archived from the original on 25 August 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Marius Sumudica, prins si el la pariuri? Antrenorul Astrei va merge astazi la Comisia de Disciplina a FRF!" [Șumudică, also caught betting? Astra's head coach will go to FRF's discipline committee today] (in Romanian). SportTotal FM. 10 February 2016. Archived from the original on 1 May 2018. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Pedeapsa lui Şumudică, redusă de la 6 la 2 luni: sancţiunea intră în vigoare începând cu sezonul 2016-2017! Reacţia antrenorului" [Șumudică's sanction, reduced from 6 to 2 months: the suspension will be applied starting with the 2016–2017 season! The coach's reaction] (in Romanian). ProSport. 8 March 2016. Archived from the original on 13 June 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Astra Giurgiu a câștigat Supercupa României, după 1-0 cu CFR Cluj" [Astra Giurgiu won the Romanian Supercup, after a 1–0 victory over CFR Cluj] (in Romanian). Agerpres. 16 July 2016. Archived from the original on 18 July 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Astra, eliminata din Liga Campionilor dupa o infrangere la scor la Copenhaga" [Astra, eliminated from the Champions League after a harsh defeat in Copenhagen]. Ziare.com (in Romanian). 3 August 2016. Archived from the original on 21 March 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "EXTRAORDINAR! Astra elimina din nou West Ham si se califica in grupele Europa League! West Ham 0-1 Astra. Teixeira a marcat, Lung, EROU" [INCREDIBLE! Astra defeats West Ham again and qualifies for the Europa League group stage! West Ham 0–1 Astra] (in Romanian). Sport.ro. 25 August 2016. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Steaua și Astra și-au aflat adversarele din grupele Europa League" [Steaua and Astra Europa League groups revealed] (in Romanian). Digi24. 26 August 2016. Archived from the original on 2 November 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Astra - Genk, în şaisprezecimile Europa League. Programul complet" [Astra – Genk, in the Europa League Round of 32] (in Romanian). Digi Sport. 12 December 2016. Archived from the original on 14 December 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Astra Giurgiu a ajuns la 8 victorii consecutive în Liga întâi". radiocluj.ro. 7 March 2017. Archived from the original on 8 March 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
- "FC Voluntari - Astra 1-1 (5-3 d.l.d). Minunea din Ilfov! Claudiu Niculescu, performanță istorică în finala Cupei României" [FC Voluntari - Astra 1–1 (Penalties 5–3). The Ilfov wonder! Claudiu Niculescu, historic performance in the Romanian Cup final] (in Romanian). Digi Sport. 27 May 2017. Archived from the original on 21 June 2017. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
- "Șumudică pleacă de la Astra! Cine vine în locul lui: "A fost contactat de conducere, va fi noul antrenor. Nu iese fum fără foc"" [Șumudică leaves Astra! Who replaces him: "He was contacted by the club officials, he will be the new coach. There is no smoke without fire"]. Gazeta Sporturilor (in Romanian). 7 April 2017. Archived from the original on 14 June 2017. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
- "Edward Iordănescu, noul antrenor al echipei Astra Giurgiu" [Edward Iordănescu, the new coach of Astra Giurgiu] (in Romanian). Agerpres. 8 June 2017. Archived from the original on 17 July 2017. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
- "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. Archived from the original on 21 August 2014.
- "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"] (in Romanian). ProSport. 22 April 2016.
- "ȘOCUL SERII în fotbalul românesc! FRF anchetează meciul Astra-FCSB, după ce CSU Craiova a denunțat un posibil BLAT" [The SHOCK OF THE EVENING in Romanian football! FRF investigates the Astra-FCSB match, after CSU Craiova denounced a possible fixing] (in Romanian). B1 TV. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
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