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The World Seen With  A Football Fan's Eye

Lokomotiv Moscow

02.05.2012 PREMIER LEAGUE 2011/2012
Lokomotiv Moscow - CSKA Moscow 0:3

Our hotel receptionist made us a bit concerned on the match day making a big question mark over tickets availability. Completely pointless - we could get any ticket in any sector we wanted since only 15 thousand spectators decided to arrive at the Lokomotiv stadion to see the Moscow derby. To be precise, the other Moscow derby match on the same day was held at Spartak (1:1 vs. Dinamo).
The stadium setting in a bit Western style: cheerleaders, a huge "sector" banner featuring the locomotive image, the teams march to the pitch accompanied by Metallica's "Enter Sandman", national anthem with text on the telebim - excited fans of both rival teams - all good stuff. Not so good appeared the behavior of the "neutral" spectators, at least those sitting in our sector: they were coming to the stadium until 20-25th minute to look for their seats the way it posed a nuisance to others already present. Permanent "migration" inbetween sectors, to either go to the the toilet or have a snack or drink, was truly irritating; the impression was the match being a completely secondary target with full priority granted to having a walk, having a sausage and drinking tea (vnimanye: pradazha alkohola zapreschnena).
The match flow was strongly affected by the incident from the 7th minute. Lokomotiv had to face a two-fold loss due to a foul in the penalty area: a goal from the penaltu kick along with Costa being sent off - the latter by the way seemed overinterpreted by the referee, booking would have been absolutely sufficient. CSKA controlled the game ever since whilst the hosts did not create any single clear goal opportunity throughout the entire match.
The show belonged mainly to Tosic, the Serbian striker who scored two goals, apparently beloved by the CSKA fans. His career includes appearances in the Serbian league (Partizan Belgrade), an episode at Manchester United (2 matches, 15 minutes in total) as well as Bundesliga (FC Koeln). One may conclude from the statistics that Tosic had found his "second life" in Moscow where he became one of the league stars.
The Lokomotiv captain, Glushakov, seemed to be begging for a red card in a very persistent manner - through either stupid fouls or endless discussions with the referee. I was close to bet for the red, all in all it ended up with the yellow in 32nd minute.
The third goal released extreme joy with the CSKA fans - two of them rushed onto the pitch and run through it to approach their goalkeeper and congratulate him in person, and then came back to their sector. They were praised by a big applause from the audience and the security forces looked as if enchanted - contemplating the chase for far too long until it was all in vain.
The militia and Omon troops were assisiting the fans from the stadion up to the metro station (few hundred meters) effectively preventing from any violent incidents thus securing a safe return to the capital center. Moscow was intensively preparing itself for the Victory Day celebration - the Red Square was closed for tourists a week in prior to allow for erection of a big stage - the focal point of the planned fest.