Sunday, June 25, 2017

A (not that long) summer break

I don't mind at all (on the contrary!) that the summer break is this short in the football season. Compared to the two-month-long winter break, when I almost cut my veins, this few-week-long holiday is really bearable, especially that the CL-qualifyings are at the corner and afterwards the championship starts as well. (Meanwhile it's hot as hell, Average Fan tries not to get cooked, nor to get a heat stroke.)

The biggest happening of the transfer season was the return of Danilo Pantić to Partizan. I tell you, I’m one of those few who’s very happy for the boy’s return.

I know it's been trendy lately to curse, mock, spit and threaten Pantić as well as anyone who’s on his side. Yes, I also did get a portion after raising my voice for the kid and/or telling off a few haters. It made me laugh hard to see all those neurotic, spitting armchair-smartasses who put all possible threatenings into sight in case of Pantić’s return. Some of them looked as if ambulance should be called for them. So, I’m happy for Pantić being back to Partizan and can’t wait for his goals and assists.

Danilo Pantić in all smiles at his arrival at Partizan’s training camp in Zlatibor

Posing with Neca at a training

He even played at a friendly against Mladost
(photos: partizan.rs)

Another thing - independent of Pantić - that the team have played two friendlies so far and lost both. One against Zeta (MNE), to 0:1, another against Mladost (again 1:0). Oh well. These games are just friendlies, with no consequences and better to lose now than in the championship/CL.
As for other transfers, little Milenković went to Fiorentina. Partizan's management decided about his fate with the Italians back in the spring, what is more, it seems, Fiorentina takes Vlahović, too, as soon as the kid reaches the coming of age. No news yet about possible arrivals. There are a few rumours about Seydouba Souma though, but Partizan have been trying to get this midfielder from Guinea since forever, so far with no success. (Maybe, if I remember well, there was a Brazilian player as well in the possible transfers, but nothing happened.)
Meanwhile the team travelled to Slovenia for a training camp, there will be friendlies, then on 11th or 12th July comes the Champions League qualifying against Budućnost Podgorica.

***

I honestly admit, I didn't follow the basketball team for a while. Their performance was so very depressing and awful that every single game (among those I actually watched...) made me totally pissed and very sad at the same time. It was painful and infuriating to see the very same tactics - regardless of opponent or league - on every single goddamned game. Same tactics, same half-talents who will probably never have any more chance in life and especially to see every single game have the same screenplay, moment to moment. Shitty first quarter, struggling second (when we somehow equalized), suicidal third, finally (if we had luck) a combative fourth in a style that should have been present in EVERY SINGLE FUCKING QUARTER. Then, if we were lucky enough, we could win the game with this last quarter, if not, then not. It happened every time, on every game. And I hate to say it, but I was right: I said right in the beginning that even though this performance might take us until a certain point either in the freshly baked Basketball Champions League (the Euroleague of the poor...) or ABA Liga or in the Serbian superliga, but it's not enough for happiness. After this in Champions League PAOK smashed us into the face, in the semifinal of ABA Liga Cedevita simply stepped over us (based on our shitty performance we wouldn't have deserved to qualify to the final...), but the really bad surprise was in the Serbian league: we were eliminated in the semifinal by FMP (!!!). They say the last time it happened to KK Partizan to get eliminated in the semifinal was in 1998. Honestly, it didn't surprise me after this very disappointing season. Head coach Aleksandar Džikić has left for Budućnost, the two Americans left - Robinson has left during the season (he added absolutely nothing to the team), Hatcher left at the end of the season (he had some performance, though in a team like this even Michael Jordan himself couldn't make any miracle). I can't pick any player who had an exemplary or just an acceptable performance. I know that everyone is all over Novica Veličković, but the thing is, that in his case it was more about routine and heart than abilities/talent, but as the saying goes, in the land of the blind the one-eyed will be the king. The team is searching for a head coach now, but most of all it's searching for its old self.

***
As for the rest of the team sports: the water polo team has won the Serbian league. After practically the whole team left last year, it was a miracle even that there were a few remaining in Banjica to continue the work. They continued, so much that they won the championship title and will enter Champions League.
The handball team were running the gauntlet during the past season. Key players left, one after the other, a new coach was needed, too, plus the play-off became play-out at the end of the season. They finished on the 3rd place of the play-out, avoiding relegation, but who knows what comes in the next season.
The volleyball team ended much worse. OK Partizan was factually an U21 team for the season and they got releagated to the 2nd league. Honestly? I'm not surprised. My heart breaks for the team, but knowing their circumstances, it couldn't be avoided. It's no wonder at all, with so young players and such financial possibilities that are worse than worst. The team was practically on an amateur level.
That's all, folks.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Musings about the 2016/17 football season

Roller coaster.
This expression perfectly sums up this season.
It started in the deepest depths of hell. We got the chance to play in Europa League (we squeezed it out in the previous season) starting it in Round 2 of the qualifyings. Excellent. Our opponent was a not entirely dominant

let's be honest: a totally mediocre

Polish team named Zaglebie Lubin. We played a goalless draw on both games with them, then we got relegated through the penalty shootout. Well... yes. We tried to have our piece in the European football life with a fresh team, with players that signed to Partizan right before the qualification games. And it striked back. These players had zero chance to get used to each other or get to know each other. We lost, we got relegated, it was a big slap in the face for both the team and the fans.

The stunned face of Partizan’s sports director Ivica Iliev at the first game against Zaglebie. The moment when you realize you got a bunch of talentless idiots signed for Partizan

After the penalty shootout. Filip Kljajić giving support to Janković, who collapsed after Partizan got relegated

Then came the superliga and it wasn’t any happier. On the contrary... We started with a goalless draw against a newbie team, OFK Bačka. You get what I mean. This was OFK Bačka’s first ever time to play in the superliga. And we played with them a goalless game. Afterwards came a defeat from Napredak, after that head coach Ivan Tomić resigned.

I felt sorry for Tomić, because he looked a very reliable person humanly and his dedication for Partizan was also out of question. Perhaps he shouldn’t have debuted on Partizan’s bench as a head coach. Perhaps the pressure was too big... Who knows, maybe it doesn’t even matter anymore. He failed before he could have actually started it. It would be nice to know though, how he’s doing. It seems he has no activity as a football coach.

The management decided to call back Marko Nikolić - that Marko Nikolić whom they got rid of in 2014 in an exceptionally disgusting way. That Marko Nikolić, who was fired and right after his firing the team started to fall deep down and probably this defeat from Napredak was the lowest point. In the next round we were defeated again, now from Vojvodina, and it wasn’t an easy game again (1:3, home game) and this was really the worst. Ever. Partizan was on the 14th (!!!) place of the league table. Then finally we could win against Javor, in the 4th round (0:2, away). The machine started to run, crunching, with hiccups, but it was running (1:0 against Čukarički at home, then a 2:1 defeat from Spartak, away, right after that a four-goal victory at home against Rad), but the level of our game didn’t change at all. Partizan was an unmotivated, pathetic team that didn’t remind even of their own shadow. It was terrible to watch. We were 11th on the league table.

I got totally upset on every single goddamn game. I haven’t seen such a futile thing as Partizan and its teeth-clenching then. It was awful, depressive and very saddening. We didn’t function as a team.

Somehow it was running though. Victories were on the way, we won the 152nd Eternal Derby (1:0, Leonardo’s memorable goal in the 89th minute). We crawled up on the league table, reaching the 4th place (!!!) in Round 10. But something was still missing. Despite all these victories (1:3 against Radnik - away, 3:2 against Napredak - home) the team still didn’t look to be coherent. Our game was still terrible, the results didn’t give a clear picture about our actual performance. Simply put, the opponents were worse even than us. Our tactics were predictable, none of the players had any character or characteristic feature. We finished the autumn season on the 2nd place, but it was really high time for some rest, retrospection and thinking over things a bit.

Then the team underwent major changes during the winter break. Marko Nikolić surely came up with something special, because this unstructured, disorganized team started to get a shape. Players with special character or talent slowly started to emerge. Đurđević and Leonardo were especially this kind, they seemed to have that kind of special power to make a great duo.

They did. And it was really... HUGE!

The first game of the spring season ended as a small warfare against Rad, with scuffles, yelling and scandal. Everton’s photo made it through the entire world press, as this rock-hard, hot-headed defender leaves the pitch in tears, after Rad’s primitive, neo-Nazi fans spitted racism, hatred and xenophobia on him for the entire game.


The world-famous photo: Everton in tears, Filip Kljajić comforting him

But the machine was running and there was no stop... Partizan had no defeat, I repeat, NO DEFEAT in the entire spring season. NONE. We made a draw on the 153rd Eternal Derby (1:1, goal by Đurđević in the 88th minute), and this derby brought the most controversial goal of the season (or even the whole year).


The most important was that we didn’t get defeated, even when the opponent got a shameless support from the referee.
We marched ahead. 3:0 at home against Metalac, 0:2 at an away game against Mladost, the Leonardo-Đurđević axis was on full speed already. We stepped over Voždovac easily (4:0, home), Radnički Niš caused no headache either (0:2, away), the difference between us and those you-know-who at the first place of the league table was 6 points. Then came a rough, tensed game with Radnik, we kept the 3 points at home (2:0 for us), then we finished the regular season with a tough game against Novi Pazar (1:3, away). Time for the play-off.
I think we can say, from here the team made a fantastic resurrection, especially compared to what we had been at the beginning of the season. Obviously we needed all these events and circumstances as well, but our performance in the upcoming 7 rounds, with all these games - seriously, it should be prescribed against depression.

Play-off, round 1. Eternal derby. The 154th.
We tore them to pieces. To very small pieces. We swiped them off so aggressively that they were just gasping for breath. Their huge ego vanished, they looked at each other with pale face, while Đurđević or Leonardo brought life-danger to their box. Then in the 20th minute Leonardo was so dangerous that he scored our first goal. We pressured them ahead, the Đu-Le axis brought a lot of new grey hair for Zvezda’s goalkeeper... In the 40th minute they equalized, but they could make it only because Miletić was just one step behind Boakye - had he made it just one step ahead, he would have tackled the Ghanaian and the neighbourhood would have left without goal... No problem, the Parni valjak was rolling ahead on full force. We got back the lead in the 67th minute with Tawamba’s goal, the Đu-Le duo brought the third in the 79th, the first passed, the latter scored. With this 1:3 (because we made it all at their side, OF COURSE, where else? The best place to humiliate the opponent enemy is their own stadium, isn’t it?) we caught up Zvezda. Both teams had the same amount of points (40-40), the only reason Zvezda was still on the top of the table was their better goal difference.

And we were rolling ahead. Only victories came. Vojvodina (1:0, home), Napredak (3:1, home), Javor (1:2 away), Partizan was marching. And here, in the 4th round of the play-off came the surprise of all surprises: the neighbourhood got defeated by Voždovac. This small team from Belgrade’s outskirts beat the state-donated one to 3:2, which state-donated team lost its first place on the table - - - which it kept only because of the better goal difference, nothing else. AND PARTIZAN WAS LEADING ON THE LEAGUE TABLE, if someone had told this to me in autumn, I would have laughed them off before smashing them in the face with a shovel covered with pig shit.
We were leading.

In the meantime we qualified to the semifinals of the Serbian Cup. We got Vojvodina for our opponent, first we played with a hard-as-rock, teeth-clenching, goalless draw, then at the return game we beat them with one goal. We made it to the final, where Zvezda was waiting for us as well as the 155th eternal derby.

But let’s not forward this fast. We still have the last rounds of the championship, which were like a dream. Even if we had to play one of our games behind closed doors, but Partizan-fans are Partizan-fans - there’s a reason why they are one of the toughest and most loyal, if not THE most loyal fans in Europe. Not even this could keep them back. A big group of Grave Diggers gathered at the outside of the stadium and among them you could see the players of Partizan’s basketball team. Yes. Because Partizan is a team like this. FYI. (We won the game to 2:1.)

KK Partizan players among Grave Diggers outside of stadium JNA

Then came a very tensed, very nervous away game against Radnički Niš. We knew that we must not make any mistakes, because it might cost our (so much desired, closer-and-closer-approaching) championship title. While Radnički also wanted to win; a victory would have ensured them a place to qualify for Europa League. (Extra: Marko Nikolić was suspended at this game after the referee gave him a red card at the previous game. Because why not.)
We won. First we played very tensed, but after our first goal (Leonardo, 55th minute) we got more and more loose. Đurđević’s beautiful goal must be remembered. 58th minute, goal kick, Leonardo gets the ball...


It ended with 1:2. But it could be felt even here, that it will have a huge, fantastic, beautiful end.
It did.
Last round. Partizan vs. Mladost, neighbourhood vs. Radnički. The difference between us and them was still only 3 points. We knew that - theoretically - a draw is enough for the title, but a win would be much better.
We won.
On an amazing game, with 5 goals.
And there was this. Janković scored our 4th goal in the 70th minute and the stadium, this old stadium JNA that witnessed so much during the decades got a Ring of Fire.
(It still brings tears to my eyes.)


We were the champions.
It was time to celebrate. At long last, for a real, heartfelt celebration.








No sit-back and relax yet, we had one huge job to do. The Serbian Cup final.
Have we made it?
We have!
Double crown?
Double crown, for God’s sake!
155th eternal derby, Serbian Cup final. The world’s most tensed, most nervous game for sure. Bojan Ostojić got booked after 30 seconds (!!!). The neighbourhood wanted revenge so much, so so much. And even more.
But we all know how such a tensed, nervous pressure ends.
Yes. With a huge goal in Zvezda’s box. 44th minute, Milenković.

And with such a beautiful rainbow during the game

At the end "Little Baldhead", our reverse goalkeeper, Stevanović made such two saves that must be and will be remembered forever.


And yes. We won.
Championship title and cup winning. From the deepest of hell to the seventh heaven.
Do we deserve it?
OF COURSE WE DO!!!


It’s unbelievable how Tawamba can party. This "Balkan feeling" seems to fit him a lot

Leonardo immediately got among the fans

Right now I don’t want to think about how the next season will be. Marko Nikolić resigned almost immediately

I didn’t want to believe for quite a long time that the reason behind was a thick offer from none else than Videoton...

the new head coach Miroslav Đukić has just started the preparations with the team. We’ll see. What is sure: nobody can ever take this double crown from us. Big big big thank you to all of you, boys. For everything.

NAPRED PARTIZAN!!!


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Radnički Niš - FK Partizan 0:2 (superliga, round 28)

I’m here, still alive. So is the blog. In the past weeks I either had no energy to post or I was sick, but I keep on trying to update it as regularly as I can.
Okay. Enough of private life. Let’s see the game.
We had an "in medias res" start and attacked Radnički so hard from the very first minute, that they had to work overtime to find their breath. Already in the 4th minute we had a free kick, Janković shot, it was too high. A minute later came Everton and his (also too high) shot. In the 8th minute Tawamba crossed the ball to the middle, Đurđević made some magic (dribbling all around), but he was tackled. Three minutes later Janković’s cross arrived, Leonardo got it, all doors and windows were open, but he was blocked by defenders, and it was also flag up. And so on. We continuously attacked in the first 20 minutes, we didn’t allow the home team even to collapse for the lack of oxygen. There was a suspicious scene in the 22nd minute, Janković fell on the ground inside the penalty area of Radnički. The referee whistled, but not for penalty, instead he gave a yellow card to Janković for acting.

Volkov and Janković. Volkov is still a damn good player, may the Almighty collapse the sky to all the imbecile idiots in Partizan’s leadership for not running head over heels to sign Volkov - and Kojić - back to Partizan, instead they let them sign to Radnički

Then the pace slowed down a bit, but Partizan still controlled the game. In the 31st minute we got a free kick. Leonardo shot it to the box, the goalkeeper had a great save. In the 35th minute Đurđević was dribbling in the penalty area, the goalkeeper saved in the last minute, ending the attempt with a corner kick. Radnički’s first chance to mention was in the 37th minute. Travančić ran up with the ball, dribbled himself through Ostojić, then shot, barely missing the box. Two minutes later Kojić

aaaaarrrggghhhh, it was terrible to see him and Volkov not wearing Partizan’s jersey

crossed to Stojanović. Stojanović shot, it was saved to corner kick. Finally in the 41st minute Radnički had a counter-attack, again Travančić ran up, he shot, it was too wide.

Grave Diggers

In the second half we continued our "attack continuously"-tactics, possessing the ball, the goal was visibly around the corner for us. We had two huge chances in a row, Đurđević shot (and missed) both, first in the 47th minute, when the goalkeeper saved in the last moment, then a minute later he was dribbling and dribbling, then shot, Average Fan almost screamed "GOAAALLL", but instead the ball hit the side net.

Seriously, he missed the box with half a millimetre only. I will have to have a defibrillator at hand for such cases. I’m getting too old for this.

In the 51st minute Kojić missed a shot with millimetres.

Other than this Radnički had no mentionable action in the second half. Kljajić surely got bored to death in the box. Hopefully he had at least some crossword puzzles with himself or something.

Two minutes later Volkov saved from Tawamba in the last minute.

Tawamba was slowly turning into Bojinov. Don’t take me wrong, I like this Cameroonian guy a lot - he is much more likeable than the Bulgarian -, but it was Bojinov who made so much missed-out-barely attempts like Tawamba at this game. I hope though Tawamba will score goals. A lot of goals. 

We attacked, though we started to get more and more tensed. It was a very hard job to break through Radnički’s defense line - well, if Volkov is in the defense line, you can’t break through even with a tank - the home players were ruthless, sometimes on the verge of being unsportsmanlike. Then finally came the 69th minute. Janković crossed from the left, Ostojić pushed it with the head, Đurđević got it, shot and scored. And I’d bet on anything that Volkov let the ball go, just a little bit. Nevertheless a big high five to him. A Grave Digger will always be a Grave Digger. 0:1

Post-goal celebration. Deep in the mass of players you will find Đurđević somewhere

The pace slowed down after the goal. There were barely any attempts, and even those were all missed out. The game was fragmented. The only scene to mention was when Kojić - after he collided with Ostojić and fell on the ground with a painful scream - yelled off the referee, and I don’t say that Kojić was wrong. (The scene happened right at an ambience microphone, everything could be heard clearly.) Then it was already the extra time, everyone was wating for the final whistle, everyone calmed down knowing we made it, when Leonardo got a pass from Kosović and shot it right there. The distance was at least 35 metres (some sources talk about 40), it was visible on the shot that Leonardo probably didn’t mean it too seriously. Yet the ball fell into the net. WHAT A GOAL, WHAT AN AMAZING GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLL!!!!! 0:2

A well-deserved celebration

These images were made after the game. I have no idea where Tawamba got these sunglasses from, but they were surely great to wear in the reflectors’ light (or not)

"Svi kao jedan"


Highlights:


Facts:

Venue: Stadium Čair, Niš
Number of spectators: 8000
Official: Lazar Lukić (assistants: Milan Mihajlović, Dragan Bogićević - 4th official: Danilo Grujić)

Radnički Niš: Zogović, Volkov, Živković, Stojanović, Travančić (Apostolović, 74.), Arsić, Petrović, Tomić, Noma (Mrkić, 68.), Kojić (Jovanović, 90.), Perendija
Head coach: Milan Rastavac

FK Partizan: Kljajić, Vulićević, Ostojić, Milenković, Miletić, Jevtović (Kosović, 65.), Everton, Janković, Leonardo (Đuričković, 90+3.), Đurđević (Radin, 90+3.), Tawamba
Head coach: Marko Nikolić

Goal scorers: Đurđević (69.), Leonardo (90+2.)
Yellow card: Janković (22.), Perendija (43.), Milenković (45+1.), Volkov (78.), Kojić (86.)

Current championship standings:
1. CZ 73 points
2. FK Partizan 67 points
3. Vojvodina 57 points
4. Napredak 46 points
5. Mladost 44 points
6. Radnički Niš 43 points
7. FK Voždovac 40 points
8. FK Javor 39 points
9. FK Spartak 37 points
10. Čukarički 36 points
11. Rad 32 points
12. Metalac 26 points
13. Radnik 24 points
14. OFK Bačka 24 points
15. Novi Pazar 20 points
16. Borac 18 points

(photos: partizan.rs)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Mladost - FK Partizan 0:2 (superliga, round 26)

This match started at Sunday afternoon at 13:00, probably this starting time was also the reason why this game was so slow. Additionally the sky was grey, in the second half it started to rain.

Arriving at the pitch before kick-off

We had an attempt in the 3rd minute though. Tawamba passed the ball to Vulićević. He crossed to Đurđević, but Đurđević was blocked by the defenders. After that nothing happened for a while. Both teams played in a sleepy pace, but Partizan controlled the game as it was expected. Sometimes Mladost could cross the half-line and reached our half, but they didn’t make any turmoil. In the 13th minute we got a corner kick, the goalkeeper punched it downfield. The ball dropped to Leonardo, he shot from 16 metres, it was too high. Three minutes later again Leonardo shot, it ended as a corner-kick. The kick landed at Milenković, he shot, again corner-kick. Mladost’s first attempt to mention was in the 21st minute, Radivojević’s 16-metre-shot ended as a corner-kick. So, the game had a slow pace, Average Fan could go out to the kitchen for a cup of coffee without missing out much. Another action came in the 31st minute, Tawamba got a pass from Miletić, he shot, the goalkeeper proved to have great reflexes. Though Kljajić’s show in the 39th minute was phenomenal. Mladost got a corner-kick, Šatara headed it towards the box, and Kljajić had a FANTASTIC save. (You can see it in the highlights at the end of this blogpost at 0:50.) The much awaited goal came in the 42nd minute: Đurđević and Šatara were wresting on the right side, finally Đurđević won and crossed the ball to the middle. Leonardo grabbed it, adjusted it just a little bit, then shot from 7 metres and scored. 0:1

Compatriots

At the very end of the first half Mladost could once steal the ball from us. Radivojević had an attempt, he shot, it was too wide.
Just when the second half began, in the 46th minute Janković got the ball and ran up right there. He shot from 18 metres, the goalkeeper caught it. Then there was a little pressure from Mladost

if it can be called "pressure"... They got a few corner-kicks in a row as well as a free kick, but none of them meant any danger for the box

but at least time passed. The pace was the same sleepy as in the first half. All that happened was that in the 52nd minute a smoke bomb was dropped inside the pitch covering it with white smoke. The game was halted. Then in the 61st minute Tawamba got the ball from Leonardo on the left, and forwarded it to Đurđević. Đurđević shot, he was blocked. We possessed the ball, while Mladost played bunker football, taking no risks. We could break their defense despite their efforts in the 75th minute. Leonardo shot, the goalkeeper saved, the ball dropped to Đurđević, he also shot and this time he scored. 0:2

Smooth celebration

At the end of the game we had a bit of pressure. Leonardo tried with a shot from 17-18 metres in the 77th minute, it was too wide. Three minutes later the ball dropped to Đurđević after a corner kick. He shot, but missed it out. In the 86th minute Đuričković got the chance after the goalkeeper punched the ball out from a corner kick. He shot, it was too high.


Highlights:


Facts:

Venue: Stadium Mladost, Lučani
Number of spectators: 2000
Official: Danilo Grujić (assistants: Milan Minić, Ivica Stojanović - 4th official: Aleksandar Živković)

Mladost: Krznarić, I. Milošević (Odita, 64.), B. Milošević, Šatara, Pešić, Pejović, Radivojević (Golubović, 79.), Milosavljević, Andrić, Bojović, Pavlović (Gavrić, 71.)
Head coach: Nenad Milovanović

FK Partizan: Kljajić, Vulićević, Ostojić, Milenković, Miletić, Jevtović, Everton, Janković (Kosović, 87.), Leonardo, Đurđević (Jovanović, 88.), Tawamba (Đuričković, 78.)
Head coach: Marko Nikolić

Goal scorers: Leonardo (42.), Đurđević (75.)
Yellow card: Pejović (16.), Pavlović (27.), Đurđević (62.), Gavrić (90.)

League table will be brought tomorrow.

(photos: partizan.rs)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

153th eternal derby: Crvena Zvezda - FK Partizan 1:1 (superliga, round 24)

If I wanted to put it up into one short sentence, then I'd say, those in power almost managed to crack us up, but finally they failed.

I could have said it in a much rougher and more vulgar way, but it would have been pointless. On the other hand it took this very long for me to calm down after the game. But first things first.

Teams are walking out to the pitch, while Zvezda-fans were waving with these shiny red wrapping papers

The derby brought a massive wrestling game for more than 90 minutes. It contained football only in tracks, while it was full of fights, provocations, disputes and spitting at each other. Only 13 seconds passed when Kanga picked a fight with Everton

I can’t help, this guy makes me think of Kanga and Roo every goddamn time

in the meantime someone please tell me, what the heck was this awful weeper song at the beginning of the game? It made my ears bleed AND it was shut down way after the game started.
When it was finally turned off (or I don’t know, someone killed the person at the public-address system) it felt so good to hear Grave Diggers overchanting Zvezda-fans.
So, there was some football there. In the 4th minute Leonardo ran up on the left side, but he was blocked (this was the first real action on the game), two minutes later Vulićević crossed, the ball dropped to the diagonal side, Miletić crossed it back, it ended as a corner-kick. Meanwhile a Partizan-player was knocked to the ground in the goalmouth, the refere didn’t whistle it off. Oh well. Corner kick again. Leonardo got the ball, shot, and barely missed. Zvezda’s goalkeeper saved in the last moment. Meanwhile the southern tribune was on fire, a small pause was needed, maybe referee Majo Vujović’s eyes got hurt by the smoke.


There was a great tension on the pitch. In the 10th minute Đurđević put himself into action, but he was blocked in the goalmouth. Zvezda’s first attempt came in the 13th minute, well, that kind of attempt that brought out a raised eyebrow from the average viewer. Boakye shot, but Partizan-defenders blocked him.
Then again came some fight, it seemed, Everton and Kanga really hate each other. Petković joined them, nobody knows why, because nobody asked him to do so.

Marko Nikolić tries to hold back the two enraged Brazilians to tear Petković into small pieces

Tension just grew, action was less and less available. In the 17th minute Ruiz got the ball after a corner-kick, the Costa Rican shot - and almost tore the advertising board behind the box.
At this point Zvezda was more active - or rather they possessed the ball more than us, but in fact their defenders kept on passing it around among each other behind the half-line. Plavšić wanted to squeeze out a penalty in the 19th minute, he fell on the ground inside Partizan’s penalty area, but instead of penalty he got a yellow card for acting.
Partizan earned a few corner kicks, but the box was still out of sight. Both teams grew more and more tensed and nervous, they kicked each other instead of the ball. This latter one (the ball) was still possessed by Zvezda more, though they still kept on passing around with seemingly no useful idea. Or they lost it. On this derby there was a huge load of lost, dropped-out, rolled-away ball, pass or cross.

Leonardo was smarter, he never lost the ball

Then came the 34th minute and a very bizarre situation.
Zvezda attacked. Anđelković passed to Ruiz on the left. Ruiz ran up, but the ball rolled out through the baseline.
The referee didn’t whistle.
Every Partizan-player was waving with hands up for the referee that the ball was out. But neither referee Majo Vujović, nor additional assistant Srđan Obradović found it to be a goal-kick for Partizan.
You get what I mean. The ball rolls out through the baseline. At least five Partizan-players are waving that it was out, but the referee doesn’t see it. Nor does the assistant. None of them.
Ruiz passed to Kanga, the Gabonian shot and scored. 1:0

This screenshot has been circulating around the internet since then
(source: mozzartsport.com)

What can be said on this?
Nothing. Nothing should be said, because everyone knows it already.
Nevertheless the goal kicked Partizan hard on the stomach. Tense just grew even bigger.

The moment when you realize, the referee really validated an invalid goal for Zvezda
(photo: hotsport.rs)

...and when you realize, the assistant also needs a brain implant

In the 40th minute Plavšić had a try after a Zvezda corner kick, but the defenders blocked. Another corner kick. Again Plavšić got the ball, now he shot, it was too high.
Constant fights and tension, we were already in the extra time. Jevtović was so brutally kicked to the ground in the 47th minute, that I could hear him screaming through the stream. Free kick for us, about 20 metres from the box. Leonardo sent a cannon shot, but the goalkeeper jumped and saved.

Marko Nikolić some time during the game

When Zvezda and the referees walked out to the pitch for the second half, the stadium echoed the chanting "Lopovi, lopovi" (thieves, thieves).
We pushed hard at the beginning of the second half. We immediately got a free kick. Leonardo crossed it to the goalmouth, Đurđević shot, the goalkeeper caught it. Three minutes later Ostojić headed the ball to the box after a corner kick, it was too high. A minute later another corner kick, now Miletić’s shot was too high. In the 52nd minute Leonardo shot from at least 35 metres, it was again too high. Zvezda had their first attempt of the second half in the 61st minute, Ruiz shot, too wide.
Then nothing really happened out of great tension and nervousness.
We got a free kick in the 69th minute. Janković crossed it to the middle, there Leonardo got it, he shot, too wide. In the 71st minute Kljajić blocked a counter-attack by Zvezda (out of this he had nothing to do in the whole second half). The game got rougher and rougher, it reminded more of a survivor game than a football match.

Average fan was sweating hard, with hands trembling. Seriously, no eternal derby had ever killed me like this one. For the end of the game I was like a zombie, both physically and emotionally.

Zvezda was no-nonsense. Whenever they got to a Partizan-player, they kicked him to the ground. The ball was just there, nobody cared for it. There was no attempt or action, only fight.

Kosović gets a slap in the face

Time passed. Average Fan started to lose hope. I started to plan my epitaph.
Then came the 88th minute.
Vulićević appeared out of the blue and ran up with the ball on the right. He made a fantastic cross to the middle, and there Đurđević - while fighting with two defenders - headed it right into the box.

GOLAZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!
1:1!!!!!!!

The moment when Đurđević heads the ball into the box

...and when he celebrates

It was fuel to the fire. The brutal tension that was ready to blow up in any moment there in the Zvezda-stadium was unbelievable. Zvezda-players lost control, Average Fan was praying hard for Partizan-players to hang in there.
They did.
After about 3 minutes of extra time Majo Vujović gave the final whistle to the eternal derby. We could celebrate. This draw was more like a victory. Not just against Zvezda.
We celebrated. We had every reason for it.


I also want a T-shirt like this on Janković


"Svi kao jedan"

Highlights:


Facts:

Venue: Mordor Stadium Rajko Mitić, Belgrade
Number of spectators: 41 132
Official: Majo Vujović (assistants: Svetozar Živin, Milan Šutulović - 4th official: Srđan Milutinović - additional assistants: Srđan Obradović, Lazar Lukić)

Crvena Zvezda: Manojlović, Petković, Luković, Frimpong, Anđelković, Le Tallec, Donald, Ruiz (Milić, 75.), Kanga (Milijaš, 79.), Plavšić, Boakye (Sikimić, 83.)
Head coach: Miodrag Božović

FK Partizan: Kljajić, Vulićević, Milenković, Ostojić, Miletić, Jevtović (Janković, 64.), Everton, Kosović (Tawamba, 84.), Leonardo, A. Stevanović (Mihajlović, 74.), Đurđević
Head coach: Marko Nikolić

Goal scorers: Kanga (34.), Đurđević (88.)
Yellow card: Plavšić (19.), Everton (33.), Anđelković (48.), Đurđević (63.), Luković (78.), Milić (88.)

Current championship standings:
1. CZ 61 points
2. Partizan 55 points
3. Vojvodina 54 points
4. Mladost 38 points
5. Napredak 36 points
6. Radnički Niš 36 points
7. Spartak 33 points
8. FK Javor 33 points
9. FK Voždovac 31 points
10. Čukarički 29 points
11. Metalac 26 points
12. Rad 25 points
13. OFK Bačka 21 points
14. Radnik 21 points
15. Borac 18 points
16. Novi Pazar 16 points

(unmarked photos: partizan.rs)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mega Leks - KK Partizan 80:87 (ABA Liga, round 24)

The team is still like a landscape after battle. 6 (six) players as well as head coach Aleksandar Džikić are still in pieces. The management had a press release today explaining that the players/coach staff are suffering from salmonella infection, many of them had to get hospital treatment and God knows when they’ll be strong and healthy again.
Nevertheless the beginning of the game against Mega Leks wasn’t that bad. We were leading to 2:5, Mega equalized (5:5), the overly strict referees whistled a lot of fouls for both teams. (Less than a minute passed, but Jaramaz already had two fouls...) Mega took the lead for a while (7:5), but it meant no headache for us to jump to 7:12.


We kept our advantage. It wasn’t too big (15:20), but we kept it. For the end of the quarter Mega approached us, even equalized (24:24), but Birčević took back the lead with a buzzer-beater (24:26).

Stefan Pot during the game

We marched through the second quarter and we played quite well. There was only one hiccup, when Mega took the lead again (34:33), but we took it back quickly (34:36) with a great Pot-Majstorović teamwork. There was one thing though that was problematic, Mega made a lot of turnovers/steals. They followed the "player vs. player"-tactics, every Partizan-player got his "escort" in pink jersey. It actually worked for the home team, though for our great luck they missed out most of their attempts. We were leading, we could make it to 39:45, the first half ended with 43:47.

Andrić made an extraordinary job

The third quarter brought some struggling. We were leading, but at this point we did miss those players who were on sick leave. Mega missed out their chances over and over again, while we kept our advantage. We didn’t make it beautiful or spectacular, but all our players put their hearts out to the court. This was what mattered. Nothing else. The quarter ended with 62:68, with Mega scoring a buzzer-beater.

Vrabac also had an excellent performance

We had an amazing start in the last quarter. We almost made our advantage to 10 points (64:73), which changed to 68:75. This again changed to 75:75 while Mega still couldn’t score one single 3-pointer. They took the lead though (77:75), but it didn’t last long again, because Pot equalized, then Birčević took it back for us (77:79). Rebić from Mega was fouled out, we were leading (77:82), the home team seemed to be more and more tensed, so they missed out even more attempts. We reached the 10-point-difference for the end of the game (77:87), and less than a minute was left when Mega finally scored a 3-pointer. Just in time. (80:87)


Mega Leks: Rebić (2), Jaramaz (8), Spasojević (5), Glogovac, Kaba (18), Zagorac (16), Simeunović, Tejić (2), Novak (14), Kapetanović, Marelja (15), Samardžiski

KK Partizan: Robinson (3), Vrabac (12), Tanasković, Veličković, Majstorović (8), Birčević (20), Andrić (20), Pot (15), Gordon, Luković (9)

Highlights:


Current championship standings:
1. CZ 47 points
2. Cedevita 42 points
3. Partizan 42 points
4. Budućnost 41 points
5. Igokea 36 points
6. Cibona 34 points
7. FMP 34 points
8. Union Olimpija 34 points
9. Mega Leks 33 points
10. Karpoš 33 points
11. Mornar Bar 32 points
12. MZT Skopje 32 points
13. Krka 31 points
14. Zadar 30 points

(photos: aba-liga.com)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

FK Partizan - Borac 2:1 (superliga, round 23)

Dear everyone,
no beautifying, no cosmetics, no retouch, just the raw honesty: This. Was. One. Fucking. Goddamn. Great. Game.
It was exciting, it had a great pace and most of all, we played very well.
Fans hung this banner before the game supporting Everton after that racist incident. Svi smo mi, Evi - we are all Evi (Everton).


In the first half we controlled the game. Borac got stuck in their half playing bunker football. They crossed the half-line first time around the 13th minute. (But even that didn’t last long.) The first 20 minutes didn’t bring any considerable attempt, "only" very heavy Partizan-domination. Borac sometimes tried with a counter-attack, with no success. Practically all their players tried to make traffic around their penalty area for Partizan-players.
Not as if that would have helped.
In the 26th minute Vulićević crossed from the right. Kosović, who celebrated his 22nd birthday yesterday, arrived at the best time, shot and scored. GOAAALLLL! 1:0

(photo: mozzartsport.com)

Borac tried over and over again with counter-attacks, but they all died off, they didn’t even reach our penalty area. Meanwhile in the 32nd minute Janković had a great solo running up. He shot, the goalkeeper saved.
In the 34th minute we got a penalty kick. Someone among Borac’s players (probably Ignjatijević) pushed Janković down to the ground. The referee immediately whistled it off and pointed at the white spot. Leonardo stood behind the ball...


...and made it perfect. 2:0


Janković again tried with a shot in the 33rd minute, but again the goalkeeper saved it. A minute later after a huge fault of Borac’s defense line Leonardo grabbed the ball, but finally defenders could tackle him.
Borac’s first attempt to mention was in the 41st minute.  After a corner kick (this was Borac’s first corner kick...) Tiago shot, Kljajić saved, then right there Stefan Mihajlović had another shot, Kljajić saved this one as well.

Tawamba was active, if only he could score

In the second half Borac opened and attacked more, played braver, the game become much more open - another thing is that Partizan still controlled the game. There was a penalty-suspicious case in the 54th minute, again Janković was pushed to the ground, but the referee didn’t whistle it off.
In the 60th minute Leonardo dribbled through the penalty area, he shot, the defenders blocked, it ended with a corner-kick. Three minutes later Tawamba got a pass from Leonardo, he made a cannon shot, pity it was too high.
Borac got a penalty kick in the 65th minute. Janković kicked Tiago to the ground inside the penalty area. Stefan Mihajlović stood behind the ball, he scored, 2:1.


Two minutes later Tiago thought to push the limits. He shot, but it was too wide.
We got a free kick in the 73rd minute, about 17-18 metres from the box. Leonardo shot, the goalkeeper had a big save. Nemanja Mihajlović had a great solo in the 77th minute on the left side. He dribbled to the penalty area and passed to Janković, he shot, too high. A minute later again Neca ran up on the left, this time he himself shot, the goalkeeper saved.


Borac had only one attempt, Punoševac had a shot in the 84th minute, it was too high.

Svi kao jedan - All for one

There was a small celebration in the locker room. The team greeted Nebojša Kosović for his birthday -  Kosović scored himself a birthday gift goal, but after the match he got a cake from the Captain.



Facts:

Venue: Partizan Stadion, Belgrade
Number of spectators: 2500
Official: Ilija Brdar (assistants: Svetozar Živin, Jovica Milin - 4th official: Róbert Kis-Csepegi)

FK Partizan: Kljajić, Vulićević, Milenković, Ostojić, Miletić, Kosović, Jevtović, Janković (S. Ilić, 89.), N. Mihajlović (Đuričkovć, 85.), Leonardo, Tawamba (Jovanović, 90.)
Head coach: Marko Nikolić

Borac: Mišić, Ignjatijević, Marković, Drašković, Kostić (Zoćević, 67.), Marčić (Delić, 46.), Marinković, Tiago, S. Mihajlović, Jovanović (Punoševac, 76.), Živanović
Head coach: Mladen Dodić

Goal scorers: Kosović (26.), Leonardo (34. - pen.), S. Mihajlović (65. - pen.)
Yellow card: Marković (55.), Punoševac (90+2.)

Highlights:


League table will be brought tomorrow.

(unmarked photos: partizan.rs)