On loan to FC Rapid Bucuresti for the 2023/24 campaign, Arsenal youngster Catalin Cirjan made his competitive debut for the side in a league game against Sepsi OSK on Friday, Rapid’s opening game of the season.
Cirjan was named in the starting lineup for his loan side, and he was very unlucky not to score on two occasions in the first half.
In the 28th minute, the midfielder picked up the ball in the penalty area, taking a touch to get it under control before feinting past two defenders desperately diving in to make a block.
After making the space for himself, Cirjan fired at goal, but a covering defender on the line managed to block the shot away.
Just a minute later, Cirjan found himself free in the box after an early cross, and he headed a looping effort towards goal.
But the Sepsi goalkeeper managed to tip the shot onto the crossbar, and the defenders cleared the rebound.
Cirjan will wonder what he did to deserve both efforts being kept out, as he seemed to do everything right on each occasion.
Unfortunately, Rapid couldn’t break the deadlock throughout the 90 minutes, and the match finished 0-0.
Cirjan completed four out of four dribble attempts and won 10 of his 15 individual duels on the night, earning four free kicks, so it certainly seems he’s up to the physical challenge of the Romanian Superliga.
“It was an extraordinary atmosphere, I didn’t expect something like this,” Cirjan said afterwards.
“It was the debut match, the fans were incredible, but I’m disappointed, I think we deserved more. I really wanted to start well, I give everything to every match.
“I wanted to win, we played a good game, but we didn’t win today. You can expect more from me, it was the first match, I’m slowly getting used to the boys. It was an okay evening for me, but I want more.
“It’s a special atmosphere, I don’t think it happens in many places like Giulești. We thank the fans for being with us. It was difficult for us (Adrian Mutu’s departure), we had to change the system, but I think we did it very well and we looked good today.
“I feel very good, I think it’s a good level, I came here to prove that I can play senior football and I hope to have a good season.”