Dinamo Moscow v Ufa, Saturday 3rd April 2021, 7pm

It’s getting more difficult now to find grounds in Moscow that I haven’t previously visited. But it doesn’t always have to be about another tick on the list, sometimes it’s good just to get out and watch a game and so on Saturday I popped along to the Lev Yashin stadium for Dinamo’s Premier League game with Ufa.

One of the advantages of going to see Dinamo is that it is easy to get there and back on the subway, with a station right outside the stadium. You have to change between lines six and two though and as I had plenty of time I thought I’d come back above ground at that point and have a mooch about.

I found myself fairly central with the river and St. Basil’s Cathedral a few hundred yards away. There were a few old churches nearby and a street with bars, restaurants and tat shops, but overall there wasn’t much to look at. Some of the buildings were fairly run down but had interesting brickwork. I hope they keep them rather than flatten them for office blocks.

After strolling around for three quarters of an hour it started to rain and as I wasn’t planning on taking advantage of the bars and restaurants or even the tat shops, I got back on the Metro and finished my journey to the stadium.

Incidentally, I learned from a train announcement that Dinamo is pronounced Din-armoh. ‘Din’ as in dinner rather diner, ‘arm’ like that long thing attached to your shoulder and ‘oh’ like a debt. It’s sort of two syllables, rather than the three that I’d previously thought when saying it in the way that I would if referring to the self-powered lights on a bike.

I’d bought my ticket online for 650 roubles which is just over six quid at the current rate. I underwent the usual temperature check and search before taking the escalator as far as the lower tier. From there it was stairs only to get to my upper tier seat. I bought a bottle of fake fanta and the fella serving me asked if I wanted a cup for it.

“Do I need one?” I said, glancing over at the stewards guarding the steps up to the seats.

“Not if you hide the bottle inside your coat” he replied. 

I like that kind of service.

Dinnarrghmoe, as I now say it, are up near the top of the table whilst Ufa are looking odds-on to be in the second-tier next season. The home side went a goal up about ten minutes in when one of their strikers turned off the shoulder of a visiting defender and accelerated away like little Mickey Owen in ’98 before tucking the ball away.

The fella behind me muttered something like “Poirot” every time anything good happened, perhaps comparing the excellence of a perfectly weighted pass behind the defence to the moment when the Belgian detective reveals to the occupants of the drawing room which of them was responsible for putting the wheelie bin out a day too soon.

Diiiiiiiiinaaaaarmo notched their second after half an hour when a bloke who was determined to shoot from distance even when nothing looked on managed to clip the arse of one of his team mates to wrong foot the keeper. A keeper who by virtue of his green top, black shorts and green socks could have pulled off the Pele-Banks save and still looked non-league.

We were all reasonably well distanced despite there being more fans than were here on my previous visit. Ufa had brought twenty or so supporters with them, behind the goal to my right. Ten minutes from the end one of them suddenly started banging a drum. I’ve no idea if he had just arrived or whether he had only then remembered what the percussion instrument in front of him was for, but I was grateful that I’d had eighty minutes without the racket.

By that time Ufa had fallen four behind and despite the added noise that’s the way it stayed.

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