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National Stadion Vasil Levski

Ground: National Stadion Vasil Levski

Visits: 1

Date: 21st July 2017

Match: Vitosha Bisritsa - Etar Veliko Tarnovo  1-1  (Parva profesionalna liga)

Attendance: 200

Since Thursday was a day full of travelling and stress it was nice being able to sleep late on Friday. I only had two things planned for today. A guided tour of Sofia city centre  at 11am and then a football match at 9pm. Free Sofia tours are done three times a day and the starting point is the Palace of Justice. Plenty of people showed up and we were divided into two groups. Sofia is of course the capital of Bulgaria and the city has been continuously  inhabited since 7000 BC. The name Sofia comes from Saint Sofia church, which we went by during the tour. The Romans called Sofia Serdica which is also the name of the metro station in the city centre where you change lines. After World War II Bulgaria ended up behind the iron curtain and until 1989 the country was a communist state. Since 2007 the country is a member of the European Union. The tour guide told us everything about the transitions and showed the important sites in the countries history. The biggest mosque is Sofia is situated next to the synagogue but nowadays there aren´t many jews or muslims in Sofia. The tour finished at 1pm and starting to het hungru I went to a restaurant next to the Alexander Nevski cathedral. Around 2.30pm I was back at my hotel and with the temperature being 30-31°C I decided to spend the afternoon in my hotel room where I of course had access to AC. Tonight´s game was played only a 15-minue walk from my hotel and after having pasta at the hotel restaurant I arrived at Bulgaria´s national stadium around 7.30pm.

Vitosha Bisritsa are based just south of Sofia and were via the play-offs promoted to Parva liga at the end of last season. 2017/18 will be the first ever season for the club in Bulgaria´s top division. With their ground not fulfilling the criteria to host top flight football the club the club has to play their league games at the national stadium. Vasil Levski is the national stadium of Bulgaria and has a capacity of 43 000. It is also used for derby games in Sofia and in 2017/18 the two newly promoted clubs, Septemvri Sofia and Vitosha Bisritsa, will play their games at Vasil Levski. I realized the attendance would be poor this evening but at least it was a new ground for me. Tickets cost 5 Levas (around £2) and it was unreserved seating in the main stand. Once inside it was not possible to buy drinks or food. I thought bringing a bottle of water inside was out of the question but apparently that was ok. With kick-off being as late as 9pm the temperature started to go down and I managed to survive without water. Etar Veliko Tarnovo brought around 40 fans to the game and in the 30th minute they could celebrate as Ivan Petkov scored the opening goal of the evening. He was then booked for removing his shirt as he celebrated the goal. The official attendance was given as 200 which of course felt a bit surreal in such a big stadium. Home fans present could celebrate in the 38th minute and at half-time it was 1-1. The second half was a bit boring with only a few chances. The game had nine yellow cards but I still wouldn´t call this an ugly game. At 10.50 the final whistle was blown at Vasil Levski and it as still 1-1 on the score-board. Shortly after 11pm I was back at my hotel where I could finally drink some water!

Pictures from my sightseeing tour can be found at: Sofia (sightseeing)

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National Stadion Vasil Levski

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Rear of the North Stand

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Rear of the North Stand

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Rear of the South Stand

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Ticket office

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Rear of the West Stand

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Bus, FK Vitosha

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East Stand

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South Stand

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West Stand

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North Stand

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Players and officials entering

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Etar Veliko Tarnovo fans

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Kick-off

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View of play

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View of National Stadion Vasil Levski

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North Stand

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Goal celebration (leading to a yellow card)

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1-1

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Pano

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Pano