ESTUDIANTES – SAN TELMO (0:0)
STADIUM: ESTADIO CIUDAD DE CASEROS
Monday 25th April 2016
I had caught a head cold, maybe from the previous day at Boca, maybe from all the travelling but I was not feeling great. There was another double on today Estudiantes in the afternoon and Quilmes in the evening. Although it would be possible to get to Quilmes, about 30 minutes South of central Buenos Aires, it was the getting back to my hotel after the match that was to prove the difficulty. As I was not feeling great I decided to just do Estudiantes in the afternoon and rest in the evening. I had seen the documentary on You Tube about Quilmes and really wanted to go but I guessed that would just be saved for when i return.
Making my way to the stadium was easy. I took the train from the Retiro-Mitre station to the Caseros station, from there I deduced it would be about 15 minutes walk according to Google Maps. Finding a way in was harder. “Entrada, Entrada?” I asked the official at one of the gates. He muttered away in Spanish and pointed down the street. For a third evel game there were a lot of riot police on duty I thought, maybe this was a high risk game? Estudiantes against San Telmo? I found a group of fans waiting by an entrance so I stood with them. It soon became clear that they were the Estudiantes Barra Brava. Not the most happy looking individuals and with me the only white guy I stood out like a sore thumb. I became slightly uneasy standing next to them especially as the police began closing in and that was my cue to move back a little. I had visions of me getting caught in no man’s land here without a paddle!
It was 10 minutes before kick off and the “Entrada” was still not open and the Barra were getting restless and started banging their drums, following two searches they were finally allowed in. I made my way towards the gate and after my two searches I was also allowed in to the large open terrace. There was nobody taking money, maybe I passed as a bone fide local myself? Who knows but just as well I did not have to pay as it was one of the worst games of football I had ever seen, completely void of any goalmouth action and unsurprisingly it ended 0-0.
The stadium itself was really old with one length of the pitch being the main tribune. It’s an uncovered structure split into three sections. The middle part with seats and the two ends with open terrace, opposite this was the large uncovered terracing that I was in. One end behind the goal was a dirt training pitch and the other was full of windows of offices facing the pitch.
I sat on the steps of the terrace and shivered, because i was not at my best i even contemplated leaving at half time such was the poor standard of football of show. The only thing that kept me going was the constant beating of the drums, their musical knowledge second to none, no beat missed or note out of tune. It’s a staple part of football in Argentina bring your instruments to the game and let’s have a fiesta. Two dogs were having great fun chasing each other around the open terrace so i spent quite a bit of time watching their antics. It’s a shame that the fans had to witness a poor game as they were the real winners.