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Sarajevo

Ground: Olimpijski stadion Asim Ferhatović-Hase

Visits: 1

Date: 9th July 2019

Match: Sarajevo - Celtic  1-3  (UEFA Champions League, qualifying)

Attendance: 24 723

Wanting to visit at least one new country this summer I was looking forward to the 1st round draw of the Champions- and Europa League. Serbia and Bosnia were my priorities but unfortunately both Crvena Zvezda and Sarajevo were drawn away in the first leg (I could only go that week). The Celtic v Sarajevo games were reversed though and I decided to head to the Bosnian capital for this high-profile game. There is only one direct flight a week from Copenhagen to Sarajevo and with that flight landing after kick-off I looked at other options. Wizzair fly from Malmö Tuzla and from Tuzla it is then 3 hours by bus to Sarajevo. At 09.40 I left Malmö airport and around 15.30 I finally arrived in Sarajevo. The road from Tuzla to Sarajevo is over the mountains and through small villages. It was not too often the driver exceeded 60 km/h but it was for sure an interesting journey. The passengers in the bus were all from Sweden but I was the only one without Bosnian roots. The driver could speak Swedish as well making this an unusual bus journey. Once in Sarajevo I only had 10 minutes by foot to my hotel. Once I had checked-in I was feeling hungry and went to a local restaurant where I had Cevap, somewhat of a national dish. Olimpijski Stadion Asim Ferhatovic Hase, the home of FK Sarajevo, was used for the opening and closing ceremonies in the 1984 winter Olympics. After finishing my Cevap dinner I went by foot to the ground. It took me around 30 minutes but I enjoy walking. Bosnia-Herzegovina play their home games in Zenica and once outside Olimpijski Stadion Asim Ferhatovic Hase I could understand why. The capacity is 30 000 but it is a very basic football ground with no facilities for fans whatsoever. After a few exterior pictures I went to the city centre before making it back to my hotel.

Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina and has a population of around 600 000. Due to its long and rich history of religious and cultural diversity, Sarajevo is sometimes called the "Jerusalem of Europe”. It is one of only a few major European cities which have a mosque, Catholic church, Orthodox church and synagogue in the same neighborhood. From April 1992 to February 1996, the city suffered the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare, during the Bosnian War and the breakup of Yugoslavia. I slept late on Wednesday morning before setting off on a sightseeing tour of Sarajevo. My first stop was the city hall where one of the bridges was full of FK Sarajevo flags. Next stop was the cable car bringing me to Trebevic. The view of the city and surrounding areas was a great one. Back in the city I strolled around in the old city and Sarajevo really is a city mixed with different cultures and religious. Next to the Swedish embassy there is a genocide museum which reminded me of the horrors happening in Bosnia between 1992 and 1995.

The weather forecast said rain with thunderstorms during the evening. Not great if you are in an uncovered stand but I had brought my rain clothes just in case. My seat was in the west stand and having bought my ticket online I could sit where I wanted. The top 15 rows or so of the stand had lost all markings of row and seat number and it was obvious no-one cared anyway. 75 minutes before kick-off it started to rain and until 5-10 before half-time it was poring down. You could hear thunder several times as well but my rain kit kept me dry. For domestic games FK Sarajevo have attendances of around 4 000 (10 000+ for the derby v Zeljecnicar). UEFA games attract big numbers in the Balkans though and almost 25 000 hade mad it to Olimpijski Stadion Asim Ferhatovic Hase tonight. Apart from the rain and thunder we were treated with four goals. Sarajevo took the lead but Celtic were clearly the better team and backed by 300 or so away fans Celtic deservedly won 3-1. After the final whistle I walked back to my hotel and by now it was raining again. I had a drink at my hotel before quickly falling asleep.

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View of Sarajevo

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View of the surrounding areas

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Cable car

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Old city

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Brusa bezistan

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Seblij

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River

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Eternal flame

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City Hall

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Olimpisjki Stadion Asim Ferhatovic Hase

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Stadion Asim Ferhatovic Hase

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Rear of the West Stand

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View from the entrance gate

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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 East Stand

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Trophies

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Sarajevo fans

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North Stand

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East Stand

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South Stand

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Kick-off

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West Stand

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West Stand during the heavy rain

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North Stand

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Tifo

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Pyro

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View of play

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East Stand

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Celtic fans

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Pano

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Pano