|Spartak Moscow 1-2 CSKA Moscow. Luzhniki Stadium.|
For those not familiar with the locals vodka drinking technique and it's results, it goes something like this. You are given a bottle of vodka, quite large, which you drink out of shot glasses straight consuming one every two minutes. You can have an accompanying drink with it, such as a coke or lemonade, but to mix the two is heresy along the lines of punching Vladimir Putin in the groin. By the end of the evening, the aim is to have consumed one of these bottles all to yourself. If you aren't used to this it can lead to extreme intoxication which the Russian folk appear to be rather adept at in attempting to convince you you haven't paid for any of your drinks or food.
|Drinking the Russian way|
|The bottle of vodka we consumed one each|
of and the accompanying drink - some bizarre
At which point you can then complicate things further by getting in a random car mistaking it for a taxi, handing the address of your hotel to the man in the drivers seat and making him take you there. He may stop several times and ask you to get out, but you'll have none of it, insisting he takes you. Being one of the countries hospitable folk, he will do and then look thoroughly confused when you give him a wad of cash for his troubles.
|Smog from the forest fires made the city cloudy and even hotter|
|Moscow Metro - a bit grander than the London Underground|
|Lenin overlooks the outside of the Luzhniki|
|CSKA Moscow fans|
|Spartak Moscow fans|
|The teams enter the Luzhniki|
|Just a few pyrotechnics from the Spartak fans|
The atmosphere was unlike anything I have ever experienced with the noise simply incredible. When Spartak took the lead through an own goal from Vasiliy Berezutski in the second half it felt like the ceiling was going to be lifted off the place and that was despite the fact there were just shy of 30,000 empty seats. If it had have been full to capacity, then the roof probably would have been a goner.
|Paul the Octopus?|
|Entrance to the Kremlin|
|The wonderful Saint Basil's Cathedral|
|Having a lie down in Red Square|
Any country that classifies beer as a food source and so can sell it for 90p a pint in food courts in its large underground shopping centres at any time of day is fine by me. It worked out far cheaper to drink in their versions of Bluewater than it did in actual bars where the beer became overpriced for what it was. Particularly chocolate beer. But despite that, the fact we nearly got conned, arrested and blown up, Moscow was a fantastic place to visit. Just don't mention vodka to me ever again.
|That is some impressive water pressure|
|Look away Chelsea fans - the spot where your Champions|
League dreams ended in 2008
CSKA Moscow: Igor Akinfeev, Aleksey Berezutski, Vasili Berezutski, Sergey Ignashevich 1, Georgi Schennikov, Keisuke Honda, Pavel Mamaev, Deividas Semberas, Zoran Tosic (Sekou Oliseh), Vagner Love 1 (Elvir Rahimic), Seydou Doumbia.