Sunday, 26 October 2014

The Draw of Smoked Mackerels may be a Hammarby Blow

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Sunday 26 October 2014 at (Nya) Gamla Ullevi
GAIS 0 Hammarby 0
Superettan (Sweden’s 2nd tier)
552 on the lifetime list, chosen for logistic reasons and the first of a double hop today.
Pre-match preparation
This division is tight!  Hammarby went top on goal difference in the last round and only one point separates the top three.  Nothing can be decided today but Hammarby will be looking for a win here at mid-table GAIS. Update: Ljungskile missed the chance to take top spot on Friday and GIF Sunsvall don’t play till tomorrow. 

I had time in the morning to visit the tropical house at Boräs.  I'd pre-booked my hotel there last night before I realised there would be the chance of a double hop.  No matter, it was a shortish easy drive back towards Gothenburg.

Then I discovered that the stadium I photographed on emerging from the car park was NOT the right one ... *red face* ... the clue was in all the people streaming down the road to another stadium tucked just around the corner.  Ullevi is a larger multi-purpose stadium - think rock concerts and speedway as well as occasional football.  Gamla Ullevi is home to four Swedish football teams.  I saw tonight that the wikipedia entry for the former says "not to be confused with Gamla Ullevi".  Here's two pix of Ullevi looking empty.  I got into the correct one with minutes to spare.  (Hoppers should also note that SatNavs will take you to the GAIS training base if you feed in the club address from soccerway!)

This match in one sentence
An entertaining goalless draw with plenty of chances and half-chances, and both sides would claim they could have won it.

So what?
GIF Sundsvall will now win the division if they win their final two games, starting on Monday night.  It is so close - a draw would hand the advantage back to Hammarbv going into next week's final round as all three contenders would have equal points but Hammarby have a much superior GD.  All three have home games.  Ljungskile, whatever happens, would be dependent on at least one of the other results to go their way.  One of the three will have the consolation of promotion instead of the title, and one will face a playoff.

The drama unfolds
The players were taken off the pitch as the ground became engulfed in smoke.  To be honest, I wouldn't have known that from where I was sitting.

We kicked off ten minutes late.  Hammarby started like champions-in-waiting and forced a series of corners.  Kennedy Bakircioglu was prominent around the edge of the box and I warmed to him as a fellow man going thin on top.  There was a good atmosphere in the ground with the visiting fans in good orchestrated voice, as is the way on the continent.  Nahir Besara sliced a shot wide for Hammarby and then that man Bakircioglu forced Tommy Vaiho to save at the near post.  Here is my first-half scene setter.  GAIS (the Mackerels, apparently) are in the green and black, and Hammarby are in white and green.

0-0 at half time

Besara and Bakircioglu were in action again within moments of the restart, but GAIS were not out of this and arguably missed a much easier chance when a low driven cross from the right just eluded everyone.  They really should have scored again after 70 minutes.  It was end-to-end stuff - we knew that a draw was not enough for Hammarby and GAIS were playing for pride. Here's a second half clip.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable fixture.  It ended goalless but there was plenty of entertainment value.  Final score 0-0

Ground Pix

Match Pix

Something You Don’t Get in the Premier League (Yet)
Smoke - match delayer and a token gesture during the second half ...

Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
Orange and blue share the spoils and take a clean sheet each.  Full table later this month when I am back in the UK!
Learn Swedish Through Football
Norra - north
Södra - south
Söndag - Sunday
Tio över ett - ten past one
Försvarare - defenders
What Next?
Elfsborg (who are from Borås, that I do know) is just under an hour’s drive from here – they are at home in the Allsvenskan later this afternoon.  Update: I made it!  Blogpost to follow.

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