Friday, November 23, 2007

Atletico Paranaense v Sport Recife November 2007

your correspondents' plan was to visit Asuncion for a weekend.
However this schedule was amended as the Gol flight bound for Paraguay was unable to land due to bad weather and went on to Curitiba , in Brazil.

One perhaps not always recognised aspect of travel , being by definition outside of most normal routines, is to cope with situations that arise unexpectedly.

My choice was to take an indirect flight (there being no available direct flights - 'until wednesday') to the Paraguay/Brazil border then a bus onto to Asuncion to arrive at maybe 5 or 6 am the next day.

Or I could stay in Brazil - a quick check of the paper confirmed there was a game in Curitiba on the Sunday.
So that was my choice - unwind the Asuncion reservation & settle in Curitiba for the weekend.
And enjoy the odd caipirinha, my favourite cocktail, at a budget price.

A pleasant enough centre of a largish city with an interesting historic area Curitiba was bright, sunny & vibrant on a Saturday morning.
Still trendy platform boots were the most recognisable fashion statement as on my last visit to Brazil.

As nice as Saturday was mingling with the locals enjoying the sunshine my preference (as always) was to see a game. My optimism was raised slightly as I saw some Coritiba fans at a garage - unfortunately there were 4 of them , in a smallish car, otherwise I would have asked them for 'lift'to their game in Florianopolis (against Avai)
Due to the distance involved & my need to get back to Curitiba , my only realistic hope had been to do the trip by car.

But I had to settle for just the one game - played on the Sunday between Atletico Paranaense & Sport Recife.

Atletico are one of three main teams in Curitiba - they and Coritiba have the biggest support followed by Parana. Incidentally I was told that the 3rd best supported team in this city was actually Corinthians (of Sao Paulo)

Atletico play in a 2/3rds built European style stadium (see pic) that they expect to expand to a capacity of 41000. Like many in Europe (not least Wembley) it had the seats decked out in red.

The impression was of a go-ahead club (the club have given Japanese electronics company ,Kyocera, the stadium naming rights) that will be prominent in promoting its stadium/city as a candidate for the 2014 World Cup.

Certainly the combination of a modern ground & a pleasant/secure city seem like a winning formula to this observer.

Sadly the game didn´t really live up to the surroundings (or the support from the ultras)

It being goalless despite Sport playing with ten men for the last quarter. Atletico had a bag full of free kicks - only one of which got very close.

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