Genoa – Sampdoria (2:3)
Stadium: Luigi Ferraris
Tuesday 5th January 2016
The Lantern Derby had been on the list for a while and i had wanted to see this one since reading abut the atmosphere on an old EFW post a few years back. Getting there meant 2 flights….Edinburgh to London Stanstead then onto to Genoa by Easyjet. The downside with this was i had 4 hours to spare at Stanstead so what better to do than a trip to local side Bishops Stortford which is just a 10 minute bus journey away, a trip which can easily be done between flights.
Booking accommodation and flights well in advance always carries a risk especially when TV is involved. I was then alarmed, just before Christmas, when finding out the match had indeed been moved from Wednesday 6th January to Tuesday 5th January. I rapidly checked my flight times and despite being relieved i would still make the kick off, i knew it was going to be tight. This change, in a perverse sort of way, actually worked to my advantage as it meant i could squeeze in another match on the Wednesday night too. Finding out AC Milan were at home against Bologna was perfect for a short train journey between the two cities.
I had arranged to meet a few fellow hoppers beforehand so when my flight landed in Genoa i had to move quickly as it was only 3 hours until kick off. Don’t panic i will make it i kept saying…luckily the city of Genoa is not too big and despite a bit of a battle getting through the 5pm traffic i arrived at my hotel, threw my bag in and was whisked off by the waiting taxi to meet RAFAL (a Polish footballer), MARCO (FC Basel supporter) and RADISH (we all know about him!).
Despite the rush i still managed to neck four pints and with a skip and a hop we were making our way to the stadium on foot. Genoa is an old city and built on a large hill, the streets are a mix of cobbles and concrete with ups and downs. It took about 20 minutes to reach one of the most welcoming sights if you are a groundhopper…beaming floodlights in the night sky.
I am never a fan of the “print at home” ticket but his time i was content that i did not have to queue as the surrounding streets were full of people and scooters honking their horns. Rafal and I were in the same section so we both made our way around to the stand called DISTINTI and eventually found our entrance. While we waited impatiently outside in the queue to enter we could hear inside the loud singing only broken by the occasional stun bomb going off. We finally made our way in and i was delighted to find alcohol was on sale. It was a cold evening but i did not fancy coffee!
I found a spot to stand as i did not fancy trying to find my seat. I was in the corner next to what seemed to be only Sampdoria fans but just as i realised it actually was a mix of supporters, the Genoa fans behind the opposite end, lit a large amount of flares and began throwing them onto the playing surface. The resultant smoke blow towards the end i was at and in no time at all covered 70% of the pitch. The game was halted after 2 minutes to wait for the smoke to disperse. When it did and the game restarted i was treated to a wonderful match which swung end to end.
The goals started to fly in and the pace was only broken by the half time whistle. Sampdoria well on top and 2:0 up. Both sets of supporters played their part in creating a hot atmosphere which spurred both teams on. More excitement was to come and with the second half only 4 minutes old Sampdoria scored again, 3:0 and it looked at that time that the floodgates would open. In a twist, the pendulum began to swing the opposite way and when Genoa scored it looked as though they were in the mood for more. Indeed 10 minutes from the end the score stood at 2:3. It was all backs to the wall stuff for Sampdoria who despite being up 3:0 now found themselves holding on. Time eventually ran out but not after Genoa had hit the bar in the final minute. Thrilling stuff for all 30,216 inside the stadium.
I had partaken in a few more alcoholic beverages during the match than maybe i had intended and had a arranged to meet Marco, Radish & Rafal outside after the final whistle. We made our way back down to the centre of the city and found ourselves in a karaoke bar. Alcohol fuelled i ended up giving my rendition of the Genoa Megamix to all those present. So with my body slightly weary and another full on day to Milan in the morning, i thought it best to retire around midnight and so made it back to my hotel for some much needed R&R.