Rosichfk Moskovskiy 2 v SShoR Kuntsevo, Thursday 8th July 2021, 7pm

This game was in the fifth-tier Moscow division B league. My futbology app suggested that even in the rush hour we could get there in under an hour and so Jen met me outside of my office for the twenty kilometre south-westerly taxi ride out of Moscow to Rosichfk.

It was actually a bit more effort to get there than usual as Yandex didn’t recognise the location of the MSA Stadium and so we had to head for the nearby Dodo Pizza place. It’s a chain with sites all over Moscow and I think our driver struggled to understand the point of us heading miles out of Moscow for a pizza that we could have got much nearer home.

The stadium was actually two grounds with a new artificial pitch tagged onto a grass pitch with a running track and one old stand. This game was on the artificial surface but the stand from the grass pitch made for an ideal vantage point.

We decided to try the seats in the single stand that ran most of the length of the sideline. It wasn’t an ideal view as there were stanchions and netting between us and the action. The worst part though was the clear Perspex roof that made it feel like we were sat in a greenhouse. That would have been ideal for a lot of the year but with temperatures in Moscow exceeding thirty degrees we didn’t last long and soon moved to the shade of the stand from the grass pitch.

Rosichfk were in blue with visitors Kuntsevo in Boro tops. No difficulty picking a team in those circumstances. Nothing of note went on in the first half but it wasn’t long after the restart when Kuntsevo opened the scoring.

The home keeper had spent the game berating his defenders for, I suspect, no other reason than he thought that’s what goalies should do. He misplaced a pass out and when the ball came back in he was beaten to the ball by a Kuntsevo player who nipped in and turned it into the corner. The chastened goalie sensibly chose not to double down and bollock the full-back and for a while eased up on the yapping.

I’d counted the crowd in the first-half and it added up to forty-one. A few more arrived during the second half so it probably eventually amounted to around sixty. As the sun dipped behind a tall building and cast a shadow over the pitch we moved back to the greenhouse stand for the remainder of the second half.

The Kuntsevo players were happy to try and run down the clock by going down very easily. The home goalie took out his frustrations on a strker by standing over him and yelling at him. I wasn’t sure what he was saying but it sounded like something to do with the name of the striker’s team. By the time the fella got up play had moved on and the goalie gave him a bit more stick and shoved him open-palmed in the face.

With the striker back on the ground it should have been a definite red for the keeper and I initially thought that he had started to walk off. If any of the officials had seen it though they decide to turn a blind eye. Fair enough really in the circumstances.

The fallen striker had the last laugh though with a few minutes remaining when he switched feet in the box throwing off his marker and then drove the ball in to the top corner to make it two-nil. Not a word from the keeper.

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