CSKA Moscow Women v Yenisey Women, Sunday 18th April 2021, 2pm

I’d had the Oktyabr Stadium on my list for a while but none of the games there had fallen on a day when I was free to attend. The new season of the Women’s Supreme League has recently kicked off though and this gave me an opportunity for a Sunday visit.

Jen and I arrived at the gate a minute or two before kick-off having been distracted by a youth game on the auxiliary pitch next door and then by a bloke playing in a five-a side game with his small kids and their friends and who lost his mind over a kid who instead of shooting from the pass he had made to him, dummied it to allow someone else to take the shot.

Angry Dad berated all involved then stomped off to the outer fence and flung his gloves to the floor. I was sorely tempted to stay and watch the remainder of that game rather than head into the real match.

The lure of the game in the main stadium won out though and we made our way to the entrance gate where we were given free tickets, presumably to keep track of the extent of the attendance, and then underwent the usual temperature check, scan and pat-down.

Only one side of the stadium was in use and there were only alternate blocks of seating open. We ignored the first block which had around forty CSKA fans stood singing, skipped the next block which was taped off and settled for seats towards the back of the third block in.

The game was being televised and so there were cameras around the pitch and one at the top of the stand near to us. We also had a stills photographer with an enormous camera mounted on a five-foot long pole to our left. I normally feel as if I’m going over the top with my bridge camera but on this occasion I fitted right in.

Oktyabr stadium looked fairly old. I can’t say much more than that as I tried to find a bit of info online but couldn’t. All the metal railings looked as if they were from the forties or fifties and the running track around the pitch might have been something that Alf Tupper would have “run ‘em” on. There may have been terracing on the opposite side to us at one time but these days it is overgrown with weeds.

The team in white opened the scoring in the first half. I’d assumed that they were Yenisey, with CSKA in red, but I’d got it the wrong way around and it was the hosts that had taken the lead.

It was still one-nil at half-time and we went for a wander outside so that I could take a photo of the main stand. We then popped into a café where the woman behind the counter was adamant that they had no sugar for the coffee. I don’t use it myself but I can’t imagine that any place serving hot drinks would last long with that sort of approach.

Second half we got a bit of light drizzle and it was a lot colder than I’d anticipated. It was hard to estimate the crowd but I’d have thought that there were maybe two hundred or so braving the conditions.

CKSA doubled their lead in the second half with a clever little dink from one of their strikers. She was only around eight yards out but managed to strand the Yenisey goalie by getting the ball up and down again from close range.

There was an added treat on the way out as we stumbled across people sword fighting. There looked to be more fancy flourishes than serious stabbing attempts but it was worth pausing to watch.

The win for CSKA maintained their early season unbeaten run and kept them at the top of the four-game long league. Yenisey remained mid-table despite the loss.

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