Posts Tagged ‘Chertanovo’

Chertanovo Moscow v Tekstilshchik, Saturday 5th September 2020, 3pm

September 19, 2020

I tend not to visit stadiums more than once these days. It’s a combination of wanting to see somewhere new and of wanting to add to the number of grounds where I’ve attended a game. This weekend was an international weekend though and so my options were more limited than usual. So limited in fact that the only game in town looked to be at the Luzhniki Sports Camp where I’d watched Chertanovo drop three points at home to Alaniya six days previously.

However, even if I couldn’t tick off a new ground I still thought watching live football would be better than lazing around in my flat. To try and avoid it feeling like a repeat visit I booked myself a ticket on the other side of the ground. This meant that I’d be watching from the padded seats in the centre section of the main stand rather than standing in front of a seat that required me to view the game through two fences. My posher seat in Sector A2 cost me three hundred and thirty rubles which is three pounds thirty. Even at the higher price it struck me as being much better value than last week’s two hundred and twenty ruble ticket.

I also decided that I’d walk to the stadium along a different route, so rather than just heading out from my flat and following a reasonably direct route I took a taxi to the Kremlin with the intention of tracking the river all the way to the ground.

Red Square had fewer tourists than last time I’d been there. Most people were taking selfies with the historic buildings in the background, a just married couple were posing for wedding photos in front of the Borovitskaya Tower and a small queue had formed for those wanting to pay their respects in the Lenin Mausoleum.

I knew that if I made my way through the square past St Basil’s Cathedral I’d reach the river in another two or three hundred yards. All I had to do then was turn right, keep the river on my left and I’d eventually reach the Luzhniki Sports Camp.

Anyone who has read this blog before will know that such plans invariably don’t go as smoothly as I’d hope, but on this occasion it worked perfectly. I didn’t even have to check my location on my phone. I passed the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour with its golden onion bulb topped towers and the impressive Ministry of Defence building. On the other side of the river was a big statue of some seafaring fella.

The river water didn’t look particularly clear, but as there was the odd duck bobbing about it couldn’t have been too bad. It must have been good enough for fish to survive as there were a few fishermen trying their luck. I didn’t notice anyone catch anything but at one point I paused to watch a fella try to haul in what turned out to be a log that he’d snagged. I don’t think he appreciated the audience.

The river was busy with cruise trips, some of which didn’t have music blaring out, and so maybe at some point I’ll try one myself. The one downside of the walk was having to keep an eye out for electric scooters. They are easily and cheaply hired in Moscow and whilst there are walking and cycling lanes marked on the riverside path, the scooters would appear suddenly weaving from lane to lane.

The walk was definitely a city walk, with a busy road alongside me all the way to Luzhniki. Across the river I could see Gorky Park and if I end up paying a third visit to the Sports Camp I think I’ll walk along the opposite bank for the quieter surroundings.

I arrived at the Sports Camp two hours after setting off from the Kremlin and with a few minutes to spare to kick-off. Unfortunately, admission was via a gate on the opposite side of the ground and so I had to backtrack through the park, eventually reaching my back-row seat a minute after the game got underway. My late arrival inconvenienced the bloke at the end of my row who was videoing the match, presumably in some sort of official capacity. He had to move the tripod to let me by and so anything of note that happened in the second minute of the game will escape analysis.

My vantage point was much better than the previous week and my padded chair also had armrests. I was a little disappointed that it didn’t recline or have an automated cigar lighter. The seats around me were only partially occupied with at least every second one taped to signify that it wasn’t to be used although clusters of people, presumably from the same household, were sat together. I took advantage of a break in play for an injury and counted the fans in the opposite side of the ground. I made it ninety-four depending upon whether I’d correctly identified anyone stewarding. There were approximately six hundred seats in that side of the ground so that’s reasonable distancing in theory.

The fans on the far side included two singing clusters, both supporting Chertanovo and both tending to limit their repertoire to repeated renditions of “Shirta, Shirta”. Over on my side, to my left were ten or so away fans who didn’t really pipe up until the second half when we were treated to a snarly sort of chant loosely based on the tune to Yellow Submarine. Ringo sang it so much better.

Tekstilshchik, in red and black stripes, had the better chances in the first half including a free-kick from around thirty yards that was tipped over the bar by the home goalie with the top-knot. As with last week, there was a player booked for diving, although for what it’s worth I’d have given the pen. Diving in the box must be this season’s clampdown issue.

It was goalless at half-time and whilst I was tempted to wander around to the burger van on the other side of the stadium, I thought I’d disrupted video guy enough already. Three minutes after the restart the visitors took the lead.  Their tall striker with the beard did well to keep the ball in and pulled it back for someone else to stab it home from a yard out.

Beardy bloke might well have been the best player on the pitch. If he wasn’t he certainly believed that he was. In the latter stages of the game he formed a strike partnership of Ravanelli and Beck proportions with one of the subs. Beardy was quick to throw his hands up if the sub didn’t try to set him up or misplaced his pass whilst for his part the sub seemed to be constantly seeking the approval of his hirsute team mate. It was in vain as Beardy withheld his appreciation and avoided eye contact whenever the sub did anything that might be considered praiseworthy.

Despite their efforts Tekstilshchik failed to add to the earlier strike and Chertanovo were no more effective. The contest petered out with just the single away goal to separate the teams.

Chertanovo Moscow v Alaniya, Sunday 30th August 2020, 3pm

September 3, 2020

After a few months of there being no football or of me having little interest in attending it’s starting to get back towards normal. Normal in that I’ve been checking the fixtures and working out what games it might be possible for me to get to. In addition to the language barrier and ever-present frustration caused by a lack of clarity on the actual venue for the fixture, the restrictions related to the coronavirus have reduced capacities and, it appears, made advance ticket purchases a necessity.

Chertanovo has one of the better websites and it explained in English that whilst they hadn’t previously charged an admission fee for their second-tier Russian National League matches, the requirements for social distancing had resulted in them making games ticket only and as the tickets were issued through an agency, they would have to be paid for. Fair enough I thought and with a lot less palaver than I’d had with the CSKA tickets a week earlier I bought and printed a two-hundred and twenty-ruble ticket for section B7, the only section available.

The venue for the game was the Luzhniki Sports Complex. It’s the park where the 1980 Olympic Stadium is located, although I understand that the stadium had been re-built since then and no longer features a running track. If Seb Coe had attended Chelsea’s Champions League Final defeat against Man United and tried to imagine himself powering down the home straight he’d have had to ignore the rows of seating that presumably cover where the track had been.

On checking how to get to the game I discovered that Luzhniki is only around six miles from my flat and so that made it within walking distance. I prefer to get around on foot if I can as you see a lot more that way. On setting off the first part of the route was easy to follow as I’d done it before on a visit to the Darwin Museum earlier in the year. The main attraction of that museum is bad taxidermy and if that is one of your niche interests then I can recommend a visit.

Further along the route took me through a park that has a small football ground in that I noted for future games and a large chess board that nobody had much interest in. Russia has seemed to dominate the chess world for as long as I’ve been aware of the game and so I’d have though that it would have been a popular attraction. Maybe Covid has caused it to be moth-balled for a while.

As I neared the river that provides a boundary to the complex the path took me through some woods. I spotted a well-worn, but un-marked path that looked like a short-cut. As invariably happens it didn’t work out exactly as I’d planned with the trail petering out and me having to scramble down a steep and muddy embankment, grabbing on to tree trunks and branches to stop me going arse over tit.

Once at the bottom I re-joined the tracks that I should never have left and crossed the river by way of a walkway attached to the outside of the metro line. The river was busy with tour boats, one of them holding some sort of boom-boom-boom party where all the attendees were dancing in a huddle and waving their arms in the air. The noise was so loud that, if they were so inclined, the passengers on any of the other boats within a couple of hundred yards could have partied along as well.

Once over the river I was soon inside the complex. It had taken me a little longer than I’d anticipated but there were still twenty minutes to kick-off. I checked a map of the area and realized that in addition to the main stadium there was also a North Sports Centre, a South Sports Centre, a Palace of Sports and a Sports Camp. I doubted that the game would be in the main Olympic Stadium as the website had mentioned an overall capacity for the venue as being around eighteen hundred seats and so I asked a security guard if he could match the venue information on my ticket with the map of the park.

As expected he had little idea, but was at least able to orientate our position with the map and send me off in the direction of the South Sports Centre. Five minutes later I was able to rule that location out and I passed the main stadium on my way to the next option of the North Sports Centre.

There was nothing doing at the North Sports Centre where I was joined by a woman and her small son who were also hoping to attend the game. We spoke little of each other’s languages, but I was able to communicate that I’d already checked the South Centre and so together we headed for the next stop, the Palace of Sport.

Once again we drew a blank, but as we passed the kick-off time of 3pm we heard drumming and shouting. We followed the noise to the Sports Camp where it was clear that a game had started. Unfortunately, the six minute delay in getting in turned into one of twenty minutes as there was no way through a perimeter fence and we had to detour out of the park to the entrance gate.

Getting through the gate followed a similar pattern to last week’s game. My ticket was scanned and I passed though a metal detector. I was instructed to put on my gloves and, in an extra precaution, I had my temperature taken. I often get my temperature taken at work and it is usually indicative, at best, of hypothermia setting in, or at worst of me having been dead for an hour. I wasn’t overly worried therefore that the exertion of getting to the ground might have warmed me up to the extent that I’d be considered a Covid risk. Sure enough, I was fine.

It was another couple of minutes from the gate to reach the ground and I was directed to my right, along a series of small five row stands on the side of the ground opposite the tunnel. To my left was a single stand for home supporters that housed the drum that had guided me in. I should have thanked the fella really.

My section was at the end of the row, beyond the goal line and with the need to peer through two fences if I wanted to see the near goalmouth. What do you expect for two quid? It was also the away section, with every block bar that first one allocated to the Alaniya supporters. I’d guess that around a third of the 1800 seats had been sold with the away allocation extending to a large section of the main stand too.

Whilst Chertanovo were in all blue and Alaniya in all white, most of the visiting fans were togged out in what I assumed to be their team’s home kit, a Melchester Rovers inspired red and yellow striped effort.

My delayed arrival had caused me to miss the opening goal, a penalty from Alaniya, or as their fans stretched it out in their chants “Al-Are-Knee-Arrgh”. A second followed soon enough though, a daisy cutter from Butaev that passed through a crowd of players and left the home goalie leaden footed.

Alaniya thought they were due a second penalty just before half-time but despite (from around a hundred and fifty yards away) it looking nailed on to me, the ref instead booked the striker. I wondered if he had had his doubts about his first award and was trying to make amends.

In the second half a different away striker received a booking for diving in the box. On this one I had no idea as to whether it was a penalty or not, the obscuring of my view by two fences meant that I wasn’t really in a position to decide. It seemed clear though that Alaniya wouldn’t be getting a second penalty unless limbs were severed.

The lack of spot-kicks stopped being an issue when the visitors extended their lead with a clever passing move that drew the keeper and enabled Malogan to tap into an empty net in the way that you would do in a five-a-side game.

In the closing stages it just seemed a question of how many more the visitors would extend their lead by. Gurtsiev shrugged off the last defender and in a one-on-one looked certain to make it four only for the home goalie who sported the sort of top-knot that should only be seen in a Sumo-ring to deflect it around the post.

In an even worse miss, Khabalov must have beaten three or four defenders, some of them twice, all in order to give Malogan an even easier tap-in from a yard out. The poor bloke waved a leg at it and missed the ball completely bringing laughter from the fans around me. I suppose you can do that when the game is won.