The above video was taken earlier this week before the start of the Partizan versus Genk (Belgium) soccer game. We live in Dedinje and strangely, the two big soccer clubs in Belgrade, Partizan and Red Star, both have their stadiums in the neighborhood, very close to one another. We can hear the singing and chanting of the fans. Last week there were two European Club Championship games. The first was Partizan in a qualifying match for the Champions League. They outplayed the visiting Genk team, but because a defender barely touched the ball with his forearm in the penalty box, Genk got a penalty to tie the game and they won on aggregate goals. The touch didn’t affect play, but the result of the penalty was Partizan was knocked out of the Champions League. That is what I dislike about soccer. Despite being the better team, because of a bad luck, Partizan lost on a penalty that was so slight, but the penalty for it was a goal for the other team.
In the second match of the week. my club Red Star defeated Ventspils of Latvia, 7-1. Red Star moved on to the next round of the Europa League, which is the level just below the Champions League. Both games were completely sold out here in Belgrade. This would not have happened in either Belgium or Latvia and it shows the passion and dedication of the Belgrade fans for sports.
I am still annoyed that the Serbian League doesn’t get its act together and form a regional league like they do for basketball. The current league has the two big clubs, Partizan and Red Star, and one other team from Novi Sad that have a chance to win the league. With Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia, and Bosnia having two teams each, it would be so much more competitive.
Red Star now plays Rennais from the French League in the next round. They have to fight through several rounds even to get to the start of the competition, so I don’t have my hopes up. We’ll see how they do against the French side. They looked great against the Latvian side and i am hoping with the Russian gas company (Gazprom) sponsoring the team and new coach, that Red Star can finally overtake Partizan in the league and continue through the Europa Cup.