Posts Tagged ‘cashews for squirrels’

Dinamo Moscow 2 v Zenit St. Petersburg 2, Sunday 30th May 2021, 4pm

June 1, 2021

Jen and I had planned to have a wander around inside the Kremlin a couple of weeks earlier but had been sidetracked by the chance to go into Lenin’s Mausoleum. The Kremlin wasn’t going anywhere though and so at the weekend we went back to try again. It was busy outside, with a crowd of people gathered to watch the changing of the guard at the eternal flame memorial. We looked on from a distance as we walked towards the Kremlin ticket office and were rewarded with a view of the guards goose-stepping towards us.

There were a variety of tickets on sale and without really knowing how it all worked we picked one that appeared to get us into a few cathedrals. We can always go back and do the Armory Museum and the Bell Tower on a different occasion. It was much quieter inside the Kremlin grounds than it had been outside and we had a mooch around a few different buildings. Some housed artifacts, pots and pans or coins, others were more regular churches, but full of fancy stuff and paintings.

I wasn’t allowed to take photos inside the buildings but they were just as fancy churches always are so you can no doubt imagine how it was. Something that did strike me though was how bad some of the paintings were. I know that most artists in the olden days couldn’t accurately depict the likes of horses, but some of these paintings had people without faces. I can only assume that leaving out the face was acceptable in those days.

The other thing that most of the artists struggled with was babies. Everyone knows that babies have proportionately larger heads than adults, or at least they know now. Back then the done thing was to depict babies, usually baby Jesus, with adult proportions. It invariably looked like he had been replaced with an Action Man doll.

After a late lunch just off Red Square we took a taxi to the Rodina Stadium at Khimki. I was a little concerned as we passed by the Khimki Arena and I wondered if we were going to arrive at a wrong location yet again. Fortunately, it was just a quirk of the route and a few minutes later we were dropped outside of what turned out to be the correct ground for the third-tier PFL Group 2 game between the second teams of Dinamo Moscow and Zenit St. Petersburg.

We headed for the nearest gate but were turned away on the basis that we didn’t look like we were Zenit fans. Fair enough, and a good job it was too as we would have been confined to a far end of the stand.

Further up the road we were handed free tickets and guided towards a different gate. I’m not really sure what the deal with the tickets is. Maybe it is to limit attendance in that once all of them have been given out then that’s it, no more admittance.

It took a while to get through the gate, mainly because I had my Barbour on and the security guy kept finding things in the various pockets. I explained away various bulges as being an umbrella, a camera, a pen and finally half a packet of old cashew nuts for feeding squirrels. It would have been much simpler if he had adopted the approach taken by the fella at the Kremlin earlier in the day who was content to ask me if I had any knives or dangerous objects.

Once inside we found seats close to the half-way line and in the back row. This was high enough for us to be able to watch the game over the top of the fence that separated us from the pitch. We also had a running track between us and the action. On the far side was the only other stand which looked to be for VIPs and a church that chimed out at irregular intervals.

The away fans were to our far right, with the home supporters at the other extremity. Both sets of fans kept up the singing throughout and whilst I couldn’t see the Zenit fans too well, a lot of the Dinamo supporters finished the game without their shirts on. It was a cold day too.

Dinamo were in white and blue, whereas Zenit were in blue and white. I’m not really sure why they couldn’t have worn different colours or even just their away shorts.

A quarter of an hour in the Dinamo keeper missed a cross and so pretended that he had been clattered. No sooner had he recovered he failed to take a touch on a back pass and it rolled beyond him heading for the far corner of his goal. He frantically chased it down and just managed to clear it off his own line. I suspect if he had let it in he would have gone down clutching his hamstring.

He didn’t do much better on the half-hour when he left an inswinging corner that bounced in off the thigh of a Zenit player for the opening goal.

The second half had barely started when a Zenit player picked up his second yellow. Both challenges had been needless and were clear bookings. The ref was left with no choice but to send him off and there were no complaints from anyone, including the player himself. Maybe he had somewhere else he needed to be.

A man to the good it didn’t take Dinamo long to draw level with a free header in the six-yard box. The old fellas in front of me were ecstatic. Actually, on reflection, they were probably younger than I am. Still old fellas though, I suppose.

Dinamo were on top at this point and soon added a second when a diagonal ball behind the defence was tucked across the keeper into the opposite corner. At this point there only looked to be one winner but Zenit threw a few people forward as we approached full-time.

With what seemed like just about everyone in the Dinamo box a Zenit player was able to convince the ref that it was the defender who had initiated contact with him, rather than as it looked to me, him running into the defender. The Dinamo Keeper very nearly got to it to the resulting penalty despite it being right in the corner.

Zenit might even have nicked it right at the death with a penalty shout for handball. It looked more of a pen than the one that they had just scored from but the ref took the easy option and instantly blew for full time instead. The Dinamo fans in front of me had clearly expected it to be given and were as happy to see the game finish as they had been with their two goals.

Footnote: I’ve just noticed that this is the five hundredth post on the blog. Blimey. That’s a lot of wasted time.

I’ve enjoyed keeping a record though of sporting events that I get along to. When I started eleven years ago it was only Korean games that I posted about but once I left there in 2013 I widened it to cover whatever I got up to. It’s handy for me now to be able to look back and see what we did when living in South Africa, Australia, Malaysia and now Russia, although I can appreciate from the low number of visitors that fairly dull groundhopping blogs have little interest to anyone bar me.

Anyway, here’s to the next five hundred.