Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Photos from El Superclasico, Boca v. River

10 days ago Sunday was the annual Superclasico -- Boca Juniors vs. las gallinas River Plate -- in La Bombonera, Boca's stadium.

Some lists have just seeing any home game at La Bombonera as one of the sporting events you have to experience before you die. Or, in others, seeing Boca River at La Bombanera is simply #1 on the list. Boca River happens once a year in Boca's stadium, once in River's stadium. Although I haven't been to the Superclassico in River's stadium, after 2 games at River Plate's stadium I can tell you that any experience in the Bombanera is probably more intense than in River's stadium.

We woke up to sun shining in our window. As we left for church, it started to rain. But it didn't look threatening. I left church early and headed onto the train. And it stayed grey. Not a good sign.

The view where I normally go underneath la Doce (the 12), which is the crazy fans/hooligans. We are a little more laidback where I am. This is a few of La Bombonera 2 hours before gametime. I wanted to make sure I got a decent place to stand. As you can see, they were starting to put up the banners. Notice that there are already plenty of people there, and luckily for me, I arrived just in time to get a sheltered spot -- because as you can notice in the top of the photo, there is concrete above me.

This is 2 hours or an hour and a half before game time, I don't remember. The top deck away is always the visiting section of the stands. Yeah, there were already alot of River fans there.

Notice that you can see the line of the 18 yard box on the field.

Not really sure what happened here.

30 minutes before the game. Do you see lines on the field?

So, eventually started after 2 hours of standing, waiting for the game to start. It was a pretty miserable 2 hours, I'm not going to lie. Everyone was packed in the covered area and with people smoking and sweating it was pretty miserable. I felt like I was suffocating.

In the end, I traveled about 4 hours for this game, waited 2 hours standing, and then after 9 minutes they cancelled the game because the field was so wet it was simply unplayable. Of those 9 minutes, I couldn't see a thing for 5 of them because the doce above had covered us with a flag. When the game started and we couldn't see, I thought there might be a riot.

When I left the game, the police wouldn't let me get on the train because they thought (incorrectly) that the hooligans were right behind me. I had only brought my Boca jersey, and they didn't want me to get on the train. I'm pretty sure I could have actually gotten on the train, but while they were arguing with me that the hooligans would arrive in 10 minutes, the train that was going to leave in 2 minutes...left. Gee, thanks.

I left the train station and took the subway to a different train. It probably only cost me 20 minutes extra or so.

The game was rescheduled for Thursday at 3:45. I figured that I could safely arrive much later and still be able to get in since lots of people would be working. I didn't necessarily intend to arrive at 3:42 like I did, but whatever. I got into the stadium, pushed my way into the crowd, and voila. Here I am. Same section, but on the other side of the goal. You'll notice that my vision isn't that good yet, as I have yet to really start pushing my way into a good line of vision.

Diego Maradona didn't go to the game on Sunday, but he showed up on Thursday for the replay, which is the first time he had dared to do so in over a year. Having induced Riquelme to quit, Boca fans had -- shock! -- sided with Riquelme over Maradona. And so it was again, because whenever people tried to start the Diego Maradona song, the crowd drowned it out with "RIQUELME! RIQUELME! RIQUELME!" I obviously was one of the Riquelme screamers.

This picture really doesn't do justice to how much stuff we throw when the team comes out against River. Also, the picture doesn't seem to capture how much it was glittering in the sun. It was a gorgeous day for football. I wish I'd seen Carlos Tevez play here, but at least I get to see Riquelme.

The two above must've been halftime, at which point it was 1-0. The goal happened when Juan Roman Riquelme took a free kick from just outside the box in this photo, near the corner of the box. He passed it around the wall to Gary Medel, who slid in front of the keeper to toepoke it in. Great vision from Riquelme.

If you look in the top right you'll see that there are empty seats. That's mandatory, to prevent riots between the visiting fans and the home fans. If you click on the picture and get it in full form, you'll see that there are policemen lining that wall.

We ended up winning 2-0, on another goal by Medel. Pretty sweet finish, you could totally see the sweet curve he put on his shot. My voice was pretty much shot from screaming/singing/whatever the whole time and my legs were tired from all the jumping. Awesome.

I took the photo above because it shows that the police (in fullon riot gear, I imagine) were pushing the River fans to leave. Although they wouldn't let us leave for 15 minutes or so, this picture is from right before the police finally let us leave.

The River fans kept on singing after the game was over, of course. When they didn't, we sang "and now, a moment of silence for the dead hens." (gallina, their nickname) And a stadium of almost 70,000 people was silent for 15 seconds, after 3 hours of crazy shouting. Pretty intense.

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