Monday, November 20, 2006
The Rosario Clasico October 2006
Rosario Central v Newells Old Boys - the Rosario Clasico
Take the bus (comfortable but slow) from Buenos Aires & 4 hours or so later you can be in Rosario.
Arrive about 2hrs before kick off & you may get the chance to walk to the ground with the Newells hinchas (fans)
Surrounded by police & led by motor bikes they present an awesome sight as they march from the centre to the Central stadium.
There are then something like 6/7 sets of security before you reach an entrance gate - for me to be in the lower tier of the 'main stand' side.
This is one of the top derbies in Argentina with a significant local focus - Central in particular having mainly Rosario players - Paolo Wanchope , who played a starring role, being one of the exceptions.
The stats are :- a 42000 crowd , 1450 police (a record for this game) with the away team (Newells) having both tiers behind the goal (c. 10000)
The presence of a very large (and needless to say noisy) away following plus the intimacy of the Gigante stadium makes this derby one of the best you will experience.
The build up starts well over an hour before kick off with chants, balloons, smoke & flags.
As always there is a 'dialogue' between the fans often referring back to previous events (eg the Central fans don't sing, the 'penguins' - Newells fans - are freezing)
Not many Argentian clasicos are dull & this one certainly had plenty of action - goals (4-1 to Central) ,drama (2 Newells players sent off) & trouble (after missiles being thrown the police fired rubber bullets at the Newells hinchas). Despite the stoppage during the police action the game did restart and finish (unlike my subsequent clasico - Independiente v Racing). As usual the locals (including myself) had to wait whilst the away fans departed - helped along by the odd baton or bullet.
For me the action hadn't quite finished as on the bus back to the bus terminal the locals smash the rear windows - but we shake off the glass & carry on regardless.
After all its just another normal football derby day in Argentina.