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citymike

River Plate vs Boca Juniors

ARGENTINA | Friday, 30 October 2009 | Views [1131] | Comments [1]

I wanted to see this match which the Guardian, according to one tour video, described as the most exciting sporting spectacle on the planet. At 300 pesos (£50) for a ticket with a coach to the ground and a guide I couldn’t let the opportunity pass.

The coach was a school bus, pretty basic but it wasn’t a long drive from the centre of BA so that didn’t matter. We arrived two and a half hours before the match started and already there was a large crowd milling around outside and queuing to enter the ground and it took us 30 minutes or so to get through a couple of barriers at which we were frisked (I was just waved through, obviously I look like a respectable tourist).

The ticket we were given by the guide were for the River end behind a corner flag and marked “socio canje – venta prohibido” which I think means “member’s ticket, sale prohibited” so I reckon quite a number of season ticket holders were made an offer they couldn’t refuse. There were no seat numbers and it was first come first served and as the ground filled up I was glad that we had got there so early and I was pleased with the view from my seat. Besides, we were “entertained” by the reserve teams as a warm up for the match as we waited.

The match itself was rather poor. Lots of final balls went astray and a couple of sitters missed. River had a guy in midfield running the show plus a tricky player on the right of midfield but I don’t think these players would make it in the premier league. River were on top for most of the game, a justified penalty after a player was brought down in the area was missed but after 30 minutes they scored from a well taken free kick at the edge of the area curved into the near post. Early in the second half a player from each side was sent off for handbag offences and that seemed to suit Boca more than River and they started to dominate with some lovely tricky runs from a right side midfielder which eventually led to an equaliser.

I wasn’t really there to watch the match but to experience the passion of the crowd. They were loud and fun to watch but I didn’t think that they were passionate. There was no bitterness or rancour towards the opposition that I see at a Manchester derby and when Boca equalised there was just a silence rather than anger at their own team or the opposition. If it were at Maine Road (my last Manchester derby) the crowd would have been screaming abuse at whoever and then making some attempt at spurring the team on and then living every kick hoping for an equaliser . I think the River crowd just accepted that the team isn’t very good and held no hope for a winner.

I’m sure that in years past this game must have been an incredible spectacle but maybe it has just got so dull that the crowd are excited for effect and to show willing rather than anything on the pitch inspiring them. The stadium doesn’t help in that it has a running track around the edge and I think this affects the atmosphere.

I’m glad I went and it might be a different event at the Boca stadium but I would never advise anyone to base their trip around this match. If I were ever to be invited to a Glasgow derby to find that the atmosphere wasn’t better than this match then I’d be disappointed.

Comments

1

Hey doherty1957,

We like your story and have decided to feature it this week so that others can enjoy it too!

Happy travels!

World Nomads

  World Nomads Nov 23, 2009 11:30 AM

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