SERBIAN TRIP pt 2
Partizan 2 Javor-Matis 1
Gate: 450 Serbian Dinar (£3.35)
Programme: Not produced
Part two of my Serbian adventure had to be put on hold for 24 hours, as word came through just as I was about to board my coach south to Nis, that the game had been postponed due to ground improvements not being ready.
So Saturday night was planned for Partizan v Javor-Matis, to be fair I do not know that much about the hosts, the opposition? Ignorant, totally ignorant. To be fair, Wikipedia does not give you too much more.
So off I set from my hotel in 30 degrees for the 15 minutes walk to Partizan Stadium. Arriving with an hour to kick-off there was such a difference from Thursday evening in numbers and atmosphere. Next, buy a ticket. Easier said than done, the ticket office is not part of the ground and is 10 minutes walk away from the club shop. Eventually located, ticket in hand, now I just had to wait for the gates to open.
With 35 minutes to the start they opened up, to be honest, no need for much longer due to the crowd size. Once inside there was little in the way of refreshments, a guy pouring Coke, Ice Tea, Fanta or Water from bottles and charging a fair bit by Serbian standards.
The crowd filtered in bit by bit, that is apart from away fans, I cannot remember ever going to another game where there was not a single away fan. Even when they have been banned.
The Partizan Stadium, to give it one of its names, JNA Stadion and Fudbalski Hram (Temple of Football) the others, all seater, the Ultras in the South Stand, the rest of us in the West and East. This was the ground that Manchester United played Red Star Belgrade in 1958. The ground that was the last for a number of the Busby Babes. Moving.
We kicked off under the evening Belgrade sun in temperatures not much below 30 and still quite humid, we only had to wait 6 minutes for the hosts to take the lead, young playmaker Kosovic spraying the ball out wide for his skipper Vulicevic, his cross was inch perfect, leaving Durdevic to rise unmarked, heading down into the ground and up into the roof of the net from 10 yards, class goal.
Whilst the score remained the same at the break it was not for lack of chances at both ends. Whilst Partizan were the better side and should have had 5 or 6, it was thanks to their keeper Kljajic that they had not conceded.
After the interval the game carried on pretty much as it had left off, Partizan the better side, but Javor-Matis looking dangerous on the break, Kosovic dictating play. That was until five minutes to go when a smart move down their right wing saw Miletic play a smart ball across to Soumah who finished easily to put the hosts 2-0 up. Game over. Well not quite. With a minute left of the 90 a free-kick was swung in from out wide by the visitors, defender Milovic rising the highest and his glancing header found its way just inside the far post. Not a single cheer was to be heard. Game on.
Still no matter how much Javor tried, Partizan saw out the rest of the game but there was a sense of relief among the 4,000 in attendance. I mooched off back to my hotel, took me about 15 minutes.
Games since a 0-0: 11
Total Attendance past 200k
Elastica – Elastica