BOCA JUNIORS – RIVER PLATE (0:0)
STADIUM: LA BOMBONERA
Sunday 24th April 2016
It was Sunday…a day of rest for some but not for the groundhopper and certainly not for a groundhopper who was about to go to Boca Juniors and River Plate. Christmas Day, your birthday, you can eat as many sweeties as you want….nope nothing comes close to this game which is an ultimate dream for many a fan. It would be fair to say that I was a tad excited about this one.
When the fixtures were confirmed for this weekend I thought if I don’t do this now and keep putting it off year after year then next year it might be too late. I would always be kicking myself saying “why didn’t I go when I had the chance”.
Tickets were sourced from a tour company and attached to them came a very hefty price tag. It’s not every month you can go to the other side of the world to watch the biggest derby in world football so as a one off I paid the asking price. Tickets for this match are extremely hard to come by and are not on sale to the general public. All tickets are sold to members or socios in Argentina and with Boca they have a total of over 100,000 members and with more socios than the stadium capacity (49,000) makes it almost impossible to go unless you pay a high price through a tour agency.
It was a 2pm kick off and with the tour company insisting the pick up time be hours before, the chances of making another game was slim so I had resigned myself to just one game today. It was a shame as Racing against Independiente was on at 5pm but going with a tour company means you have to follow their rules, and upon asking I was told that it would not be possible to get between the two stadiums.
I was picked up from my hotel promptly in a small 16 seater minibus and we toured the local hotels picking up passengers en route to the stadium. There were fans from Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Switzerland. We were all handed a credit card sized membership card, mine was named Mariana Cazenave and this was to be our entry into the stadium. The streets were pretty busy as the bus parked, we all got out and followed our guide to the stadium, about a 15 minute walk away. I could see La Bombonera, it’s towering structure ahead of me in the distance. Coloured in a sun faded yellow paint with the occasional blue stripe on the outside.
We were told not to speak English in case we were heard as some of the support don’t agree with tourists coming to their stadium, so silently we made our way to the gates. We had been told on the bus of the procedure, there were to be two searches before entrance and we were to leave everything on the bus except phones and money. No large cameras were allowed. I felt nervous but was at ease having finally made it past the second search and i climbed the stairs, lots of them, and wow it hit me, what an impressive sight. I had seen the stadium only in You Tube videos and now it was in front of my very own eyes. Everyone gets there early we were told, which I only half believed. It was 3 hours before kick off and the stadium was 80% full, never before had I seen that. It was a party atmosphere with the area behind the goal to my left the nosiest.
30 minutes before kick off and as the teams came out to practice there were loud whistles when River entered the field, then when Boca came out the loudness cranked up a notch. The atmosphere was sizzling nicely and just before the kick off the welcome both teams received was a sight to behold, this is what I had come for, the Superclassico was about to begin.
It was a largely entertaining game with Boca being reduced to 10 men in the first half and both teams went for it end to end. In the second half Boca, despite their numerical deficiency, tried so hard to score but it was not falling kindly for them and the game ended 0-0. I was a little disappointed that I had not seen a goal but it was a truly amazing experience and one that I would not hesitate in returning.