Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Paraguay & Uruguay March 2011

The other part of my trip to South America included visits to Paraguay and Uruguay.

Libertad 5 Universidad San Martin 1.

I followed Shakira to Asuncion and actually stayed near her Sheraton Hotel.
(or did she follow me ?)
I, obviously, chose not to go to her concert and instead watched Libertad easily beat their visitors from Peru.

Libertad thus went to the top of their group and they looked like a decent outfit.

This was the first time Libertad had played a Copa match at their own updated smallish stadium.
And some 8,000 turned out on a steamy evening in Asuncion.

Those fans enjoyed themselves with plenty of streamers, fireworks and smoke.
Certainly their team didn’t let them down coming back from an early away goal to out-pass and decisively beat San Martin.

Rubio Nu 1 3 de Febrero 0.

The stadium La Arboleda housed about 250 fans for this 5pm Wednesday afternoon top level encounter in the Santisima Trinidad barrio of Asuncion.

The home side needed just one goal to beat their visitors and they spent most of the second half content to absorb the pressure.

Guarani 1 Estudiantes 2 in the Copa Libertadores.

This match was played in the large Defensores del Chaco (national) stadium in Asuncion.

Though it could have been played in a much smaller ground as only about 1200 fans were there on a late Wednesday evening.

There was a lively group from La Plata to cheer on their team.

Guarani needed the points as they are last in the group but they looked second best against an Estudiantes side minus Juan Veron.

The home side did go in front after a defender’s push resulted in a converted penalty.
But soon after the break the Argentinians scored two quick goals including an excellent strike from Gonzalez.

Estudiantes negotiated the remainder of the game and their goalie dodged the flying bottles aimed at him.

Cerro Porteno 1 Deportivo Tachira (Venezuela) 1.

The third Copa Libertadores fixture in Asuncion played at Cerro´s home in a well filled stadium.

On another steamy night I joined some radio commentators in watching this one.

The ground has a 32,000 capacity being mostly open with the main ultras at the left hand end.

Cerro are one of the two biggest clubs in Asuncion and they expect success.
But on this night despite taking the lead they were pegged back by the visitors from Venezuela who played well, especially in the second half.

Liverpool 0 Nacional 2.

I took the fast ferry and bus to Montevideo hoping for some milder weather after the heat of Asuncion and Buenos Aires.
What I got was torrential rain one day and high winds and cooler conditions on the second day.

This first game was played at the famous Centenario stadium.

As expected the Nacional fans came in their thousands with a much smaller number supporting the green and black of Liverpool.
After ten minutes the heavens opened and the Nacional hinchas cranked up the noise.

Their team had the edge scoring fairly early on and staying in control most of time.

The Centenario has that feeling of history being the stadium that staged the very first World Cup and its iconic structure - the tower - presents a memorable image as a backdrop to watching a match.

El Tanque Sisley 1 Central Espanol 0.

I´m not sure the significance of the Sisley tank however this top division game was more like a non league encounter judging by the surroundings of Carrasco Norte at 10.15am on a Sunday morning.

There was about equal numbers of home and away fans totally around 300.
Many sat on basic bench seats.

El T scored in the first half through their Cameroonian centre forward and then were content to mostly defend in the 2nd period.

I took a taxi to central Montevideo to relax before setting out for Cerro.

Cerro 0 Penarol 2.

A few kilometres to north of the centre the area of Cerro brought out the locals to watch the most successful team in Uruguay come into town.

This was a time to arrive early as the good seats in the platea were soon taken up about an hour before the 4.30pm start.

The fans Penarol came in large numbers and packing the opposite terrace. Whilst the home ultras were behind the right hand goal (the other end being unused)

After a fairly even first period when both sides hit the woodwork Penarol took the lead with a great left foot strike by Pacheco.
Soon after they added to the advantage and generally held out for the expected victory.

At the end the home fans sent a cascade of debris at the Penarol players and the away fans proceeded to break down some of the fences, by then I had made my exit via one of the taxis waiting outside.

(part 2) more pictures at http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/715016177

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