Saturday, April 25, 2009

Greece April 2009

Overlooking the West Africans dodging the police with their bags of goods is the magnificent Acropolis.

Whilst in Syntagma square there is a small display commemorating the Armenian 'genocide'.

Nearby the dogs enjoy the sun and the locals the cafes and shops.

Further history and culture is on display in the National Gallery and National History Museum where you can learn how modern Greece developed from Ottoman rule to where it is today.

Athens is mainly bright and sunny in April.

Greek goalfest.

Asteras Tripolis 3 Panionios 4

My combination of football and culture took me down to the Peloponnese. The drive memorable for the super bikes powering through the traffic.

To Mycenae for a look at a site of a major civilisation from over 3,000 years ago thriving and then collapsing hundreds of years before Classical Greece.

Then to modern day Tripoli where Asteras played the modern Athenians of Panionios.

In cold, breezy conditions this final game of the regular league season served up a veritable goalfest before 1800 spectators including around 40 fans supporting Panionios.

Star player for Asteras Argentinian Mauro Milano scored two and Moroccan Zairi produced a very entertaining cameo of tricks but Panionios ended up edging the game with substitute Goundoulakis slotting the winner.

Back in Athens at around midnight on a Sunday the bars are quiet and the dogs have found somewhere warm to sleep.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Turkey April 2009

Strong Sivas.

Denizlispor 0 Sivasspor 2

A 3 and a half hour drıve from Antalya through some interesting mountainous country and you find Denizli - feeling like a prosperous business-like city busy with shoppers on a Saturday afternoon.

In the centre is the Ataturk stadium 3 parts open with well filled lower tiers - any away fans are up above my head. Fortunately in an area prone to rain (due to the mountain backdrop) the fans had only a light shower to endure.

League leaders Sivasspor scored two first half goals through Sedat Bayrak and Tum after which they defend efficiently enough to frustrate the home team. So they maintained a clear lead over Besiktas at the top.

Solid in defence Sivasspor have a Sebastian Veron lookalike in midfield (Erdogan) and Yildiz up front.

They're confident and compact with a good team spirit, helped no doubt by those huddles.

Maybe they'll go close to a first ever title.

Ten men too good.

Antalyaspor 4 Genclerbirgili 2

Back ın Antalya this encounter had plenty of goals to keep the local ultras happy.
An inner city stadium , as in Denizli, a setup much favoured by this writer.

Surrounded by apartments, atmospheric, traditional and just a short walk from the old city. Plenty of red and white in evidence.

The various ultras (curva nord , south and the sides) stoked up the chanting as Antalya fought back from 1-0 down to win 4-2 having played for over the half the game wıth ten men.

Tunisian Zitouni got two , Dos Santos scored a somewhat generous penalty whilst Pektemek replied with two for the team from Ankara. Genclerbirgili had less than ten fans accompanied at times by about 40 police.

After Genclerbirgili had scored first Antalyaspor had Ozturk dismissed (foot up) but they equalised soon after for 1-1 at the break.

In an entertaining second half , watched by around 5000, with some viewing from the apartments Antalyaspor overcame their disadvantage to complete a tremendous win.

The next day when returning the car I happened to mention I drove to Denizli - the man from the rental company was surprised I'd gone so far as he'd never been there.

more pictures at