Analysis: Soccer-Romania's main Man has Midas touch in Euro win over Ukraine


Soccer Football - Euro 2024 - Group E - Romania v Ukraine - Munich Football Arena, Munich, Germany - June 17, 2024 Romania's Nicolae Stanciu and Dennis Man react REUTERS/Michaela Stache

MUNICH (Reuters) - Romania scored with three different players in their 3-0 Group E victory over Ukraine on Monday - but forward Dennis Man stood out for having a hand in every goal.

The 25-year-old was quick to collect a poor clearance from Ukraine goalkeeper Andrey Lunin and lay the ball off to captain Nicolae Stanciu who struck it into the top corner from distance to give Romania a shock lead in the 29th minute.

Early in the second half Man, described by his former Romania youth team coach Mirel Radoi as "the full package", drove speedily at the Ukrainian defence in a move which culminated in Razvan Marin smashing the ball in from distance.

The third goal showed his quality on the ball as he exchanged intricate passes from a short corner and shifted the ball past an oncoming Ukrainian player in the box before expertly finding Denis Dragus in the middle with a quick short pass.

Man became the most expensive transfer from the Romanian top-flight when he signed for Serie A side Parma from FCSB in 2021 for 13 million euros ($14 million) including add-ons.

Although his first season ended in relegation, the most recent campaign was his most successful to date with 11 goals and six assists in the league, helping Parma secure promotion back to the Italian top-flight.

He has taken that form into this tournament as Romania, usually known for low-scoring games and defensive displays, secured only their second win in European Championship history in some style.

The defensive unit was still as tight as ever, with centre backs Radu Dragusin and Andrei Burca looking impenetrable for the Ukrainian frontline that included speedy forward Mykhailo Mudryk and LaLiga's top scorer last season, Artem Dovbyk.

Romania also celebrated almost every defensive intervention like a goal, with players giving each other chest bumps and back slaps for securing a goal kick or making a tackle.

It was the kind of team spirit manager Edward Iordanescu, son of Romanian football great Anghel, had alluded to in the build-up to the game when he predicted his side would have to fight for every metre on the pitch.

His team fulfilled that pledge and celebrated their deserved win with their backroom staff in front of their jubilant fans.

($1 = 0.9330 euros)

(Reporting by Christian Radnedge; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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