Thursday, April 26, 2012
Corsica April 2012
A long weekend visit to Corsica seeing three games including Ajaccio v Nancy and Bastia v Chateauroux.
21st April Aregno Calvi 2 Lens B 2 CFA group A c.200 (mostly kids)
This match was played in Ile Rousse rather than Calvi, not that I knew that beforehand.
I drove past the ground on my way to picturesque Calvi where I stopped to have a look around and locate what I thought would be the venue.
So thinking had plenty of time I strolled over to the ground in Calvi by about 2.15pm & began to wonder why there was nobody around.
Maybe the kickoff time had changed ?
None of the locals I spoke to could help.
Then eventually I noticed on one of the electronic street ads that the game was 24km back up the road.
So I missed the first fifteen minutes or so.
But at least there had been no goals.
The pitch was 3G and the ground had a ‘clubhouse’, refreshment area plus a few rows of open sets down one side.
You could see the ocean under a cloudless sky.
Lens B passed the ball better but were pegged back by Calvi for whom no.7 (Lesueur) looked useful.
Bela scored both the Lens goals after some good combination play.
Back at my base in Corte I enjoyed some ‘nouvelle cuisine’ whilst watching El Clasico.
22nd April Ajaccio 0 Nancy 0 Ligue 1 6,140
Back to normal (?) in France with a goalless draw.
But the second half particularly had its moments especially when the game got stretched.
As is often the case the teams failed to deliver the telling final ball or convert what chances there were.
The home side, needing a win, came closest at the end of the first period when they hit the bar.
Nancy looked like they would have taken the draw before the game started.
The stadium, out of town and fairly close to Napoleon Bonaparte airport is small and three sided.
But you do have nice views of the sea and the mountains.
The local ultras did their best.
Ajaccio fielded some very small players especially no.12 (Sammaritano) who must be one of the shortest players participating in a major league.
23rd April Bastia 2 Chateauroux 1 Ligue 2 14,121
This win effectively confirmed promotion back to Ligue 1 for Bastia.
And it triggered lots of celebrations amongst the local fans.
The home side attacked hard from the start with the flank players especially dangerous.
Wahbi Khazri and Toifilou Maoulida would get the goals, the second via a long ball that eluded the visiting defenders.
But Chateauroux did present a threat and they got a goal back when central defender Fournier glanced in a free kick.
Midfield schemer Mikael Orinel showed some good touches for the visitors who could have spoiled the party.
Bastia thus maintained an undefeated home record stretching back nearly two years.
So in the end we had fans on the pitch, red flares and lots of waving of the blue and white flags.
One of the best Ligue 2 atmospheres I can remember.
Corsica is a very pleasant, compact island with some stunning scenery and excellent restaurants and hotels.
In the summer I’m sure the roads can get very busy with the tourist influx but during April getting around is manageable.
Although you certainly need to leave plenty of time to get to the two main stadiums (and get parked)
It took me well over an hour to drive the 12km or so from my hotel (the excellent Chez Walter) to the Bastia ground.
But it was definitely worth the wait.
more pictures at http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/1243820612