In a few days time, AC Milan will come up against CS Universitatea Craiova of Romania in the Third Qualifying Round of the UEFA Europa League.
It’s a club that many Milanisti might not know anything about, so we’ve compiled a bit of a report on the club.
CS Universitatea Craiova, that’s CS Craiova to you, were founded by students and professors at The Institute of Electric Machines and Appliances. As for the nickname? Well, it’s in the name - Universitatea. Craiova are nicknamed Studenții - ‘The Students’. You might also hear them by the name of Campioana unei mari iubiri. This means ‘The Champion of a Great Love’. The words of former Craiova star, Alexandru Boc, speak volumes about the desire behind CSU:
"I can not tell you what was in Craiova that night and on the road. The world was waiting for us, it was something extraordinary, being the first championship won by Craiova. They gave us 5,000 lei and they sent us to businesses each. students, That was our first one, but please, we were students," - Boc, speaking to Digisport
Being a University sports club, CS Universitatea Craiova have many arms. They play plenty of other sports. They dissolved their footballing section in 1994. FC Universitatea Craiova carried on the name, but was dissolved by the Romanian FA in 2012, before licenses were arranged for CS Craiova to carry on as they did before.
As for a social media presence - there is one! Slightly. Craiova’s twitter is just an output of their YouTube channel. I’ve got more followers than it, which is very unfortunate.
Milan-born Devis Mangia is the current head coach of Craiova and many fans of Italian football will recognise him. He’s managed across the leagues - taking the hotseat at Bari, Palermo and other teams - but he was also in charge of the Italian Under-21 team in 2012. Mangia has used this experience to build a foundation of Italian youth in Craiova, but not just that - his connections have helped him bring in Fausto Rossi - a proven second tier talent in Italy. We don’t know much about the rest of the team - but they are unbeaten in their start to the Romanian League.
This marks a return to European Football for both teams - Craiova have not been involved since they relicensed and Milan have not been involved due to poor form and Milan would do well not to take this game for granted - especially the first leg at Stadionul Municipal. Milan do have history on their side, though. In the three times they have played Romanian opposition, they have not lost. However, their most recent tie was against Steaua Bucharest back in 1989. We will all know a lot more about CS Craiova when we play them in Romania on the 27th of July.