Chacarita Juniors – Los Andes (3:0)
Stadium: Chacarita Juniors
Friday 22nd April 2016
My first match in South America and i picked Chacarita Juniors. Negotiating my way there was not as difficult as i had first thought, the benefit being that most clubs in Buenos Aires are located close to a train/metro station.From my pre match planning i deduced that the nearest train station was San Martin and i would walk to the stadium in the hope that tickets would be on sale somewhere.
Leaving the train i was filled with excitement of going to my first match mixed with a tinge of nervousness as i was venturing into the unknown. Not knowing what to expect was probably the best plan. I went with an open mind and going by the stories i was told after the match i think that was the best method.
The anticipated stroll of 15 minutes to the stadium proved correct. Walking through the quiet neighborhood of Villa Maipu i noticed that most of the houses all had 10 feet high steel gates in front of their front doors, presumably for security i thought. It did not look like a bad area, certainly not a good one but i had seen worse from my previous travels. A solitary dog barked unexpectedly quashing the silence which triggered another dog to reply in a similar tone. I could make out the noise of what i thought was a drum sound in the distance and thought i was near, the thoughts were proved correct as turning the corner i saw a row of six police officers guarding a side street.
Fans started to appear dressed in the club colours of red, white and black stripes, scarves drapped around their necks and sporting football tops to finish the look. I asked one of the security guards where to purchase a ticket and understood i was to backtrack the way i had just come to a street corner. I retraced my steps and found a small queue at the corner just one block away. The notice on the wall indicated it was 200 pesos which is about £9.50, not bad for a 2nd level game. It was 10 minutes to kick off so i hurried inside past the security and police control and found myself inside the 3 sided stadium.
The main stand was a two tier structure but as my section was on the lower tier i could not see if anyone was up there or whether it was even open. To my right and left were identical concrete blocks. The right housed the away fans, approximately 40 of them, and to my left the “noisy” section easily identified by the banner “THE FAMOUS BAND OF SAN MARTIN”.
What i witnessed was a great advert for the second league in Argentina. Three goals and a noisy, lively atmosphere. The amount of chances Chacarita had, it could have easily been double figures. They played an entertaining attacking style of football met with a cheer from the home support everytime they touched the ball.
One of the highlights for me was when a visiting player went down injured and in true latin fashion rolled about like he had been hit by sniper fire. This upset the crowd around me and whilst receiving treatment, on the sidelines, a missile was thrown from above my head. Everyone started laughing and in amazement it was in fact a dead bird that had been thrown. This prompted a few, including me, to get out their mobile phones to take a photo…one of the most unusual missiles i have ever seen!
I had been told in the days following the match by some other fans that i spoke to, who said i was lucky as Chacarita have a reputation for having quite violent fans. Thankfully my open mind did not create any preconceived scenarios.
The other highlight of the afternoon was the fabulous songs and rhythms of the band that played for the entire 90 minutes. Two drummers a trumpeter and a trombone player were spotted that kept the while stadium jiving throughout. No programme and no alcohol were on sale. Probably glad for the latter as i needed to stay alert as my next game was that evening at Velez Sarsfield. Best get back on the train station pronto….