Tuesday, September 27, 2016

CSKA Moscow U19

CSKA Moscow U19 3 Tottenham Hotspur U19 2 - UEFA Youth League

Moscow's population is over 11.5 million. Most of the people are ethnically Russian, Belarusian, or Ukrainian, though other ethnicities are represented. The main religion of Moscow is Orthodox Christianity. Moscow citizens are called Muscovites. Moscow is home to the Moscow Kremlin, the seat of government of Russia, and a popular tourist attraction. This walled fortification preserves cultural and historical monuments important to Russia. The crown jewels of the Russian tsars are kept here, and the Russian president has his official residence here. Visitors from the US, UK, and other countries must first obtain a travel visa before they will be permitted to enter Russia. A valid passport and other documents are required for obtaining a visa.

Having enjoyed the match at Dynamo Moscow the previous evening, the much travelled Adam Carne and I were keen to maximise our Moscow football experience by attending the UEFA Youth League match between the U19 sides of CSKA and Spurs. We were aware that the venue of the match was Stadion Oktyabr' but still managed to struggle to find it. The three locals that we stopped to ask were unanimous as to the direction of the ground, which did not accord with our instinct. It transpired that they were helpfully directing us to the CSKA Arena, the venue for that evening’s Champions League match. We eventually decided that a taxi was the best option and an added bonus was that the driver could almost understand us and knew where the ground was.

Despite the earlier confusion, we arrived at the stadium an hour before the scheduled 2pm kick off and were the first spectators to arrive. We took some photographs and then adjourned to the adjacent hotel for some liquid refreshment. 

TV Cameras were already set up to facilitate the live broadcast of the match. Admission to the match was free and a match ticket was issued. It was only possible to view the match from one side once inside the ground, this being the side opposite the team benches.

An uncovered seated stand was adequate for the number of people in attendance. This was segregated in order that the Spurs and CSKA fans were kept apart. Sadly there was an incident when a group of around a dozen CSKA ‘fans’ rushed the Spurs section and stole a flag belonging to the Russian Spurs fans. This heroically ‘brave’ act is not without precedence as a Manchester City flag at a similar fixture was also taken. On this occasion Alexey Pivarenko lost his flag and will be particularly upset with the behaviour of his countrymen.

The match was played on an artificial surface on a pitch adjacent to the main arena. A closely contested encounter saw the hosts win by the odd goal in five. This was my second new ground within 24 hours and a third was to be added later in the evening with a visit to the CSKA Arena. More on that to follow.

Attendance: 350
Admission: Free
Programme: None

Click here for a full set of photographs

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