Despite the peace of a gloriously respected 1st of May yesterday, when no matches were played, there was plenty of anger in the stadiums today. Scenes of bare-chested consternation were most prominent at the Chacarita-Estudiantes game and at Independiente-Boca, both involving fans miffed at the inability of their beloved teams to produce the requisite numbers of eggs.
The first expressions of disquiet came in Chacarita-Estudiantes. Now Argieball followers are well-used to matches lasting much longer than an hour and three quarters: matches tend to start late and half-time usually runs to 18 or 20 minutes. A charming tradition in itself, this ‘problem’ has certainly become exacerbated since the advent of Fútbol para todos – the provision of free-to-air football – given the absence of advertising. Indeed, longer breaks between the halves allow the Presidency to tell us all a few more times what an outstanding job they’re doing for us. Yet we were forced to wait even longer for the government’s spectacularly shameless propaganda when the match was stopped for seven minutes in the first half. Chacarita, a very poor team who have already been relegated, were winning one-nil against the South American champions, Estudiantes when the ref, Abal, gave a penalty to the visiting team for a handball. It definitely wasn’t a penalty but it was close enough, leading the referee to cast aside any doubts, and the rules, and Boselli put the ball away after sending off the defender for protesting too much. The Chacarita fans, needless to say, went mental. The ferocity of their lamentations increased further when Estudiantes went ahead three minutes later. Their distress manifested itself in the form of lighters, toilet seats – particularly strange that there would even be such items in a stadium – and even crates of a well-known soft drink being chucked at the linesman within their reach. The match was suspended for seven minutes until the normal level of madness had been restored.
In the second half, they were back at it again, however. This time it was the turn of the barra brava, far from the action down behind the Estudiantes goal. The firemen had apparently been threatening them with the hose for some time when with the genius peculiar to true hooligans, they somehow, in a manoeuvre which will not be remembered for its solidarity but certainly will be for other reasons, managed to get their restless little mits on said firehose, which in the meantime had been switched on in order to quench their passion with a the greatest dousing of their lives, and turn it on the firemen themselves! Their impromptu party in the terrace made Inter’s aquatic adventures at the Nou Camp look like one of those PD party conferences we all miss so much. As a contest the match was all but over and it would have been suspended but since there are only a few rounds left in the league Estudiantes are booked up with their gruelling Libertadores schedule, the referee once again decided to wait it out.; this time for 20 minutes. According to canchallena.com, the Estudiantes fans amused themselves by cheering San Lorenzo’s goal against their championship rivals, Argentinos Juniors. Chacarita, in any case, appear to have decided their best opportunity for self-expression no longer lies on the pitch, and are seeking to say farewell to the first division in unforgettable fashion. Pegamequemegusta salutes you. Check out the look on the linesman’s face when the fans get the hose:
A rather more incendiary act of the day came in Avellaneda where Boca came back from a goal behind to beat Independiente 3-2 in the brand new Libertadores de América. Pegamequemegusta usually is of the opinion that, apart from las Diablitas Rojas, Independiente are about as charismatic and stylish as … pegamequemegusta. Yet their first goal today was as peachy as their comely cheerleaders.
The Independiente fans were in fine vettle and when a dog found its way onto the pitch, a chorus of “Paleeeermo! Paleeeeeeeeeeeerrrmo!” rang out around the ground.
Soon after, though, young Monzón drilled one in from outside the box and a few minutes later Boca were ahead. Palermo got his revenge with a characteristically awkward bacwards header that appeared to come off his neck. So Boca were 2-1 up at half-time (which lasted 23 minutes), and with 3 minutes to go young Mouche scored a screamer of his own to ensure victory (though there was a late late scare when Independiente knocked in a penalty in injury time). He ran to the half way line swinging his jersey around his head before cupping his hands to his hears a lo Riquelme in front of the seething home fans, who had just seen the faint title hopes disappear like toilet seats in La Paternal. He was duly sent off and stood about arguing vehemently with everybody in sight as he waited for the giant colon to be inflated. Bad baby.
There was probably lots of other aggro, too, but pegamequemegusta is quite taken with Claude le Petit at the current moment so we bid you goodbye goodbye goodbye.*
*Whomsoever places that last literary reference gets a free ticket to Chacarita’s last home game of the season.