(Reuters) – CFR Cluj clinched their fifth Romanian league title and a place in the Champions League first qualifying round with a 1-0 win over Universitatea Craiova as they retained the crown on Sunday.
The Transylvanian club moved on to 50 points with one game left for an unassailable five-point lead over nearest challengers, FCSB – formerly known as Steaua Bucharest.
Argentine midfielder Emmanuel Culio converted from the penalty spot in the ninth minute after Alexandru Paun was pushed in the back by Universitatea’s Croatian defender Renato Kelic.
Cluj won three league titles, three national cups and two Supercups between 2008 and 2012. They also played in the Champions League group stage three times.
But the Railwaymen then fell on hard times, owing huge sums to the state before going into administration in 2014.
In 2017, however, local businessman Marian Bagacean agreed to buy a majority stake in Cluj and hired as coach former Chelsea right back Dan Petrescu, who led them to the title in his first season in charge.
Petrescu left Cluj at the end of last term to coach the Chinese side Guizhou Hengfeng but returned to the club in March.
(Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Ken Ferris)