Saturday, 23 April 2011
AB One Day I Will See You Again
Date & Venue: Saturday 22 April at Vika Stadium, Argir
Result: AB 2 FC Suðuroy 3
Competition: 1.deild (second tier)
Hopping: The final match of the trip, the twelfth game watched at the tenth stadium.
An astonishing boat trip to the bird cliffs at Vestmanna. Although it is not the optimum time of year for spotting the feathered friends, the sheer scale of this place was amazing. The boat fought against powerful currents as it skirted the cliffs and went into some of the clefts. This is definitely a must-do-again excursion if and when I come back to these islands. The still photos just don't do justice to the experience.
This match in one sentence
Heartbreak for AB, back level from two goals down, as they conceded a late goal while pressing for a winner themselves.
Both teams had won their opening two games of the season. AB were top of the table but now drop to fourth, FC Suðuroy rise one place to second and are one of three teams with three wins from three.
The drama unfolds
FC Suðoroy had the better of the early exchanges. AB keeper Predrag Markovic had to make two good saves, and then AB seemed to be disrupted by an injury to Tróndur Sigurðsson, whose cries of pain were clearly heard as he fell with what looked like a knee injury. However, both teams were tending to overhit their final pass and it was not until the 25th minute that there was a real near-miss. AB’s Hallur Fláaberg narrowly missed with a shot that was still rising as it whistled over the bar. Here's a scene-setting clip from the first half.
FC Suðoroy took the lead after half an hour. A shot from distance was pushed out by Markovic and Palli Augustinussen showed good awareness in turning the ball square to David Asare who had a simple tap-in. 0-1
The ball was spending more time in the air in this game, and FC Suðoroy tried some real Route One stuff on occasion. The AB coach Samal Hentze was loud in more than one language, using English as a common foreign language to get a message through to certain players. They certainly threatened to equalise - a free-kick from Alex Mellemgaard brought a header from Gunnar Haraldsen and a smart save from Stanislav Kuzma in the Suðoroy goal. However, after 40 minutes Henning Joensen’s shot was saved by Markovic only for Asare to control the rebound and fire home his side’s second. 0-2 There was time for Mellemgaard to send another free-kick just over, and for the yellow-clad referee to wave the matching card three times in quick succession, but there was no more scoring before the whistle. 0-2 at half-time
Whatever Hentze said in the dressing room was pretty effective. His side had a goal back before he had even reached his seat in the dugout. Another free-kick from Mellemgaard, and this one went straight in. 1-2
After 55 minutes, controversy. Kuzma was adjudged to have brought down an attacker as he dived at feet. He looked very unhappy indeed about the decision, and I have to say I agree with him (I was not far away). The only other reason I can think of is that he was deemed to have handled just outside the area, but there was no card shown. Milan Kuljic scored from the spot. 2-2
From then on, AB, playing with much more confidence, tended to take the game to their opponents without creating gilt-edged chances, as shown in the second clip. They made good use of the flanks and forced a number of corners, but the visiting defence looked solid enough.
The ref waved the yellow card four more times. The match was petering out towards an honourable draw, when, with two minutes to go, FC Suðuroy caught AB on the break and John Poulsen fired home. 2-3
There was time only for Mellemgaard to pick up a second yellow card for kicking the ball into the hoardings in frustration. Hentze will not be happy about that. Final Score 2-3
Firstly to staff at the Hotel Streym in Tórshavn for the room overlooking Nolsoy, the breakfasts, the advice on Faroese pronunciation and the daily football chat. Each room has its own one-liner, which I loved. I won’t spoil the others, but this was mine.
Equally important, thanks to the people behind www.faroesoccer.com, without whom I would have had several wasted journeys. I also acknowledge that they have been my principal source of players’ names for my reports. The “official” Faroese FA site was slow to get off the mark for the new season, and club websites are still variable.
The two books I used the most were the Bradt guide to the Faroe Islands, written in an engaging style by James Proctor (such as describing trees in a certain cemetery as being straight from an episode of Scooby-Doo) and Ronaldson’s Directory of Faroese Football, which is accurate up to 2009 and helped me physically find a couple of the more tucked-away grounds.
I didn’t make as much progress with the language as I’d hoped. I spent six months learning some Icelandic in the 1990s and although the language is structurally much the same, the pronunciation is quite different. However, the experience helped me to read some newspaper reports - slowly! Almost everyone that I needed to communicate with spoke English to some extent. If you want to try, there are courses and software available, and all I would say is start in good time. If you are of a certain age and took Latin at school (because of certain structural features of the language), or were taught the fundamentals of English grammar in a traditional way, then you will have an advantage. I do sometimes wonder whether this is part of the reason that English players do not travel well abroad.
Learn Faroese through football
Atlantic Airways to Stansted. I have had a fabulous and inspirational fortnight, and am sad to be leaving. Thanks to all of my original blog readers, and to those who have joined my random world in the last fortnight. I am working on a final summative article to draw together what I have learned and to help anyone who wants to follow in my footsteps. That will follow next week when my feet are back on the ground.