La Bombonera is an amazing stadium. The steep stands crowd so close to the field that even when you are on the top level at the end of the pitch, if you lean way out over the railing it feels like you could spit on the opposing keeper.
The fact that you actually can’t, and the fact that your spit lands instead on your own home seating section below you, seemed little deterrent to the Boca Juniors fans who were eventually so bored by their side's 2-0 win over San Lorenzo that they began to harass the poor Lorenzo keeper who was assailed fore and aft by Boca Juniors and Boca Fans alike.
Our second Buenos Aires match in 4 days lacked the drama of the first but the quality football exhibited by Boca made up the difference. From the outset, they controlled the pace and attacked at will. In the first 30 minutes San Lorenzo showed some life and a few great outside shots caused a set of acrobatic saves by the Boca keeper. But the home midfield just seemed to get more physical and more dominating as the half waned. No surprise then that Palermo punched a great header in before the half to take the lead, and the fight, out of Lorenzo.
This match report is nothing compared to the Editor's experience and so I won’t even attempt to convey the atmosphere of the stadium which is outstanding. Just read that report to get a sense of it all. Instead, I was happily surprised by the numerous and exceedingly noisy Lorenzo fans who had the cojones to drape a monstrous team flag across the entirety of the visitors section. This had the unfortunate effect of allowing no one in that section to see the pitch below. That would imply however, that they actually wanted to see their team play football and in truth they were probably happy to stay hidden and dream of victory rather than watch their visiting side be dismantled by Boca. Also, as the ever subtle Boca fan seated next to us pointed out repeatedly and at the top of his lungs, “it is the flag of losers.”
The second half opened as the first had ended with Palermo’s header at the 51 minute mark finding in quick succession the crossbar, the keepers hand, a defender’s foot and ultimately the net for an own goal. Lorenzo could mount nothing of relevance and had to suffer through chants of ‘ole!’ as Boca kept possession.
Both Boca and Lorenzo, hell, the whole league, play a rough brand of the beautiful game and as Lorenzo became frustrated, the challenges on both sides escalated in brutality and the cards became more frequent until a very indecent penalty from Lorenzo’s center back resulted rightfully in his ejection. Down to 10 men, Lorenzo played to save face and Boca played with the ball and we played the tourists by sneaking out of the stadium a few minutes early, avoiding a chilly spring rain and the crush of fans stampeding the exits to hail a taxi within hearing distance of the drums and still singing fans in La Bombonera.
-Guest Correspondent Sheedy