Our son has been fascinated with Honda since a young age, watching various international games of Japan’s Samurai Blue team. He never thought is was possible that Honda would come and play for the local Melbourne Victory football team… Well he came to Melb, so a family membership was in order to witness Japan’s national hero in his debut season with Victory.
The first game of the season was on Saturday night, which worked well as we could allow the kids to have a mid-day nap in preparation for the 7:50pm kick off at Marvel Stadium. (previously Etihad Stadium)
We left home mid-afternoon and found a convenient parking location on flinders lane, which was also steps away from a little Japanese restaurant I used to visit weekly when I worked in the city.
We stopped at Shonan Kamakura, which is a quaint little eatery tucked away in Katherine Place. They serve homestyle Japanese food at a very reasonable price. We snacked on crisp lotus root chips, then the kids had Udon & Miso Ramen. While the adults ate Tonkotsu Ramen and Chicken Karrage Donburi.
The total bill came to $50. Approx $10 a plate which is very cheap for the quality. The ramen even passed the authenticity test from the wife.
After our quick dinner we walked towards the stadium along Spencer street, the kids taking in all the sights and sounds of the city preparing for a big game. Victory fans had a presence on every corner of the city, as well at the Police riot teams for dramatic impact.
As we neared the newly named Marvel Stadium, the excitement started to take hold. There was already a decent crowd entering the gates at 7:00pm. We would later find out the 40,500 people attended the game, meaning the stadium was at an impressive 75% capacity.
Being general admin members we were able to sit anywhere on level 3 of the stadium, so we chose a nice pocket just off the back corner of the pitch. We had a row of seats to ourselves which was nice. We almost had a hiccup prior to kickoff with 5 blokes taking position in the row behind us and starting a conversation of 17 f-bombs in a row. I turned around and pointed out the fact that I have 2 kids with curious expressions and they agreed to move away. Other than that, the crowd in our section as well behaved and had a good mixture of Victory and Melb City supporters.
Victory always put on a good show at their home games, with the starting ‘Stand By Me’ song to rally the players, along with ongoing chants from the Victory fanatics positioned behind the goals.
We didn’t have to wait long to see Honda in action, with the superstar scoring the first goal of the night with an impressive charge into the goals. Unfortunately Victory was unable to hold the game, with a controversial VAR decision allowing Melb City a penalty shot which evened the scores, and later another goal to seal their win.
The game was able to hold excitement into the final minutes with Victory making several charges at goal, along with a strong cross from Honda in a final attempt to level the game. A great game overall and well done to City with the win.
Overall a great family evening, with the kids able to make it through the game without being too restless.