Romanian club CFR Cluj drew 0-0 against Dinamo Kyiv of Ukraine on „Dr. Constantin Rădulescu” stadium in Cluj-Napoca in a match for peace in front of a 5,000-strong crowd. Players entered the pitch carrying Ukraine’s flag on their shoulders. Together with the referees, they displayed a yellow and blue banner in the middle of the pitch with two messages, Match for Peace and #StopWarInUkraine. Fans in the stands also displayed a banner reading „Stop the War”. Romanian folk vocalist Vlăduța Lupău and Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina performed the national anthems of Romania and Ukraine, respectively.
Prior to kick-off, everyone observed a moment of silence in memory of the victims in neighboring Ukraine. The match was preceded by a concert for peace, featuring vocalists from the two countries. The guest list included famous Ukrainian pop singer Ruslana, the former winner of the Eurovision song contest, Vlăduța Lupău, Adela Todoran, Dorofeeva, Katerina Pavlenko and Julia Sanina. All proceeds raised will be donated to support the people of Ukraine. On match day, Dinamo Kyiv’s headcoach, Mircea Lucescu, visited the center of Cluj-Napoca, handing out tickets to passers-by. At the same time, Dinamo Kyiv players went for a walk in the city and joined their coach in distributing tickets. Ukrainian refugees were provided with free access. Also on Wednesday, Mircea Lucescu, together with the headcoach of CFR Cluj, Dan Petrescu, were accompanied by the players of the two teams as part of a visit to a center of Ukrainian refugees in Cluj. Attending the event was also Defense Minister Vasile Dîncu.
Originally, Dinamo Kyiv was scheduled to play FCSB, but the Ukrainian club cancelled the match due to offensive statements made by club owner Gigi Becali, who made a number of controversial declarations about the developments in Ukraine. The friendly match is part of a wider European charitable tour organized by Dinamo Kyiv in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Ukrainian domestic championship is suspended indefinitely, and Ukrainian clubs are trying to stay match-fit by playing friendlies in other countries. Dinamo Kyiv, which has won the championship 16 times, will continue its tour of Europe with matches scheduled against Borussia Dortmund of Germany and Dinamo Zagreb of Croatia. The club is also talking to officials of Manchester City and AC Milan to organize charitable matches in the near future.
(Mihai Pelin, Radio Romania International)