Chelsea Transfer Target
Nov 12, 2008, 7:24 PM
Team(s): England, Leicester City, Bedfont & Feltham
Post #1 of 1
Back from my first trip to Cyprus. Enjoyed hot weather, good food and drink, sightseeing ... oh and some football as well.
Friday Nov 7, 7pm
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Birinci League
Gonyeli SK 0 Cihangir SK 0 (att 500 est)
Good game despite ending goalless. Gonyeli won the title without losing a game last season, and looked a decent and skillful side ... except when it came to finishing. The visitors worked hard but rarely threatened, and were delighted at the end to have earned a point.
Gonyeli are one of three clubs who play regularly at the Ataturk Stadium in North Nicosia. It is in effect the national stadium of Northern Cyprus, and apparently has a capacity of 15,000. About 15 steps of terracing/seating surround the pitch and running track, with proper plastic seats under cover along both sides. The village of Gonyeli is only a mile or so from the stadium.
I had no idea what to expect from Northern Cyprus football, but was pleasantly surprised by the quality, organisation, number of fans and even the atmosphere.
Admission for men (women got in free) should have been 10 Turkish Lira (I think) but as I didn't have any Lira I got in for 5eu. No programme.
Biggest headache after the game was trying to find the only vehicle crossing back into to the Greek half of Nicosia (we'd crossed north much earlier in the day miles away near Famagusta). We knew roughly where it should have been, but it's not signposted and in the dark and on one-way streets it's easy to get very lost. Anyone attempting a "cross border" double (TRNC games are usually Sat and Sun afternoons) is advised to check the route beforehand.
Sat Nov 8, 7pm
Cypriot League, A Kategoria
Omonoia Lefkosia 2 Doxa Katokopia 0 (att 7,143)
Omonoia Lefkosia (or Omonia Nicosia) were woeful in a poor first half. Thankfully things improved after the break and they strolled to an ultimately comfortable win. Good atmosphere created by the home supporters, while Doxa, who I think play in or near Nicosia/Lefkosia, only bought about 30 fans.
Omonoia play at the GSP stadium, close to the motorway on the southern outskirts of the city, which is shared with city rivals APOEL and Olympiakos.
Admission, in the main stand, was 15eu. As for programmes ... I didn't see any evidence of them before or during the game, and when I asked a steward he told me there wasn't one. Then as I left the stadium I saw a discarded programme in decent condition No price on it so I assume it was given away, but where, when and to whom I don't know.
Sun Nov 9, 6pm
Cypriot League, A Kategoria
Alki Larnaka 1 APOEL Lefkosia 0 (att 3,000)
We were staying in Larnaca so this was the easy choice for Sunday. Alki don't have a stadium of their own so borrow the Ammochostos Stadium that is home to Nea Salamis Ammochostos FC, a side effectively playing in exile as their spiritual home, Famagusta, is now in the Turkish-controlled half of Cyprus (Ammochostos is Greek for Famagusta).
Another poor game made bearable by the atmosphere. Alki's unlikely winner came after 88 minutes, a direct free kick into the top corner in front of the massed ranks of APOEL fans in the stand behind the goal. Alki's celebrations prompted a hail of missiles to rain down from the APOEL support, who also began trying to set fire to the ground (with some success that alarmingly appeared to be ignored by stewards and police).
The final minutes were chaotic, both in the stands and on the pitch as APOEL pushed forward for an equaliser and Alki missed two great chances on the break to score a second.
A neat but small ground, with stands/terracing behind the goal and along one side. Admission was 12eu. No sign of a programme but I did buy an APOEL magazine/programme from a vendor outside the away end.