Friday, September 2, 2011
Spartak - CSKA Football match
Red Sox - Yankees, Bears - Packers, Carolina - Duke, Rangers - Celtic, that is the level of rivalry for this Soccer match. One of my fellow workers here has some Russian friends that asked if we wanted to attend when they found out my love for soccer. This is a huge game with all the goings on that surround European matches. I checked with our security folks and said just be careful and follow the normal "hide in the crowd" guidelines. Wouldn't you know the next day a notice came out to avoid the area due to "skin heads" and other security risks mainly rowdy fans, many of who take things way to far. We had tickets and were commited so off we went with assurances from our Russian guides that if we didn't look for trouble we would be fine. The Metro was as packed as I have ever seen it, full of chanting fans from both teams. The riot police were out in full force. There were several "incidents" at the metro stops and we saw some unfortunate folks being lead off in cuffs.
We only had one "oh shit" moment when a big drunk guy came against the flow of fans and grabbed a kids scarf right in front of me. Our friends pushed us to the wall and hurried us on. We passed Militia and Army stationed all along the entry to the stadium area. There were no more problems. The game was great ending in a 2-2 draw, probably the best result for a safe exit. They emptied the stadium a section at a time so we sat for over an hour before leaving. We avoided the Metro on the way out by getting a Gypsy cab (unsanctioned taxi) for the ride home.
My first European Match was an exciting time. I shot some very rough video and some photos, here.