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Lahti

Ground: Lahden Stadion

Visits: 1

Date: 27th June 2017

Match: Lahti - Helsingfors IFK  4-1  (Veikkausliiga)

Attendance: 2 847

In 2010 I visited Finland for the first time in my life and although the quality of the football can be a bit poor it is a country I really like to visit, at least in the summer months. As I was planning this tour I wanted to combine the games in the Stockholm area with games in Finland. To my delight I found out it was possible to go to two games in Veikkausliiga as well as a game in Kolmonen before returning to Sweden. First up was a visit to Lahden Stadion in Lahti and at 05.35 on Tuesday morning my alarm buzzed. Staying at an airport hotel it didn´t take me long to reach the airport. My flight to Helsinki departed at 08.00 and around 11am (local time, one hour time difference) I was at my hotel in central Helsinki. Since my room was not yet ready I did a few hours of sightseeing and had lunch at a restaurant before eventually checking in. My train from Helsinki train station departed at 15.19 and 50 minutes later I arrived in Lahti. The city Lahti (pop. 120 000) has a rich sporting tradition, especially in various winter sports. The city is well known for the annually held Lahti Ski Games and the Finlandia-hiihto cross-country skiing contest. It is also the only city to host the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships seven times, doing so in 1926, 1938, 1958, 1978, 1989, 2001 and 2017.

Lahden Stadion is normally a 20-minute walk from the train station but with heavy rain coming down at times I had to stop several times to avoid getting soaked. Once at the ground it was obvious Lahti is a city with a lot of skiing history. The magnificent ski jumping hills really towers over the ground making this a unique setting for a football ground. Tickets were 20 Euros and an hour before kick-off it was possible to enter the ground. As I was speaking English the stewards at the entrance thought I was VIP. I replied I was just a normal person who had travelled a long way for this game. Lahden Stadion has an official capacity of 14 000 and 5 000 of can be seated in the North Stand. For most (all?) football games this is the only stand used. Away fans get the rightmost block and for this games Helsingfors IFK brought around 150 fans. Unfortunately it was not possible for me to enter the unused stands which meant I could not see how full the North Stand was. The official attendance was later given as 2 840 though. Goalwise this has been a good tour so far and tonight was no exception. A strange looking own-goal and a well taken lob made it 2-0 to FC Lahti after only nine minutes. Mikael Forsell, formerly of Chelsea and Birmingham, pulled a goal back and at the break it was 2-1 on the score-board. Lahti made it 3-1 in the 46th minute and the final score was 4-1 to the home team. Although the second half was a bit poor I still fully enjoyed my visit to Lahden Stadion in Lahti. After all it is not every day you have ski jumping hills behind one of the goals.

My train back to Helsinki was supposed to leave Lahti at 20.47. No train showed up and after a few minutes it disappeared from the displays. I looked at the Vr.fi (trains in Finland) website but couldn´t find any information. I was quite confused and thought maybe the train had been cancelled. A fellow passenger on the platform notified me the train was 20 minutes late and would eventually show up, which it did. According to him the vr.fi website is worthless and he used another site to get live information about trains. I still don´t understand why the train disappeared from the displays though. Anyway, at 22.15 I was back at my hotel where I quickly fell asleep.

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Statue of Mannerheim (Marshal of Finland and the military leader during World War II)

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Lahti 2017

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Rear of the North Stand

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Statue of a skier

East-Stand.JPG

East Stand

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South Stand

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West End

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West End

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North Stand

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North Stand

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Players and officials entering the field

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Kick-off

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View of play

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View of play

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Lahti fans

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North Stand

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Refreshments

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Pano

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Pano