Ialoveni v Anina

3pm  22 October 2016

Moldova, Divizia B Seria Sud
Ialoveni 1 Anina 0 (att 38)

Most weekends Moldovan top division games are spread over a Saturday and a Sunday, but I managed to pick a weekend when all the games where on the Friday. Saturday's fixture list was limited to the third level, Divizia B, which is divided in north and south divisions.

Surprisingly there didn't seem to be any Chisinau-based teams at home, so I took a hair-raising taxi ride to the village Milestii Mici, better known for wine-making than for Moldovan third division football.

Ialoveni is actually a larger town a few miles away. If Wikipedia is to be believed, a team called Viisoara Milestii Mici changed its name to Ialoveni in 2013. If they were hoping to widen their support base they still have work to do, as I counted just 38 people watching this match, despite the lack of any admission charge.

It'd be a challenge to take a gate though, as the ground was little more than a pitch by the side of the main road into the village. Grass banking on the road side gives a decent view, but there's no facilities for spectators.

There is the shell of an unfinished building that I think was intended to provide pitchside changing rooms, but I gather the money ran out and so work on it stopped. Instead players and officials change in the village and walk down to the pitch.

A few flag poles, an unused scoreboard bearing the club's former name, an old wagon that serves as storage container, and some roofless and uncomfortable-looking dugouts complete the ground.

On the pitch the standard wasn't great, probably comparable with third tier football in Wales, but it was an entertaining game and I quite enjoyed it. There wasn't much between the sides, but Ialoveni deserved the win thanks to a solitary first half goal.

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