Sunday, 18 July 2010

Third Time Lucky?

Competitive football is back. After the world's dullest nil-nil draw against Vorskla and the two-nil hiding versus Kharkiv, I was hoping it would be third time lucky for me and Chornomorets Odessa. Third definitely wasn't lucky for yesterday's opponents, Stal (Steel) Alchevsk, who finished last season behind Sevastopol and Volyn, missing out on promotion by just one place.

With temperatures still over thirty degrees at kick-off it was no surprise the game began slowly. Alchevsk looked slightly the better side, taking the lead after seventeen minutes when Odessa's young keeper palmed a header inside the post. The two away fans jumped out of their seats. Everyone else laughed and went back to their sunflower seeds.

Five minutes later it was one-all. A corner was cleared as far as Alchevsk's star Congolese midfielder, who decided, as you do, to head it back in the direction of his own goal to an unmarked player from the other team. Control, scuff, goal.

That was as good as things got. As the second-half got bogged down in long balls, misplaced passes and midfield triangles, there were a couple of one-man pitch invasions and a shoving match between the Odessa ultras and some out-of-shape policemen, who tried, and failed, to make an arrest. The two groups stood staring each other out for the rest of the game, no-one much caring what was happening on the pitch.

Date: 17th July 2010
Admission: 25 Hryvnia.

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