Four Days in March, Part 1: The Kazakhstan Super Cup

I was back in Kazakhstan late winter, and managed to watch four football matches while there. The first one was the kick-off for the season, the Super Cup. Facing off were the previous season’s champions FC Astana and the Cup holders Kairat Almaty. Astana are the upstarts, a new club started a few years back to bring prestige to the young capital city. Kairat are the old guard, trying to build back after a few lean years.

There was a big crowd lining up for tickets, costing 500 Tenge a pop (about 3 bucks)…

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The game itself wasn’t much to write home about, with both teams looking rusty after a long winter off. The near capacity crowd was pretty into it, however, and they were mostly in support of the home side. Here’s a FC Astana free kick:

The big man, the Elbasy himself, showed up at half time, drawing a prolonged cheer. The game trudged on, and it wasn’t a surprise when the match ended scoreless after extra time and on to a shootout. After the first two rounds and two great saves from keeper Nenad Eric, Astana led 1-0. Kairat needed to respond:

Astana responded, then they both missed the next round of shots, leading to Astana’s fourth attempt. Success would lead to a 3-1 advantage:

Which meant Kairat could even it up if they made their next kick:

Up 2-1 after Kairat missed theirs, here was the potential winner from FC Astana’s star striker Foxi:

Now here’s the real winner by the home side!

Afterwards I hopped on the magical Number 10 bus, straight to the train station to head down south. I caught three games there. Pics and videos to follow in Part 2.

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