There was no old pals act from Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup as his side gave one of his former charges a masterclass in finishing in the Europa League.
Cosmin Contra played under Laudrup at Spanish side Getafe when they reached the quarter-finals of the competition back in 2008. However, the reunion turned into a first-leg rout for the Ploiestri manager that must have put the Welsh club on course for the group stages even though they still have to go to Romania next week.
Laudrup said: “Five-one is a fantastic result before the second leg. My players did well, especially in the first half. Overall, I’m very pleased.”
Swansea were three goals to the good by half-time. Once the passes started to flow and stick they found some rhythm and Wayne Routledge hammered home the opening goal in the 14th minute after some quick thinking from the excellent Jonjo Shelvey.
The former Liverpool midfielder took a quick free-kick wide out on the right, Michu stepped over it on the penalty spot and Routledge’s first time shot was edged past the hapless Ploiesti goalkeeper Pecanha by the outstretched boot of the covering Ovidiu Hoban.
The familiar name of Michu was next on the scoresheet some six minutes later as he poached another goal from two yards out after another Shelvey cross was pulled back by Pablo Hernandez for his fellow Spaniard to tap home. Michu turned provider minutes later as he won the ball back with a strong tackle in the centre circle to allow Leon Britton to send Hernandez racing clear down the right before picking out an unmarked Routledge at the far post for what was a third goal in 11 minutes.
Pecanha then inadvertently provided the fourth after the break as he diverted Wilfried Bony’s shot over the line after the Ivory Coast striker’s effort squirmed under him, before Alejandro Pozuelo raced on to a Michu pass to finish in style with 20 minutes to go.
Michel Vorm was finally forced to make a save in the 82nd minute, but five minutes later he had no chance when a speculative cross from the left was brilliantly hit home with an overhead kick by Gheorghe Grozav.
Man of the match Shelvey.
Match rating 8/10.
Referee S Karasev (Rus).