Świat okiem kibica

The World Seen With  A Football Fan's Eye

FC Koper

21.07.2013 PRVALIGA 2013/2014
FC Koper - Olimpija Ljubljana 1:1

Koper, or Capodistria in Italian, is a small yet pretty picturesque town in Slovenia, right at the Adriatic coast. A quick visit into the centre will let discover a beautiful old town with a cathedral ("stolnica") and a bell tower next to it (entrance: 3 Euro per adult, tickets available in tourist information office located in Palazzo Pretiro nearby). Besides, the Tito square ("trg") hosts a few other Palazzi (Foresteri, del Belio) along with a well designed cafeteria  located in Palazzo Loggia, with wi-fi free of charge - on condition some order is placed - a waiter will provide the login details himself.
On that Sunday afternoon we passed by the harbour and an adjacent public beach where each and every square centimeter seemed to be occupied by either a blanket, a towel or half-naked bodies of sunbathing fans - at first glance little to do with some relaxing time however as we all realise, many a man would pay a lot to enjoy a piece of the sun.
The stadium is located a few hundred meters from the centre and thanks to its lighting masts it very well seen from each corner of the town. The interest in the event appeared moderate, according to the post match statistics around 500 spectators visited the Bonifika ground that evening. Tickets could be purchased under one of two roofed tribunes, a provisionally arranged room ("bileterija") was staffed by three nice girls with one of them clearly possessing leadership skills: once the printer went out of order, she immediately requested her colleagues to issue the tickets manually (see pictures) - given the quoted attendance, the task was absolutely feasible.
Several Olimpija fans, a number of girls among those, were enjoying beer in the pub located under the other tribune. Familiar atmosphere, friendly conversations, happy faces - made the police troops standing nearby looking completely redundant. Green colour was dominating, proudly worn by the capital club fans.
Signage on the entrance gate appeared different versus the on the tickets - no worries though - a fight for double sold seats appeared unlikely. The main tribune bathed in sunlight, a few shadowed rows had been occupied very quickly. TV stations teams with their numerous cameras around the pitch gave the event some necessary glare - after all we were just about to start watching the Slovenia upper league match. On the referee's signal, the hosts launched attack to underpin their superiority in various aspects: not only was the Ljubljana team accompanied by own supporters on the away match, in adition they had  the only black player on the pitch - the Cameroon's Mbatama (number 4), the first goal scorer by the way. FC Koper started with a lot of nervosity, the first long pass laned at the coach'es feet on the subsitute bench (maybe he promised to play himself if the things start going wrong?).
A repertoire of fans songs happened to be somewhat modest, so the white-green visitors started, most probably out of boredom, verbal attack on Koper. Since they kept doing this with commitment worth much bigger subject, the local audience decided to respond in a very interesting and efefctive manner. A few loud comments  thrown towards the Olimpija fans from the "local" sectors raised gales of laughter and discouraged the guest from Ljubljana who started watching the game instead.
It looked almost guaranteed, that gaining the lead in 34th minute, Olimpija would keep exhorting pressure resulting in subsequent goals, since Koper's firepower looked dramatically low and their actions being dismantled very quickly, most often still on the own half of the pitch. Single tackles provoked some shy applause here and there, yet more regular cheering was not available. Two young girls, sitting in the middle section of the main tribune with a small dog attracted more interest tactical concepts being deployed by the players. Upon the transparent roof above the stadium, several seagulls were toddling - they may have seen some more interesting matches at the venue. The audience started exiting the sectors well before the end of first half - not because of a disappointing level of the competition - it was all about getting to the pub as quickly as possoble to buy drinks - the outlet was single while the number of thirstly people - pretty big.
The true match started in the second half. The Koper team moved clearly forward, encouraged by just one single goal Olimpija's advtantage realising the guests were not as scary as they looked in the first thirty minutes of the match. The effort paid off  and euphoria was reigning in all the sectors (excpet one) after the equaliser by Lotric.
To enhance some joyful atmosphere, a stadium staff member inflated a rubber mascotte waving towards the audience (i.e. the mascotte, not the staff member).
Mood on the pitch became a bit aggressive and the players enetered a number of arguments. The Olimpija fans thereated a goal line referee, for not having recognised a goal (FC Koper goalkeeper reportedly grabbed the ball from beyond the line). Agressive moves were oberved by several policemen and security guys, yet none of them decided to react. All in all, the line referee survived, the main referee booked several players and the draw persisted despite 4 minutes of extra time.
One may comment the above event even with more irony, yet it is worth remembering it was Slovenia who ultimately crossed Poland's hopes for the World Cup finals in 2010 via a convincing win 3:0 on 9th September 2009 in Maribor. The match cost Leo "Why" Beenhakker a National Team coach job.