Ground: Stadionul Zimbru
Date: 3rd June 2011
Match: Moldova - Sweden 1-4 (EURO 2012 qualifier)
Attendance: 10 500
Pictures: Scroll down!
Moldova is not exactly the biggest of tourist destinations but a EURO 2012 qualifier combined with two days off work meant I, and two friends (Mats and Anna), could book our trip to Chisinau as early as September. From Copenhagen there aren´t too many options but we found a 07.15 flight to Vienna and then a couple of hours later (12.30) the journey continued from Vienna to Chisinau. I had to get up at 03.10 on Thursday morning but if you have to go you have to go. The flight from Vienna had 85 passengers, approximately 83 of those were from Sweden. We arrived in Chisinau by 15.30 and at the airport we were welcomed by an orchestra. The taxi driver taking us to our hotel did not speak English. He had however lived in Spain and spoke a bit Spanish, which Anna does as well. I guess you never know when your language skills will be used. Our hotel was a really nice one. We had booked a suite at a 4 star hotel in central Chisinau and for once it was possible to enjoy some luxury while on a trip. It turned out Swedish Radio had booked their crew at our hotel as well.
The Swedish team had an open practise seasion at Stadionul Zimbru at 6 pm and despite being delayed we got there in time to pick up our tickets and watch some of the practise Of course, I also had a perfect opportunity of taking pictures of the empty ground. Stadionul Zimbru has a capacity of around 10 500 and was opened in 2006. It hosts every Moldova home game as well as the home matches of Dacia Chisinau and Zimbru Chisinau. I have to say the ground is quite nice with two tiers of seating. The stand on the west side has apartments right behind it and is smaller than the others. We took a taxi to the ground but on the way back we decided to try a local "Trolei bus". The fare was 2 Lei (around 10p), not bad. With the weather being warm and humid we finished off the day/night in a local restaurant where we were later joined by the radio crew.
When we woke up on Friday morning it was already 23 degrees outside. After a long breakfast we decided to rent a car and go to a famous monastery on the Moldovan countryside. Renting a car, with GPS, turned out to be a challenge. It took us three hours until we were in the car heading out of the capital. The roads in Chisinau are so bad the locals actually joke about it. When you enter the city there are signs saying "Welcome to the capital of bad roads". After an hour we made it to the monastery. Moldova is a beautiful country and driving on the country side was interesting to say the least. The views from the monastery were really great and I can understand why we saw at least three couples getting married there. Anyway, we were back at our hotel by 5pm and quickly made it to the pool. The radio crew were there as well and told us about the starting line-ups. Living at the same hotel as them was interesting and they represented their company with flying colours.
Kick-off was at 21.30 and after getting on the wrong bus we only arrived 10 minutes before kick-off. 400 Swedish fans were in the away sections and when we sang out national anthem you, once again, know why you love international matches. I thought we gave our team a good vocal support through-out the match. Our seats were in the front row and with (properly dressed) police men standing in front of us we had to stand for the entire 90 minutes. Normally we do that anyway but this time we had no choice. Sweden got an early goal and were leading 2-0 by half-time. The match eventually finished 4-1 to the visitors. A great result for us. Another great thing was the relationship between home and away fans. Female Swedish fans seemed very popular with the locals and the Moldovans gave us a very warm reception through-out the evening. Some of the home fans left the ground in front of our section, stopped and then applauded the Swedish fans. At least the riot police didn´t have to work too hard this evening. We were back at our hotel by 00.30 and as it was still very warm the pool was used again. One more day left for us in Moldova now.
Saturday was another warm day and this day we went to the Milestii Mici wine cellar. Unfortunately the GPS wasn´t giving us the correct route and we had to ask locals about direction. It didn´t go to well. Suddenly there was no road anymore and we had ended up in a dump-site. More locals had to be asked and we eventually made it to the wine cellar. Later in the afternoon it was back to the pool for a few hours. Our last restaurant was to be a Russian one. Looking at the prices it was probably where the diplomats and others go. The waiter was really excited about us being from Sweden and chatted to us through-out the evening. An interesting weekend came to an end. Travelling to Moldova is not something you do too often but trips like this are really fascinating and hopefully I can do something simlar in the near future. Maybe in the next World Cup campaign ?
View of Orhei Monastery
Milestii Mici wine cellar
Russian Embassy (view from our hotel room)
Swedish fans in the city centre
Swedish fans in the city centre
Outside Stadionul Zimbru
View of Stadionul Zimbru
Riot police and fans
View of play