Tuesday, September 23, 2008
An hour and a quarter by train or so from Thessaloniki is Larissa where it was wet, the rain falling all day before this Greek Super League game.
An older style stadium, with mainly open seats and with a track around, this ground will eventually make way for an upgraded version compliant with UEFA rules.
A smallish crowd of around 2,000 including the Larissa 'Monsters' ultra group saw their team succumb to an early header by Nigerian striker Agali. Xanthi continued to be dangerous from set pieces and they generally defended well as Larissa increased the pressure in the second half.
Despite making substitutions Larissa , with an international line-up including Nobby Solano, couldn't break through.
Back in Thessaloniki a bus ride out towards Euosmos finds the basic ground of Agrotikos Asteras. They met Atromitos , recently relegated, in a Beta Ethniki 2nd level game.
The stadium is typically hemmed-in by apartments (with the usual free viewers) and comprises two sides of mostly open seats. But some 700 watched , in better weather, as on a bare pitch Atromitos eventually prevailed 1-0.
The away side should have lead in the first half as they hit the 'woodwork' a couple of times and had more possession. It took a very late injury time goal to decide the game following a
throw-in, scored by substitute Domi.
In the last minutes Atromitos had a man dismissed and a linesman seemed to be hit by a missile but the game ended with a home defeat.
Whilst back in the trendy seaside bars the locals chatted, smoked their cigarettes, and drank their drinks.
for more pics see http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/68545148
Monday, September 15, 2008
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Germanwings to the Croatian capital. Its warm and sunny in Zagreb ready for the England game.
First take in some culture - the Technical museum and the Naive Art Museum featured this time.
Croatia 1 England 4
So if nil-nil was considered a good result beforehand what about a 4-1 away win ?
The locals generated some atmosphere in the un-improved Maksimir Stadium. But England ran out easy winners. They'd quietened the crowd with Walcott's rather fortunate first goal and survived some scares in the first half.
Whilst in the dramatic second period , after Robert Kovac got sent off for his elbow on Joe Cole's head , England put together some impressive moves with Rooney usually involved. Walcott did the rest.
Maybe we had above average luck and Croatia had a bad night at the office. But it will give us great confidence for the rest of the World Cup campaign.
With no reports of any trouble as well presumably even the Bad Blue Boys had an early night.
for more pics see http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/67463210
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Though typically the Super Cup has a much lower profile in England it must be frustrating for Sir Alex to lose again in the Principality.
for more pics see http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/65017730