Yesterday was an eye-opener, and the most amazing experience. Went to watch football, or soccer as we know it. Independiente were playing Boca Juniors at Independiente.
The game was crazy and exciting! The crowd were even more crazy and exciting!
The scene was set early on for a cracking encounter by our guide and Independiente converter, Nico. Boca were top of the table and Independiente 5th, so a win for them would be quite an upset.
We caught a bus to the stadium and then walked a number of blocks through some very interesting surrounds to the stadium. Riot police with teargas were out in force and so were the supporters. The epitome of this football crazed nation and city was the fact that Independiente have their stadium right next door to Racing’s, literally about 200m. And, each one holds over 40000 people!
Independiente’s stadium was old, and the majority of the places are standing. We were in the main standing section, and that was the most amazing experience. All the people were jam packed like sardines, but no-one is bothered. 95% of the time is spent singing and chering and there are tens of songs that everyone knows! Then there is the jumping! The whole stand jumps and I reckon the vibrations would show well on the Richter Scale! But the ultimate, and quite scary, thing is when something happens in the game, a goal, a penalty, a sending-off or something like that. The whole crowd lean forward and a stampede occurs! It’s pretty crazy – thousands of people just falling on to one another! But, luckily there were no injuries!
Then there was the game! It was damn exciting. Independiente ended up winning 2-1. But, there was much excitement inbetween. An Independiente player got a red card within 5 minutes of the start and the crowd weren’t happy! If my memory serves me correctly, there were to be another 3 red cards in the game, 2 each! There was some brawling, and the obligatory official abuse! The crowd threw things at the players, and it was just rowdy all round.
However, the elation at the end was unbelievable! Just like on TV!