Tag Archives: Astana Arena

Alga Shaky Kangaroos!

1 Oct

Kazakhstan’s Shakhter Karagandy, better known to some UK supporters as the Shaky Kangaroos, is set to make its home debut in the Europa League this Thursday with the visit of Israel’s Maccabi Haifa to the Astana Arena, where Shakhter are playing its home legs. It is the first time a team from Kazakhstan has reached the group stages of Europe’s second tier contest.

Kazaxia is predicting a close run thing with both clubs losing their openers in Group L, with Shakhter losing 2-1 to Greece’s PAOK and Maccabi going down 1-0 at home to Holland’s AZ Alkmaar.

According to Lord Venal, the result will hinge on whether or not Shakhter will be allowed to sacrifice a sheep before the match. It was prevented from doing this before its second leg tie with Scotland’s Glasgow Celtic and subsequently lost 3-0 and failed to qualify for the Champions League.

The match has sparked a lot of interest in Kazakhstan with some fans even prepared to travel overnight by bus from the business hub of Almaty to the capital Astana.

For 20,000 tenge ($130) the bus will take the fans from Almaty’s Central Stadium to the Astana Arena with guaranteed match tickets, before making the 12-hour or so journey back down south. Kazaxia hopes that the trip will be worth it for these die hard fans.

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Kazakhstan: Beware of Flying the Flag

12 Oct

Kazakhstan will be hoping this evening to get their attempt to qualify for the Rio 2012 World Cup back on track as they entertain Austria in the Astana Arena. Having lost the opening two matches, Kazakhstan will be desperate to get some points on the board. Last October, when the Austrians were last in town, the Kazakhs pulled off a surprise 0-0 draw.

One thing Austrian supporters should be careful of is displaying their national flag as it is an offence in Kazakhstan to display the flags of other nations in public.

Kazakh fans should also be wary after a 23-year-old Atyrau resident was fined in excess of $2,000 for displaying the Kazakh flag on the bonnet of his car, as reported on Bnews.kz.

Under Kazakh law, the flag can only be placed in official places. The display on the car’s bonnet was felt to diminish the importance of the flag.

I just hope the authorities don’t discover the Kazakh flag bathtowel I was given as a birthday present a few years back. I’m sure my bathroom cannot be considered by any stretch of the imagination to be an official place!

Kazakhstan: The Road to Rio

7 Sep

Astana is facing an invasion from the Green Army as Kazakhstan begins its attempt to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Rio this evening with the visit of Ireland to the Astana Arena.  With Ireland fresh from a disappointing performance in Euro 2012, Kazakhstan, on home turf, will be looking to start with a positive result.

The chances of Kazakhstan getting as far as Rio are extremely slim – it’s also up against Germany, Sweden, Austria and the Faroe Islands in group C. Its best hope is to finish above the Faroe Islands and maybe snatch a surprise or two against Ireland or Austria.

Bookies are offering 4/1 on a Kazakhstan victory or 5/2 on the draw for tonight’s match if you think tonight could be the night for a surprise.

Reuters has this comprehensive piece on football development in Kazakhstan if you want to find out more about what’s going on in the soccer world in Kazakhstan.

 

Kazakhstan holds Austria

12 Oct

Kazakhstan pressure Austria with a rare corner at the Astana Arena

Kazakhstan ended its Euro 2012 qualification campaign on a relative high-note as it held Austria to a 0-0 draw in Astana on 11 October. Coming on the back of a 4-1 thrashing in Belgium, Kazakhstan did well to keep a clean sheet against the Austrians who were fresh from beating Azerbaijan 4-1 in Baku.

New boss Miroslav Beranek can take heart from the team’s performance as it nearly snatched victory over a lacklustre Austria. The Kazakhs came closest to scoring with a header from Sergei Ostapenko that hit the crossbar in the 74th minute.

Kazakhstan still finished 3 points adrift of Azerbaijan at the bottom of group A. Attention now turns to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, although Kazakhstan face an uphill task as it is paired once again with Germany and Austria. With Sweden and Ireland also in the group, Kazakhstan’s best hope may be to overhaul the Faroe Islands and avoid the wooden spoon.

Kazakhstan Victory Sparks Fury in Baku

6 Jun

Astana Arena ... the new home of Kazakh football

Football fans in Kazakhstan are in a state of shock after the national team managed to beat Azerbaijan 2-1 in Astana last Friday. The victory gave Kazakhstan its first points in attempting to qualify for Euro 2012. In its five previous outings, the Kazakhs had failed to even score a goal.

Across the Caspian Sea in Baku, the reaction was one of anger at Azerbaijan manager Berti Vogts, who had toilet paper thrown at him at a press conference on his return from Kazakhstan. He was also presented with a ceremonial pitcher used for ritual ablutions.

There were other reports that Vogts had an ’emotional conversation’ with head of Azeri football Rovnag Abdullayev on his return to Baku. This result was a blow to the pride of the Azeris who now find themselves in a desperate struggle with the Kazakhs for the wooden spoon.

On the night in Astana, Kazakhstan’s hero was Sergei Gridin,  who was making his international debut He marked the occasion in great style with two second-half goals. The 24-year-old is a midfielder with FC Tobol Kostanay, who won the Kazakhstan league in 2010.

Vogts’s charges now have to play Germany on 7 June on home soil. When the teams met in Cologne in September 2010, the Azeris suffered a 6-1 defeat, so things do not look too bright for Vogts’s future on the shores of the Caspian Sea.