Tuesday, 31 March 2015

A v Italy (Turin) 31.3.2015

After the relatively straight forward 4-0 win over Lithuania in the Euro 2016 qualifier it was on to Turin for a tough friendly v Italy. As we will be heading to a mates wedding in the Ukraine at the end of the month we opted for the Sport Options day trip from Gatwick. Annoyingly due to restrictive landing slots back after the game the trip was moved to Luton. So on the Monday evening we headed up to a nearby hotel ready for the 6am check in early Tuesday morning.

Rooney tweets a picture of the travelling support - we are slap bang in the middle of it :-)

We left Luton just after 7.30am and the flight was around 1 1/2 hours, add on the time difference and we landed soon after10.30am.  There were stunning views of Alps as we approached Turin.

The Alps
Enter Air - nope me neither!
We flew with an airline called Enter Air, turned out they were a charter company based in Poland - no complaints from me as got us there and back on time and a very friendly crew.

The airport was on the outskirts of the city, surrounded by the stunning snow capped Alps.

So we were soon onto the waiting coaches to take us from Torino airport into the city.  We drove past the ground after about 15 minutes and another 30 minutes later we were dropped on the outskirts of the main squares/streets on the banks of the river Po.

The coaches took us on a picturesque tour into the city and it was great to see a blue sky and we were ready to find some food and drink!  We headed to a very nice square and were soon tucking into some fresh pasta.

Fresh Pasta at lunch, rather large pizzas later in the day, well what else could we eat whilst we were Italy. 

So after the mammoth pizza eating it was time to consider heading to the ground.  Free shuttle buses had been laid on by the Italian authorities.  It was a bit chaotic but we squeezed onto one of the buses and arrived at the ground about 8.15.  It took ages to get in as had to show ID to match names on tickets, then a security search, then the turnstyles, so it was time for the National Anthems pretty shortly after.

Handily the buses dropped us right outside the away end.  The ground looked really really small from the outside!

I remember going into the Stadio D'Alpi back in 1990, at that time we said the ground looked small, but when you enter the stadium is mainly below the entrance level.  The new ground on the same site looks a little similar from the outside but is much smaller and compact (only holds 41k).  The rake of the stands was very VERY steep so that all seats are as close as possible to the pitch.

Some of the 2,099 official travelling fans

So the game finished 1-1, probably a fair result.  Townsend equalised with a superb 25 yard strike.  

We were held in the ground for about 45 minutes, but shortly after we were back on the coaches and then at the airport.  A very quick pass through security and we took off some time after midnight. It was a longer flight home as had headwinds on 220km!  

Overall a very short trip, but great fun.  Roll on Dublin in June.

Mark R

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