Posts Tagged ‘Dinamo Moscow’

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.

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

April 7, 2021

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.

Dinamo Moscow v Rubin Kazan, Sunday 13th September 2020, 4.30pm

September 28, 2020

For this week’s game I thought I’d pay a visit to Dinamo Moscow, the team formerly owned by the KGB. It’s a little surprising that they have much of a fan base at all really although a season ticket was probably a good career move back in the Soviet era. Maybe the modern day fans were forcibly taken along by their Dad as a kid, just like all of those Man United fans of a certain age who claim to reluctantly follow their team solely as a consequence of being dragged to Old Trafford in that mid-seventies Division Two season.

I could have taken the Metro to within a hundred yards or so of their ground, but whilst autumn is clearly arriving it’s still good weather for a walk. I decided to head for Vystavochnaya station and then walk for a couple of hours from there to the Lev Yashin stadium.

The Metro journey was simple enough, with a three stop ride along line six and then another three stops along line fourteen which is a circular line. As an added bonus I’ve found the Metro to be an excellent way of getting rid of the change that has been accumulating on the table by my front door. There are machines in each station where you can top up your card and so I just grab a pocketful of coins and feed the machine until the people queuing behind me start making audible sighs.

My choice of route was selected as it would give me an easy navigation along the river for half an hour and then after turning through a park I’d be able to wander around a graveyard before the final stretch along streets to the ground. The first section went ok, in as much as I couldn’t really deviate from the river. I walked a bit too far though and missed Krasnaya Presnaya Park which caused me to need to double back on myself to rejoin my route at the Vagankovskoye Cemetery.

The graveyard was, as you might expect, full of graves. Really full. Most of them were in small square family plots surrounded by iron fencing. When one plot finished another set of railings would be pressed up against it. There was usually a narrow access path but for the plots further back it wouldn’t have been an easy process. A lot of the graves had photos of their occupiers, making me wonder whether you go for a recent photo or one of you in your prime? I don’t suppose it matters much to those below ground, it’s more a quandary for those left behind.

Whilst the plots were busy, the cemetery was busier still with families delivering flowers and middle-aged couples browsing the goods in the tombstone shop as if on an afternoon out at a garden centre. There were flower and wreath stalls and a small hut that sold candles and grave tat. I’d hoped when I spotted it that it might have sold drinks but it catered only for the dead.

Not long after I left the cemetery it started to rain and so I gave up on the rest of my walk and travelled the rest of the way to the Lev Yashin Stadium by cab.

The VTB Arena is an incredible venue. The Lev Yashin football ground is only part of the overall arena, with one end of it being used for a hockey stadium. From the outside though you can’t tell that it is accommodating two sports and it just looks like one big stadium. I can’t really do it justice with my photos, so I suggest that you google the plans for it instead. I was given a mask and gloves at the turnstile and then scanned and searched as I entered the ground.

I’d booked my ticket online for 650 rubles and I was in the upper tier on the tunnel side. The stands sloped steeply so even towards the upper part of the stand I didn’t feel as if I was far from the pitch. For the first time that I’d been to a game since the Covid return there was food and drink available in the concourse. Beer was Bud alcohol free which somewhat surprisingly had a few takers. I got myself a hot dog which tasted as if it had been there since before the lockdown. That’s the nature of hot dogs though, I doubt anyone would choose to eat one if there was other food available.

In the lower section behind the goal to my right I noticed a drum kit set up. If that was to be part of the ultra support it’s a serious effort. It wasn’t though, it was part of the pre-match entertainment from a band where the lead singer looked a good thirty years older than the rest of the musicians. I suspect that whoever they were, he may have been the only original member.

Dinamo started well and had a first half goal disallowed for a tight offside that needed VAR confirmation. Half an hour in though it was Rubin Kazan that took the lead from a penalty decision that so incensed one of the Kazan players that he picked up a yellow for berating the ref. I can only presume that he expected the opposing defender responsible to have been carded for his foul.

The opening goal enabled me to spot a dozen or so away fans in the upper tier opposite me. There was a larger group of home fans behind the goal to my left that made plenty of noise, waved their flags, jumped and swayed with their arms around each other and generally scorned the idea that in these days of a deadly virus it might be prudent not to get so close to a bunch of strangers.

At half time I took advantage of the low crowd and nipped down to the concourse for a coffee. Fewer than a fifth of the seats had been sold, with an attendance of 5,723 in the 30,000 capacity ground and so it meant that the queues were short.

In the second half the rain that had curtailed my walk to the match started again but the roof which extended well beyond the stands meant that if a player stuck to the wings he could stay dry. One Dinamo player must have been told to stay central and in frustration delivered an elbow to one of the visitors. If you are going to get sent off you may as well do it when it is pouring down,

Despite being down to ten men Dinamo applied the pressure and should have equalized five minutes from time. The Kazan goalie who I’d seen pull of the Montyesque double save at CSKA three weeks earlier had been dropped to the bench for this game. It seemed a harsh decision to me but his replacement somehow managed to keep a free kick out of the top corner that was every bit as good a stop.

By this time the home fans had decided to remove their shirts and add the risk of pneumonia to Covid. I moved down a level and watched injury time from a railing in the concourse. From my new vantage point I saw the home goalie go up for a couple of corners and two further players, one from each side, get their marching orders for second yellows in separate incidents. No more goals though in another deserved away win for Slutsky and his team.