Asociația Fotbal Club Astra Giurgiu (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈastra ˈd͡ʒjurd͡ʒju]), commonly known as Astra Giurgiu, or simply as Astra, is a Romanian professional football club based in the city of Giurgiu, Giurgiu County, currently playing in the Liga I.
Founded in 1921 in Ploiești, Prahova County, as Clubul Sportiv Astra-Română, the club spent the majority of its history in the lower leagues. Only after late 1990s, when taken under the ownership of businessman Ioan Niculae, the club began to achieve success, with a premiere promotion to the top of the Romanian football league system in 1998. In September 2012, the team was moved from Ploiești to Giurgiu. At the end of 2015–16 season, the side led by head coach Marius Șumudică won a historic championship title, in the same time ending a three-year successful run of Steaua București.
Domestically, Astra's major honours include one Liga I, one Cupa României and two Supercupa României. On the international stage, their best performance is reaching UEFA Europa League's round of 32 in the 2016–17 season.
The colours of the club are white and black, hence the old nickname Dracii negri (The Black Devils). Red, which is present on the current crest, was worn on many occasions on away kits.
|Full name||Asociația Fotbal Club Astra Giurgiu|
|Founded||18 September 1921|
as Clubul Sportiv Astra-Română
|2017–18||Liga I, 5th|
|1921||Clubul Sportiv Astra-Română|
|1934||Astra Română Câmpina|
|1937||Astra Română Ploiești|
|1945||Astra Română Ploiești|
|1990||CS Astra Ploiești|
|1996||AS Danubiana Ploiești|
|1998||SC FC Astra Ploiești|
|2009||FC Astra Ploiești|
|2012||FC Astra Giurgiu|
On 18 September 1921, the weekly newspaper Ecoul Sportiv announced the founding of the Clubul Sportiv Astra-Română ("Astra-Romanian Sports Club") by the Astra-Română Society, an oil-company owned by Henri Deterding and based in Prahova and composed of English, American and Dutch officials.
Initially, the club consisted of several football sides based in towns from the entire county. In the summer of 1934, the refinery organised the inaugural edition of a tournament open for all the Astra teams, called the Astra Societies Cup. The matches were played in the town of Moreni. At the time, the refinery had only one team, Astra Română Câmpina, that was playing in the district championship. In order to make the cup more attractive, the society created three new football sides for the event: Astra Română Moreni, Astra Română Boldești and Astra Română Unirea Hârsa. After the 1937 edition of the Cup, the society decided to merge all of its Prahova teams and thus created Astra Română Ploiești on 29 May 1937. The team was registered in the district championship. Just a few months after the team's foundation, the society changed its name to Columbia and moved it to a ground located near the society's headquarters, in Câmpina. In May 1945, Astra Română Ploiești was reformed and played its home matches on the old Columbia Stadium, a stadium that still exists today in Ploiești and is used as a training ground by the team.
In the summer of 1992, Astra were promoted for the first time to the Divizia C. The following seasons it finished 6, 12, 3 and 14 in the championship.
In the summer of 1996, the club merged with Danubiana București, it changed its name to Danubiana Ploiești, and played for the first time in the Divizia B. After one season the club changed its name back to Astra. Since that year, Ioan Niculae has been the owner of the team. In 1998, Astra were promoted to the Divizia A for the first time. They played at this level for five consecutive seasons, until 2003, when it merged with Petrolul Ploiești. Two years of pause pass for Astra, until 2005, when Ioan Niculae founded once again the club directly in the Liga II. It was relegated to the Liga III after only one season. In the summer of 2007, under the name of FC Ploiești, the team promoted back to the Liga II. In 2009, after six years, it finally promoted back to Liga I, with promotion achieved at the end of the 2008–09 season. It changed its name back to the traditional Astra Ploiești and the black and white colours were brought back, hence the team's old nickname, "The Black Devils".
After 91 years in Ploiești, in September 2012, the club moved to Giurgiu. The last match played in the Astra Stadium was on 2 September 2012, against Bucharest giants Dinamo București, won by Astra 1–0. The first game played on the Marin Anastasovici Stadium was on 23 September 2012, against Gaz Metan Mediaș. Astra won 4–0.
The 2013–14 season was the most successful season in the club's history, reaching 2nd place in Liga I, losing the title by only five points to Steaua București and winning the Romanian Cup on penalties against the same team, Steaua. One month later they defeated Steaua București on penalties again, and won the Romanian Supercup.
Astra Giurgiu played its first European match ever in first qualification round of UEFA Europa League against Domžale, winning 1–0 in the first leg. In the second leg in Bucharest, Astra won 2–0 and qualified. In the second qualification round, Astra draw 1–1 with Omonia in the first leg in Bucharest and beat 2–1 in the second leg in Nicosia to advance. Seeded team after eliminating Omonia, Astra was drawn in third qualification round with Trenčín and qualified after winning 3–1 the first leg in Dubnica nad Váhom and drawing 2–2 in the second leg in Bucharest. In play-off, Astra faced the very first European defeat in a 0–2 against Maccabi Haifa in the first leg in Haifa, thus being eliminated after drawing 1–1 in the second leg in Bucharest.
Astra qualified directly in the third qualifying round after winning the Romanian Cup and met Slovan Liberec, winning both legs 3–0 in Giurgiu and 3–2 in Liberec, this time being the first European match to take place in Giurgiu. In the play-off round, Astra met Olympique Lyonnais, defeating them away in Lyon in a 2–1 win, with Kehinde Fatai and Constantin Budescu scoring the goals of victory. In Giurgiu, Lyon won 1–0 but Astra Giurgiu went on to the group stage phase due to the away goals rule. They were subsequently drawn in Group D alongside Red Bull Salzburg, Celtic and Dinamo Zagreb. Astra began their group stage adventure with a harmful 1–5 defeat at Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb against Croatian champions Dinamo, ending with Aurelian Chițu scoring their first goal in the group stages of a European cup. On 2 October 2014, Astra played Red Bull Salzburg one of the most important matches held on Marin Anastasovici Stadium in Giurgiu. Astra took the 1–0 lead with Takayuki Seto's goal, but were stunned by Jonatan Soriano's winner, losing 1–2. On matchday 3, Astra faced Celtic at Glasgow in a match which ended 1–2. On matchday 4, Astra hold Celtic in a 1–1 draw at Giurgiu, with William Amorim scoring the equaliser that brought their first group stage point. On matchday 5, Astra won 1–0 against Dinamo Zagreb with Sadat Bukari's winner, and secured its first ever victory in the Europa League group stages. Astra's Europa League campaign concluded at Red Bull Arena in Salzburg with another heavy 1–5 defeat to Red Bull. Astra ended in fourth place with four points, behind Salzburg (16 points), Celtic (8) and Dinamo (6).
On 28 April 2015, Marius Șumudică was appointed as the new head coach, following Dorinel Munteanu's resignation. It would be Sumudica's third term at the club, following two short spells in 2009 and 2011. His first game in charge was a 2–1 away victory against rivals Petrolul Ploiești. He eventually led the team to a fourth-place finish, assuring qualification for the 2015–16 second round of the UEFA Europa League.
In the second round of the Europa League, Astra were paired with Inverness Caledonian Thistle, which resulted in a 1–0 Astra win on aggregate after a goal from Constantin Budescu. The third round proved to be extremely difficult, however, as Astra was drawn with English club West Ham United. A surprising 2–2 draw at London, followed by a 2–1 victory in Giurgiu, qualified Astra for the play-off round, where they faced Dutch club AZ. A 3–2 home victory for Giurgiu was not enough to see Astra qualified to the group stage as AZ won the reverse match in Alkmaar 2–0, thus ending the club's European campaign.
In the domestic league, Astra managed to impress. Despite having a poor start which included a severe 1–5 defeat from vice-champions ASA Targu Mures, the Astralii managed to finish the regular seasons champions. During this time, however, manager Marius Șumudică was convicted of betting on domestic matches, prompting his suspension by Romanian FA for the remainder of the season. On appeal, Șumudică managed to reduce his suspension to two months, and also begin to apply at the start of the 2016–17 Liga I. On 1 May 2016, after a draw between FC Steaua and Pandurii Tg. Jiu, Astra Giurgiu won the 2015–16 Liga I. This was Șumudică's first domestic title, and also made Giurgiu the 13th Romanian city to have won a national title, after Bucharest, Timișoara, Ploiești, Arad, Craiova, Cluj-Napoca, Pitești, Oradea, Brașov, Reșița, Urziceni and Galați. Astra also later won the 2016 Supercup against CFR Cluj.
Astra qualified for the UEFA Champions League, but were quickly eliminated by Danish side Copenhagen. Astra reached the play-off round of the 2016–17 UEFA Europa League and faced West Ham, which they also met – and defeated – one year prior. The club defeated West Ham 0–1 in London and reached the group stage of the Europa League, where they were drawn in Group E alongside Roma, Viktoria Plzeň and Austria Wien. Despite having zero points after two rounds, Astra Giurgiu managed to defeat Viktoria Plzeň and Austria Wien in away matches; this, in addition to a 0–0 draw with Roma and Austria Wien's failure against Plzeň secured Astra's place in the tournament's round of 32, where they faced Genk. A 2-2 draw at Giurgiu followed by a defeat, 0-1 in Belgium ended Astra Giurgiu's best european campaign in history. 
In the league, Astra had a very disappointing campaign, struggling for the majority of the regular season in the second half of the table. However, a fantastic streak of 8 consecutive wins  allowed the Giurgiu club to finish 3rd in the regular season, and to qualify for the play-offs of 2016-17 Liga 1. The good form didn't last however, as they managed to gather just 5 points in the play-offs and eventually finished 6th. On 27th May, Astra lost the Romanian Cup Final against FC Voluntari after a penalty shootout, however because FC Voluntari didn't apply early enough for a European License to participate in the 2017-18 Europa League, the vacant spot was given to Astra, thus qualifying yet again in Europe.
The present crest was adopted in July 2009, following the team's promotion from Liga II. The design is based on a classical template, and is characterized by the same black and white stripes which could be found on the team's shirts. The numerous stars which adorn the crest have their origin in the club's name, with Astra (like Steaua) being a Romanian word which translates as "The Star".
Currently, Astra Giurgiu's primary colors are white and black, although the kit design also included red on many occasions, especially on away outfits.
Astra plays its home matches in Giurgiu at the Marin Anastasovici Stadium, which has a current capacity of approximately 8,500 spectators. With the club having moved here since September 2012, the former Astra Stadium in Ploiești now acts as a training ground.
After Astra's premiere promotion to the Divizia A in the summer of 1998, its few fans engaged in a grudge with their cross-town rivals Petrolul Ploiești. Often, the matches between Astra and Petrolul ended with clashes between the supporters. Most Astra fans consider Petrolul as their main rivals, however Lupii galbeni regard Rapid București as their principal arch-enemies. The conflict was kept despite Astra's move to Giurgiu, while the match is sometimes referred to as Fostul derbi al Ploieștiului (English: Former Ploiești derby).
A mild rivalry also exists with Steaua București. In early 2016, at the time when the two clubs fought for the championship title, the non-playing staff of both sides often engaged in disputes via press statements. However, after that period Astra accepted to sell some of its best players to the capital-based team, including Romanian Footballer of the Year winners Denis Alibec and Constantin Budescu.
Most notably a European rivalry has developed with West Ham United, of which FC Astra have triumphed twice on recent ocaisons.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Current technical staff
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Period||Shirt partner|
|1995–96||Liga III||14||36||15||3||18||51||52||48||Merged with Danubiana București, who won the promotion to the 2nd league.|
|1996–97||Liga II||8||34||14||9||11||42||31||51||Played under the name of AS Danubiana Ploiești.|
|2002–03||Liga I||9||30||13||3||14||42||42||42||Changed its name to Petrolul Ploiești.|
|2007–08||Liga III||1||34||31||2||1||83||18||95||Promoted under the name of CSM FC Ploiești.|
|2008–09||Liga II||2||30||21||4||5||62||32||67||Promoted under the name of FC Ploiești.|
|2012–13||Liga I||4||34||17||9||8||64||37||60||Qualified for the 2013–14 UEFA Europa League|
|2013–14||Liga I||2||34||22||6||6||70||28||72||Qualified for the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League|
|2014–15||Liga I||4||34||15||12||7||53||27||57||Qualified for the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League|
|2015–16||Liga I||1||36||21||10||5||62||38||73||Qualified for the 2016–17 UEFA Champions League|
|2016–17||Liga I||6||36||14||7||15||42||45||49||Qualified for the 2017–18 UEFA Europa League|
|Season||Opponent||1st Leg||2nd Leg||Cup Round||Notes|
|1999–00||Oțelul Galați||1–2 (a.e.t.)||1/16|
|2000–01||Metrom Brașov||1–2 (a.e.t.)||1/32|
|2002–03||Dinamo București||2–1||1–3 (a.e.t.)||Semi-finals|
|2005–06||Chimia Brazi||1–2||5th Round|
|2006–07||Petrolistul Boldești||0–3||3rd Round|
|2007–08||FCM Câmpina||3–4||4th Round|
|2013–14||Steaua București||0–0 (a.e.t.) 4–2 (PK)||Final||Winner of the competition|
|2016–17||FC Voluntari||1–1 (a.e.t.) 3–5 (PK)||Final||Runner-up|
|2017–18||Gaz Metan Mediaș||0–1||Quarter-finals|
|Season||Opponent||1st Leg||2nd Leg||Cup Round||Notes|
|2016–17||Dinamo București||2–5 (a.e.t.)||Quarter-finals|
|2013–14||UEFA Europa League||1Q||Domžale||2–0||1–0||3–0|
|2014–15||UEFA Europa League||3Q||Slovan Liberec||3–0||3–2||6–2|
|Group D||Red Bull Salzburg||1–2||1–5||4th|
|2015–16||UEFA Europa League||2Q||Inverness Caledonian Thistle||0–0||1–0||1–0|
|3Q||West Ham United||2–1||2–2||4–3|
|2016–17||UEFA Champions League||3Q||Copenhagen||1–1||0–3||1–4|
|UEFA Europa League||PO||West Ham United||1–1||1–0||2–1|
|Group E||Viktoria Plzeň||1–1||2–1||2nd|
|2017–18||UEFA Europa League||2Q||Zira||3–1||0–0||3–1|
|UEFA Champions League||1||2||0||1||1||1||4||–3|
|UEFA Europa League||5||38||15||12||11||48||50||–2|
The footballers enlisted below have had international cap(s) for their respective countries at junior and/or senior level and/or more than 100 caps for FC Astra Giurgiu.
The 2014 Cupa României Final was the 76th final of Romania's most prestigious knock-out competition. The final was played at the Arena Națională stadium, in Bucharest, between Steaua București and Astra Giurgiu. Astra Giurgiu won the trophy, for the first time in their history, with a 4-2 win in a penalty shoot-out. After 120 minutes, of regular play, the score was tied at a 0-0 draw.2014 Supercupa României
The 2014 Supercupa României was the 16th edition of Romania's season opener cup competition. The game was contested between Liga I title holders, Steaua București, and Romanian Cup winners, Astra Giurgiu. It was played at Arena Națională in Bucharest in July. Astra won the trophy for the first time in history, after defeating Steaua Bucharest, the defending champions, 5–3 on penalties.2016 Supercupa României
The 2016 Supercupa României was the 18th edition of Romania's season opener cup competition. The game was contested between Liga I title holders, Astra Giurgiu, and Romanian Cup holders, CFR Cluj. It was played at Cluj Arena in Cluj-Napoca in July. Astra won the trophy for the second time in its history, after defeating CFR Cluj with 1–02017 Cupa României Final
The Cupa României Final was the final match of the 2016–17 Cupa României, played between FC Voluntari and Astra Giurgiu. Voluntari won the match, 5–3 after penalties.2018–19 FC Astra Giurgiu season
The 2018–19 season will be the 48th season of competitive football by Astra Giurgiu. Astra Giurgiu will compete in the Liga I and in Cupa României.Astra Stadium
Astra Stadium is a football-only stadium in Ploiești, Romania. It is currently used as the home ground of FC Astra II, the second team of Astra Giurgiu, former Astra Ploiești, club that moved in 2012 from Ploiești to Giurgiu.
Petrolul Ploiești and Otopeni also played their Liga I matches for one season on this stadium. Petrolul in the 2003–04 season and Otopeni in the 2008–09 because their own stadiums, Ilie Oană Stadium and Otopeni Stadium, didn't met the requirements.Costel Enache
Costel Enache (born 11 March 1973) is a Romanian football coach and former player. He is currently the manager of Liga I club Astra Giurgiu.Florin Marin
Florin "Flocea" Marin (born 19 May 1953) is a Romanian football manager and a former football defender.Gabriel Popa (footballer)
Gabriel Daniel Popa (born 27 August 1985 in Călăraşi) is a Romanian footballer who is playing for Dunărea Călăraşi.Ion Moldovan
Ion Moldovan (born 3 September 1954) is a retired Romanian footballer and currently the technical director of Concordia Chiajna. He is nicknamed "Comisarul".Marian Bondrea
Marian Bondrea (born 2 November 1950 in Craiova) is a Romanian football manager and former footballer. His last managerial job was performed at Ceahlăul Piatra Neamț.Marian Cristescu
Marian Cristescu (born 17 March 1985) is a Romanian footballer who plays for Concordia Chiajna as a midfielder.Marin Barbu
Marin Barbu (born 27 September 1958 in Bucharest) is a Romanian football coach and former footballer. During his football career, Marin Barbu played, among others, for Steaua București and FC Brașov. He left his position as head coach of Dunărea Giurgiu on January 12, 2010.
In April 2013, he was the head coach of Astra Giurgiu for only one game, being dismissed after a week.
From April 2014 till August 2014 he was the head coach of Ceahlăul Piatra Neamț.Marin Dună
Marin Dună (born 2 August 1967) is a former Romanian professional footballer and currently the manager of Concordia Chiajna II.Nicolò Napoli
Nicolò Napoli (born 7 February 1962 in Palermo) is an Italian professional football manager and former football player.Stadionul Marin Anastasovici
Marin Anastasovici Stadium is a multi-use stadium in Giurgiu, Romania. It is currently used mostly for football matches and is the home ground of Astra Giurgiu. The stadium holds 8,500 people all on seats.
The first international game was played by the Romania national under-21 football team on 19 November 2013 in a match against Germany which ended 2-2.
The first game for Romania at Giurgiu was a friendly match against Lithuania on 23 March 2016.
The stadium host also various UEFA Europa League matches and also a match from UEFA Champions League qualifying rounds.Stadionul Prahova
Prahova Stadium is a football-only stadium in Ploieşti, Romania. It is currently used mostly for football matches and is the home ground of the reserve and youth teams of football team Astra Ploieşti. The stadium is 100% the property of Astra Ploieşti president, Ioan Niculae.
Currently the old Romanian champion, Prahova Ploieşti, is playing on this stadium after it has been refounded in 2018. The team also played here between 1980-2000, before the team had been disbanded.
In the future, the stadium will be renovated according to the UEFA stadium standards up to the third category.Valentin Gheorghe
Valentin Gheorghe (born 14 February 1997) is a Romanian professional footballer who plays for Astra Giurgiu as a defender.Valentin Sinescu
Valentin Sinescu is a Romanian football manager. He was the head coach of Astra Giurgiu in Liga I between October 2012 and April 2013 and current assistant manager of Liga I club Petrolul Ploiești.