Champions League

Kazakhstan ready to host first CL game

2015-09-29 12:42
Champions League logo (File)

Almaty - Football fans in Kazakhstan's capital Astana are eagerly gearing up to welcome Turkish team Galatasaray for the first ever Champions League group match in the Central Asian nation on Wednesday.

FC Astana already made history when they visited Portuguese giants Benfica to play their first ever group stage encounter in Europe's most prestigious and lucrative competition two weeks ago, losing 2-0.

"It's absolutely fantastic, to watch your team play in the Champions League," 23-year-old supporter Yermek Serkebayev told AFP ahead of Wednesday's game.

"Galatasaray fans welcome the visiting teams with their famous slogan: 'Welcome to hell'.

"But they've never been here at Astana before. We're set to show them what the real support of your beloved team can be."

FC Astana shot to prominence after they were established in the winter of 2008-09 from a merger of two clubs from Kazakhstan's former capital Almaty, FC Alma Ata and FC Megasport.

The ambitious project saw immediate success despite shifting some 1,200 kilometres from their initial home, and they finished second in Kazakhstan's top flight in their maiden season.

However, the club were not allowed to play in European competition for licensing reasons until the 2013-14 season, when they made their debut in the Europa League.

The appointment of Bulgarian manager Stanimir Stoilov in June 2014 was the turning point for the club as the 48-year-old led Astana to their first national title in the same year.

"Our manager is a many-sided man," Astana's Serbian goalkeeper Nenad Eric said about Stoilov.

"His role in our success can hardly be under-estimated."

Local star Georgy Zhukov, Colombian Roger Canas and Serb Nemanja Maksimovic form the backbone of Astana's midfield, while Foxi Kethevoama of the Central African Republic and Baurzhan Dzholchiev spearhead the attack.

Under Stoilov the Kazakh club favour an offensive style of football, especially when playing at their 33,000-seat home venue.

In their first Champions League match against two-time former champions Benfica, the rookies of Astana failed to shine in attack.

However, Stoilov pledged that his team would step up their game and promised that his men will show their best on their home turf against Turkish giants Galatasaray.

Read more on:    galatasaray  |  astana  |  champions league  |  soccer

 

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Galatasaray v Club Brugge, Turk Telekom Arena 19:55
Juventus v Atletico Madrid, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Real Madrid v Paris SG, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Bayern Munchen, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Valencia v Chelsea, Mestalla 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v Lyon, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund, Camp Nou 22:00
Slavia Prague v Inter Milan, Eden Arena 22:00
Genk v Red Bull Salzburg, Luminus Arena 22:00
RB Leipzig v Benfica, Red Bull Arena 22:00
Lille v Ajax, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 22:00
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Red Bull Salzburg v Liverpool, Red Bull Arena 19:55
Napoli v Genk, San Paolo 19:55
Ajax v Valencia, Amsterdam ArenA 22:00
Benfica v Zenit St. Petersburg, da Luz 22:00
Lyon v RB Leipzig, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Inter Milan v Barcelona, San Siro 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Slavia Prague, Signal Iduna Park 22:00
Chelsea v Lille, Stamford Bridge 22:00
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Dinamo Zagreb v Manchester City, Maksimir Stadium 19:55
Shakhtar Donetsk v Atalanta, Metalist Stadium 19:55
Bayern Munchen v Tottenham Hotspur, Allianz Arena 22:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Juventus, BayArena 22:00
Club Brugge v Real Madrid, Jan Breydel Stadion 22:00
Olympiacos v Red Star Belgrade, Karaiskakis Stadium 22:00
Paris SG v Galatasaray, Parc des Princes 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Lokomotiv Moscow, Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Saturday, 30 May 2020
TBA v TBA, Ataturk Olympic Stadium 02:00
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