I attended my first football game in Donetsk on Sunday. I went to the arena on Saturday to buy tickets and had to stand in line almost an hour. I signed up for their FAN club so that when they play Champions League games, I will get priority opportunity to purchase tickets.
They played Zorya Lugansk, a team I watched numerous times when I lived in Lugansk. The team was so bad in the 90’s that not many people went to the games. Also, they weren’t in the premier league so there wasn’t much opportunity to watch them play the BIG boys.
Zorya played a great game and almost tied Shakhtar, last season’s league champions. They held them even until the 87 minute.
Shakhtar is owned by the richest man in Ukraine and he paid out of his own pocket, every penny that went into the arena. It is BY FAR the nicest and best stadium in Ukraine and probably all of the former SU. Shakhtar also has several foreign players, most of whom are from Brazil, I think. I have heard that several of the Brazilian players are Christians.
By the way, on my trip home from Nikopol last week, I passed by Shakhtar’s training camp on the edge of the city and it really is a nice place as well. Heavily guarded, I might add!
Ukraine is scheduled to play Netherlands in a friendly match in August at the stadium. As soon as tickets go on sale, I plan to try and get tickets for that game as well. Seeing that the Netherlands were runners-up in the recent World Cup, I am sure tickets will go fast!
Also, you can see lots of photos from the game on my Flickr link on the home page…