Monday, December 17, 2012
A day trip to Fermanagh in Northern Ireland to see the league leaders Cliftonville pay a rare visit to Ballinamallard.
15th December 2012 Ballinamallard Utd 1 Cliftonville 3 Irish Premier c. 600 (150 away)
I was up early to get the Easyjet flight from Luton to Belfast International.
From there I drove, slowly, towards the west stopping in Dungannon and then on to Enniskillen for a ‘late breakfast’.
Ballinamallard is a village about 6 miles from Enniskillen and their team is making its debut in the top level of football in Northern Ireland.
Roy Carroll, now at Olympiakos (and see previous blog), is their most famous ex-player.
The ground has been enhanced to include a small stand and two neat areas of terrace with one allocated to the away fans.
The visitors brought a lively group who certainly added to the clubhouse coffers with their alcohol consumption.
On a mostly cloudy day Cliftonville were two up inside 22 minutes with a double from Marc Smyth, the second a header into the top corner.
They looked considerably sharper than the home side in the first half.
But the Mallards made some changes after the break and had much more of the play culminating in a free-kick goal by David Kee.
For a while it looked like they might get level but Garrett scored the third for the Reds and that sealed the win, leaving Cliftonville seven points clear at the top of the league.
It takes around 1.5 hours to get back to the International airport and I had time enough to drop off the rental car and make the return flight to Luton.
More pictures at http://photobox.com/album/1654993608
Four games in Greece including the Athens derby between Panathinaikos and Olympiakos.
8th December 2012 Atromitos 3 OFI 2 Greek Super League 2,175
Atromitos play in a northern suburb of Athens, about a fifteen minute walk from the Agios Antonios metro station.
If you arrive early, as I did, you might get invited into the chess club which is attached to the stadium.
On a fairly cold rainy evening it was a pleasant way to while away half an hour.
Inside the stadium and attached to one stand is a cafe containing some interesting old team photos.
Opposite is a covered stand and at the ends open, mostly unoccupied seating.
There were no apparent away fans.
Odd point - Veron of OFI wore the no.1 shirt, despite playing in midfield.
The match had some late drama with a sending off and two late goals with one of Atromitos’ Brazilians, Brito, evading the OFI goalie to slot home the winner in the 89th minute.
Gounaridis in the OFI goal had a poor game often unable to handle crosses or too many shots.
Overall it was an entertaining game with the occasional disagreement.
I made my way back to Syntagma via the metro for a small souvlaki and a coke.
9th December Kallithea 1 Iraklis Psachna 1 Greek League c. 700
As a precursor to the main event I made the short trip on the metro to the Petralona stop and walked to the Kallithea stadium for this second division game.
Psachna brought a lively group of fans with the inevitable fireworks.
The visitors went ahead with an overhead kick that was equalised by a shot from the edge of the area.
As usual the home crowd appealed for everything and the players had their mandatory arguments but the match had little flow, on a poor pitch.
There was only side in use with open seating at one end and another portion opposite being unused. These sections were partly connected to a large rocky outcrop above which were fans enjoying a free view.
As Petralona was on the same line as the Olympic stadium stop it was easy enough to get to :
Panathinaikos 2 Olympiakos 2 Super League 27,673
The ‘Eternal Derby’ of Athens.
You hope for a larger crowd but the weather didn’t help (very cold and wet) plus the usual ban on away fans.
For me this Olympic stadium is far from being a great football stadium being reminiscent of the old Delle Alpi in Turin with its stylish but fragmented ends, large track and poor viewing angles.
On a cold night it is far from cosy.
However Gate 13, the Panathinaikos ultras, did their best to crank up the atmosphere with their flares and fireworks some aimed at the Olympiakos players (Roy Carroll wouldn’t have had this at Wigan)
And for a derby we had quite a compelling encounter on the pitch.
Panathinaikos scored first when the excellent Mavrias shot in from the right wing.
But the league leaders replied with two quick goals from the Algerian striker Djebbour, the second a header from a corner. He was a constant threat to the home defence.
For a time it looked like the visitors would dominate but Panathinaikos, with Mavrias still a threat, fought back and Spaniard Toche got the equaliser from a right wing cross.
I guess many of the fans went home reasonably happy although it is hard to see anybody but Olympiakos winning the title.
Thankfully the rain had eased for the walk back to the metro.
10th December Panthrakikos 1 AEK 0 Super League 2,353 (c.1000 away)
An early start for the flight to Thessaloniki then a bus onward for about three hours to Komotini.
Which is a small city in Thrace, Northeastern Greece.
Walking from the bus station to my hotel at around 2.30pm it was clear there would be a decent group of away fans at this game judging by the number of yellow and black scarves around.
And so it was with their large contingent behind one goal.
The home fans were either in the covered side stand or at the other end.
On a very cold night the AEK fans showed their feelings by inverting their banners.
Otherwise they still provided good support but their team, apart from a possible penalty shout, were unable to create many chances.
They passed it around at the back but couldn’t get through the solid home defence.
Panthrakikos were much more direct with their striker Papadopoulos at the centre of the action.
When given space he was always dangerous and it was from his header, parried by the AEK goalie, that Tahitian Vahirua followed up to score the winner.
So AEK stayed at the bottom of the Super League.
I joined the locals for a kebab followed by a couple of glasses of red wine in the central square.
The next day I travelled on the bus back to Thessaloniki and eventually back to Gatwick.
To reflect on seeing, I guess in some respects, an unsatisfactory derby (Panathinaikos and AEK should move to proper football stadium)
I also saw a lot of graffiti - some political of course plus plenty of ‘Gate 7’ & ‘Gate 13’ - and numerous boarded-up shops reminding everyone of the dire economic situation.
Despite that there was still a busy throng shopping in central Athens joined by tourists benefiting from the lower cost of hotels.
Many also visited the impressive Acropolis museum, an excellent addition to the must-see sights in an historic city.
more pictures at http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/1665138879
Friday, November 16, 2012
A visit to Stockholm for the opening of the Friends Arena and a friendly international.
Sweden 4 England 2 49,967 (1,800 away)
History Man Zlatan.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic that is, the first man to score four goals against England after some 140 years of international games.
Better than Van Basten, Puskas, Alex Jackson and all the others.
And he did it by scoring some great goals culminating in a spectacular overhead kick in the closing minutes.
I’d flown in on the Wednesday morning to Arlanda, taken the train to the centre and out again to my hotel in one of the suburbs (booked some time ago to get a decent price)
There was enough time time to have a kebab and a chat to some of the locals who, as always, were well versed in the England personnel.
The new arena is a ten minute stroll from Solna station near a business park area with the
immediate surroundings being partly under-development.
Inside it was very cosy watching the game in the fully enclosed three-tiered stadium and even outside it was 7 degrees with light rain, which is not bad for Stockholm in mid-November.
This match gave opportunities for a number of new England players to make their debuts - some older (Osman), some much younger (Sterling, Caulker, Zaha)
Both sides would make mistakes in defence with the England centre back area being particularly vulnerable contributing to the uncertainty displayed by goalie Joe Hart.
At least Caulker could atone for some of his lapses by poking home a Gerrard cross to give England a 2-1 lead.
Trickery by Ashley Young and a great cross, converted by Welbeck, had allowed England to equalise Ibrahimovic’s first goal. And for a time we seemed in reasonable control of the match.
Sterling was given the compliment of being regularly fouled by the Swedish defenders and Osman looked sharp and lively.
Baines at left back continued to look the part, especially when going forward and Steven Gerrard celebrated his hundredth cap by (finally) looking imperious as he sprayed passes and superb crosses about the pitch.
But as it turned out the inevitable second half substitutions caused too much disruption and the Swedes, fresh from retrieving a 4-0 deficit to the Germans, profited.
Ibrahimovic escaped Shawcross for his second, drove a free-kick into the corner for his hat-trick and then acrobatically volleyed in a Hart headed clearance to finally get the Swedish fans excited.
His final goal has been compared to some of the greatest ever and it is certainly amongst the best I’ve witnessed.
But not (for me) as good as Maradona against England in 1986 where the context was much more significant and the brilliance more sustained. Or Saeed Owairan for Saudi Arabia v Belgium.
So England have completed their fixtures for 2012 with looming worries about the defence tempered by the emergence of some exciting young talent.
Somehow coach Roy Hodgson will have to find the right blend whilst having the team for only short periods of the year and enduring the consistent media pressure.
My budget only allowed for wine gums in the stadium and a couple of beers back at my hotel.
And time to reflect on what turned out to be an historic night in the Swedish capital.
more pictures at http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/1568425697
Monday, October 22, 2012
Three games in Poland including the delayed England international plus an ice hockey match.
13th October 3pm Rozwoj Katowice 2 Energetyk ROW Rybnik 2 Liga 2 West 600
‘Rybnik and their ultras under control’
I took a flight to Katowice and bus transfer to the centre then a tram to the Brynow area.
In a way this felt like a non-league game except for the five vans of police to keep control of the 80 or so (all male) Rybnik ultras.
They were placed in their own section of the open seating opposite the ‘main stand’ (another section of yellow and green coloured seats)
The rest of the ground is grass banks with a scoreboard at one end and a small ‘tea’ bar.
In reasonably mild weather the visitors went ahead early and were two goals in front after 25 minutes. It looked a solid away win until a decent shot from Gacki was deflected past the Rybnik goalie.
And in the second period Rozwoj played much better, eventually getting an equaliser from a route-1 goal kick over the defenders heads and a strike from sub Krol.
It as tough on ROW who probably thought they should have won.
I got the bus back to the centre then a train to Bytom.
13th October 7.45pm Polonia Bytom 1 LKS Lodz 1 Liga 1 1,328
‘Play misty for me’
Like a foggy night in a northern industrial town. The mist remained, with no wind over the Edwarda Szymkowiaka stadium.
The home ultras kept up their support and their team would eventually fight back to get a draw.
Polonia had gone behind after 32 minutes but played better in the second half getting the equaliser with about ten minutes remaining following a parry by the away goalie.
The ground itself is reassuringly retro with swathes of open end terrace, a partial cover over part of the seating and a mix of small seating areas on the other side.
The surroundings matched the slightly eerie weather.
The result didn’t really help either team as they are currently in the last two places in the second level & Polonia remain winless.
Afterwards as the cold closed in I took a convenient bus, actually much quicker than the train, back to Katowice and on to my hotel.
Then a Sunday morning in quiet, under construction Katowice - a look at a small flea market and a pleasant hour in the Silesian (Slaski) Museum where they had a special exhibition of old stereo pics of Warsaw plus the permanent rooms of Polish paintings.
Outside it was mild and dry.
14th October GKS Katowice 0 JKH GKS Jastrzebie 4 Polish Hockey League 700
Played in a small arena next to the main Spodek.
The result was tough on the home side who had gone behind very early on but competed well until the last six minutes of the third period.
Both teams played with two men down at times but the away goalie proved the better man, stopping everything from Katowice.
The match was played in a football style atmosphere at times and being in a small
location you were very close to the action.
Jastrzebie stay second in the league - the top level of Polish hockey.
A fifteen minute walk back to the centre for an Italian meal of escalope, profiteroles plus some red wine and an Irish Coffee to finish.
Onward by train to Kielce for a stopover on the way to Warsaw.
Then a three hour plus train ride to the Polish capital where it was rainy and cool.
17th October Poland 1 England 1 World Cup qualifier in Warsaw 43,000
‘Washed out - maybe’
Like many I travel to these games with very low expectations.
But this was grimmer than most.
Getting drenched walking around the stadium to get to the England section, hanging around for ages with little information when it was obvious they couldn’t play and then getting even wetter on the way back to my hotel - all part of the experience for many fans.
Feeling unwell for some of the time didn’t help my personal demeanour & having to find a hotel for another night and an alternative flight also added to the stress and, of course, cost.
And so to the game itself, rescheduled for 5pm on the Wednesday.
With the roof closed (a day late) the locals produced a vibrant enough atmosphere to help their team to a deserved draw.
A rare error from Joe Hart allowed defender Glik to head in with twenty minutes remaining.
Before then Rooney had converted a Steven Gerrard corner in the first half.
But overall it was a very patchy performance by England with little flow and lots of misplaced passing against a fairly moderate Polish side.
So plenty for coach Roy Hodgson to think about.
Was it a bad day at the office, perhaps partly down to the postponement, or a sign that we are not as good as we thought we were ?
What looked like a comfortable qualifying group could become tougher than we imagined at the outset.
Or we could get back on track with away wins in San Marino and Montenegro next March.
By the Thursday I’d dried out and got home via the new airport terminal in Lodz.
more pictures at http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/1512566050
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Six Russian league games including the Moscow derby between Spartak and CSKA plus an Ice Hockey game in Ekaterinburg.
29th September 2012 Kuban Krasnodar 2 Terek Grozny 1 Russian Premier 16,750
From Moscow (stopping near the edifice that is the Cosmos hotel - more small town than hotel) then on to Krasnodar where the temperature feels like Spain rather than Russia.
Krasnodar has the feel of a progressive city with some nice apartment blocks going up around the river area.
It also has a pleasant main street (ul. Krasnaya) that is closed for weekend traffic from Friday evening onwards.
On this particular weekend there was a honey market showing off the local produce and the twentieth cultural visit by reps from Karlsruhe as well as some other celebrations.
Many locals enjoyed the ambience.
The Kuban stadium is easily walkable from the centre and it comprises open seats, curving round at the ends with two tiers along the sides.
Both Kuban and their spin-off Krasnodar are planning new stadiums in the next few years.
There were around 200 fans supporting Terek with some likely to be based locally.
Most of the home ultras were in the right hand end.
The game’s highlights were a corner routine that led to the opener for the home side which was nullified by an awesome 40 yard strike from the Czech central defender Jiranek.
But when the Kuban sub. Ozbiliz came on he changed the game with crosses from the right and a shot across the goalie for the winner.
With the weather remaining warm I went to the central area, had a beer in the busy Irish pub followed by some vodka as the fireworks went off in the background.
As it stands Krasnodar will not be hosting any World Cup matches which seems a shame.
30th September Rostov 0 Rubin Kazan 4 Russian Premier 11,740
My favoured option was to take a bus from Krasnodar to Rostov - around a four and a half hour trip.
The alternative - a train - either meant a very early or too late start.
But the bus though it looked somewhat elderly was comfortable and reliable enough.
As is often the case one of the trickiest matters is buying a ticket at the bus station & in this case I was able to gain help from a kindly English-speaking local.
When the bus arrives in Rostov it travels near to the river and you get good views of one of the impressive central churches.
My hotel was further east - out towards the airport and it was also possible to walk to the Olimp-2 stadium.
In the ground the Rostov fans, including some lively ultras, were joined by just ten fans from Kazan.
But it was the away side that dominated with Venezuelan Salomon Rondon scoring two goals in the first half and missing some other chances as the home defence failed to close down the space.
Turkish winger Karadeniz was an early threat and he provided the cross for Rondon to head in the first.
There was very little for the fans to cheer and they were drifting away as Italian defender Boccheti rose to head in unmarked on 81 minutes.
Another in added time just prolonged the agony for the ten men of Rostov (who had defender Salata sent off for two yellow cards)
Rostov had names from the ‘past’ in their starting lineup including Sinama-Pongolle (anonymous) and David Bentley (generally ineffective)
I got the bus back to my hotel and had a Tuborg and a snickers bar.
1st October Krylya Sovetov 2 Krasnodar 2 Russian Premier 10,458
An early start to get the S7 flight to Moscow then a four hour or so stopover at Domodedovo before flying on to Samara.
Where it starts to feel more like Russian weather with leaves falling from the trees and winter on its way.
The Metallurg stadium sounds less than cosy and it definitely was in the intermittent rain and cold wind.
There is virtually no cover with three sides of good sized open seating in the club colours of green and blue.
This match had a lot more chances than the first two I’d seen with both sides missing good opportunities before the visitors scored through Movsisyan who shot through the goalie’s legs.
Krasnodar continued to play the better football but they were pegged back by two goals from Paraguayan striker Luis Caballero.
But the visitors came out with purpose in the 2nd half and they deserved at least a point.
Brazilian sub. Wanderson was on hand to score the equaliser and he missed a good chance to get the decider.
I saw little of Samara but what I did see looked typically Soviet with old apartment blocks, limited signage and fairly bleak streets.
In my hotel (the taxi driver who took me back from the game guessed where I was staying) I chose the fish soup and a beer followed by an early night.
As I had another very early start to get the 5.20am flight to Moscow.
3rd October Ice Hockey Kontinental League Avtomobilist 0 Slovan Bratislava 1 3,000
Then onward to chilly Ekaterinburg where I planned to watch Ural play in the 1st Division but things didn’t work out that way and I had to settle for just seeing the Ice Hockey.
I could say that I was tired and the weather was fairly grim but ultimately it was an error of planning that led me to the wrong stadium.
I’d also not allowed much contingency time so when I was at, as it turned out, the incorrect ground in the Uralmash area I had little time to find the correct location.
Combine that with there being nobody around who spoke English and no sign of a taxi and I was stumped.
I think the last time I went to the wrong place was back in the Sixties when I got off at the wrong stop for Walton & Hersham.
Ekaterinburg is somewhat further to go for a missed match.
But at least the hockey was enjoyable being played in a small arena where even from the cheap seats (300 roubles and 80 for a decent programme) you felt the complete experience.
The speed and noise was terrific. It was just a shame that Avto were second best as Slovan produced many more shots on the home goal.
Just one went in, in the second period during a power play.
Slovan, mid way in the Western Conference had the aptly named Janus in their goal and they could also call on Satan, if needed,as an outfielder.
Avto were now 2 wins out of ten and bottom of the East.
Inside it was 16 degrees, outside about +2 but felt lower due to the severe wind chill (and sleet)
Ekaterinburg has lots of history and I had visited the Church Of the Blood earlier in the day as well as the City History museum and the old railway museum.
It would certainly repay another trip, ideally not in October when the weather is getting wintry.
Getting wintry in early October makes it tough to contemplate that the locals have to endure at least six months of this, and much worse.
By train, five hours, from Ekaterinburg to a stopover in Perm.
Which is a progressive city with a helpful tourist office and a choice of specified ‘walks’ around the historic central areas.
It didn’t have the penetrating wind from the Urals like Ekaterinburg and so it was more comfortable to stroll about.
In the evening I partook of an excellent steak washed down with some weissbeer.
Then an early morning train to Nizhny Novgorod.
Sixteen hours in a Russian train (second class) takes its toll - the last five hours did particularly drag.
Not much to see - just endless pine trees interspersed with some towns and some fairly long stops.
I guess given the slack in the schedule its not too difficult to arrive on time, as it did.
In a way it feels like you are stepping back in time at the stations with people selling food and gifts from the platforms and (unofficial) porters ready to help with your bags.
6th October Volga Nizhny Novgorod 0 Mordovia Saransk 2 Russian Premier 3,100
A small crowd at this game with about 30 fans from Saransk.
They saw the bottom two teams in the Russian Premier battle it out in fairly cool, rainy conditions.
Volga were unlucky after going behind to an early penalty they hit the bar four times and missed a pen. of their own (Asildarov blasted it into row Z)
Mordovia spent most of the second half content to defend and slow the match down.
They sealed the win with a late free kick by substitute Panchenko.
That was the cue for the locals to depart.
NN has some older grounds, one of which, the Volnik was very central and accessible.
It had an impressive selection of decrepit terrace and a concrete track.
The city itself has a mix of old wooden buildings and newer developments.
And there are some trendy looking bars and restaurants (normally without English menus) plus an impressive Kremlin.
As you might expect there are some great views of the Volga river.
For dinner I chose a Japanese meal together with a Mojito.
7th October 1.30pm Dinamo Moscow 0 Anzhi Makhachkala 2 Russian Premier 7,712
An early flight to a much improved Sheremetyevo airport, the airport express train to the metro and then on to my hotel.
Followed by coffee in Starbucks then the metro to Leningradsky station.
Where there was a special train to Khimki for the Dinamo fans.
The Khimki arena is, for a change, a modern, all covered stadium with medium sized stands.
Its always satisfying to see both sets of fans at either end of a ground, and so it was with around 400 providing good support for Anzhi.
They chanted ‘Dagestan’ to annoy the Muscovites.
Anzhi had familiar names in their lineup with captain Samuel Eto’o up front and Chris Samba in defence.
But it was Mbark Boussoufa who would pull the strings in midfield, especially after Dinamo had also been reduced to ten men.
Earlier Anzhi had Joao Carlos dismissed for a ‘professional foul’ and they proceeded to slow down the game and generally keep Dinamo under control.
But when it was ten versus ten the away side stepped up the play with sub.Mehdi Carcela having a hand in both goals, the 2nd setting Eto’o free for him to convert in typical fashion.
So Anzhi stayed top of the Russian Premier.
Walking back to the station past the numerous police I managed to get on a very crowded Moscow bound train along with quite a few Spartak and CSKA fans.
7th October 6pm Spartak Moscow 0 CSKA Moscow 2 Russian Premier 54,228 (20,000 away)
And so to the Luzhniki via the metro.
Where the big Moscow derby provided plenty of pyrotechnics and choreography from both sets of fans, the Spartak ultras to the left, the CKSA (section D) fans to the right.
On the field Ahmed Musa (Papiss Cisse-like) certainly proved the better Nigerian striker, as against Emmanuel Emenike (more Yakubu), especially when he combined with the Japanese Keisuke Honda to be a constant threat to the Spartak defence.
Their passing interchange on fifteen minutes got CSKA in front and they would add a second on 57 to effectively clinch the victory.
Spartak despite having the larger support found it difficult even with the inclusion of tall front man Dzyuba.
The game, on the artificial pitch, was played in reasonable weather after a morning of heavy rain.
Many Spartak fans were drifting away well before the end.
I joined them on the metro via Park Kultury to my hotel where after a tiring period of travel I settled for a small Hoegaarden and an early night.
And so after visiting some new Russian cities what impressions did I get ?
Firstly the reinforcement of the size of the country illustrated, for instance, by being in Krasnodar in temperatures of 27 degrees followed a few days later by about the 2 degrees (and far less in the wind chill) of Ekaterinburg.
The weather is also a factor in that when it rains or snows you have to be prepared to get your boots muddy - drainage is a constant issue and pavements and roads soon get roughened.
And there remains the tricky matter of buying train or bus tickets and generally finding you way around when few locals speak English (e.g. Rostov is one city that currently does not have a street map on Google)
But, as usual, after a few days you can synchronise into most of the cyrillic script and thus identify street names and suchlike.
Reading menus is much harder and outside of the main tourist locations not too many restaurants have an English option.
So there is always a challenge however what you see only makes you want to see more knowing that there is so much compelling variety in the cities, the vast terrain and the culture.
And the signs of progress continue to be evident.
more pictures viewable at http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/1496924382
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Three games in the Czech Republic starting with Plzen in the Europa League and a trip to Berlin to see Union play Cologne.
20th September Viktoria Plzen 3 Academica 1 Europa League 10,845
This game turned on a goalie error when Ricardo failed to hold a Horvath header when under pressure.
Plzen then had the initiative and they added two more headers to win comfortably.
Earlier the Portuguese visitors had led when Wilson Eduardo converted and for a while it looked like Academica with the backing of about 200 fans might keep control.
But once Viktoria were level and hence had the momentum there was only going to be one winner.
The local ultras kept up their support though the ground was not quite full for this third taste of the Europa League for Plzen.
The city itself is famous for being the home of the Pilsner brand.
And it has a pleasant centre with a market where I sampled some of the local produce.
21st September Union Berlin 2 Cologne 1 2. Bundesliga 16,750
I took the train via Prague to Berlin to see Union in their partly rebuilt stadium.
Currently there are three sides of the ground in use as the main stand is under construction.
Some 1,000 fans represented Cologne and they were packed into a section of one end.
It started well for the visitors who were awarded a penalty after just three minutes from which Broker scored.
But that was the high point for Cologne as first Brazilian Silvio forced in an equaliser and then later their captain Mattuschka’s left foot shot secured the win.
It was a game of few clear cut chances but plenty of noise.
The banners from the fans suggested they want to preserve the terraces and you could see why with such an atmosphere.
I took the S-bahn back to my hotel.
22nd September Pribram 1 Ceske Budejovice 1 Gambrinus League 1,960 (12 away)
An early train back to Prague and a couple of changes to get to Pribram.
Where the town was quiet on this Saturday to go with a quiet, low-key encounter.
(The barman who served my hot wine beforehand assumed I was going to the hockey stadium)
The stadium is on the western edge of town and it comprises 3 stands, two covered either side and a semi-temporary one at one end for the away fans.
I expected more than twelve to be supporting Ceske.
Not for the first time the man who was the focus of attention was the well known anti-hero Tomas Repka.
Within six minutes he had committed his first foul and on seventy he was booked but then, after the home goalie had mishandled a cross, he was there to drive in the equaliser.
Pribram had led when Strihavka nutmegged a defender for Trapp to convert but they couldn’t get another and in the end Ceske deserved a point in a game of few chances.
I trekked back to the centre and eventually found a restaurant that was open.
23rd September Dukla Prague 0 Slavia Prague 0 Gambrinus League 4,122
The Juliska stadium has various iconic features including the large swathes of unused terrace, the buildings at one end and the views of Prague.
Dukla produced a newspaper programme with a retro feel to go with the retro ground.
And wouldn’t it have been special to be transported back to the 60’s to see the likes of Josef Masopust in action.
Slavia probably had most of the support including many fans mixed in with the home supporters in the seats.
The away ultras had a small section of their own near the front.
Two good chances were spurned by Preucil of Dukla and Latka of Slavia and a definite handball was missed.
Apart from that neither side got very close even though the second half was more open.
It got cooler later and I made a brisk walk back to the tram followed by some local restaurant fare whilst watching the hockey highlights on TV.
more pictures at http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/1473267055