In Almaty I had the chance to visit three more matches, all at the Ortalyk Stadion (Central Stadium). I have a lot of fond memories from the place (You can read accounts of national team matches against Andorra and Belarus) and it was great to be back. The stadium is much the same, with its comfortable, positive atmosphere and gorgeous mountain views. The club has, with new investment, added a proper Team Store and a great little pub where they live stream away matches. Enjoy the slideshow…
Here are some videos from the three matches. The first is from Kairat playing against FC Tobol, who hail from the northern city of Kostanai. Kairait won their home opener 4-0, including this penalty kick:
Later I got the chance to see Tobol again, this time playing against Zhetysu from Taldykorgan, whose home stadium was unavailable for their match. It ended up being my second 0-0 draw, but at least it was free. The sparse crowd allowed me to constantly change seats to avoid the leaky roof.
My unintentional round robin was completed by Kairat hosting Zhetysu just a few days later. It was blistery and wet for this one, which Kairat won 2 – 0.