Adriaan had previously brought the international match to my attention weeks ago, however we didn’t confirm the details until a few days before the important match was set to be played.
The South American club tournament – Copa Libertadores
The home team – Independiente Medellin
The visiting team – Sao Paulo (Brazil)
I met Adriaan at his apartment downtown around 6:30pm, with rush hour in full swing and rain beginning to fall. I had decided to leave my camera at home so I wouldn’t have to worry about it being stolen, or further damaged by water.
We took a taxi toward the stadium, picking up his Colombian friend, Nicholas, along the way. Nicholas is a Humanities teacher from Bogota, working in Medellin for 6 months.
We bought tickets from the first guy on the street who offered them to us, and probably payed a little more than was necessary (over the face value) but it wasn’t much by western standards.
Our seats were in the Oriental (eastern) side, which is where I sat for my first Colombian futbol match a few weeks earlier.
We ate a few pre-game hot dogs, and given all the vendors screaming “gaseosa,” I also felt the desire to drink a few sodas. As a reminder, no alcohol is sold at the matches.
Around 7:50 pm, the national anthems were played, and the Medellin fans at the one end of the stadium lit up about 30 red flares, issuing off a cloud of smoke which drifted above the stadium as the game got under way.
For the next 90 minutes, it was standing room only for the thousands of passionate supporters over there. Their drums, chants, and cheers echoed throughout the stadium. By comparison, I only saw one obvious Sao Paulo supporter.
While we were all there to support Medellin, we were also excited to see some Brazilian futbol played live before us. But Sao Paulo looked uninspired in the first half, and Medellin scored the first two goals, with Sao Paulo getting a quick and brilliant one before halftime.
The second half had Sao Paulo on the attack, and there were a few close calls, however Medellin managed to hold them off and take the win. Since the score of the first match played in Sao Paulo was 1-1, Medellin’s win at home puts them in a good position to advance further in the tournament.
Unlike my first futbol match, I saw no evidence of fighting in the stands at this one, though it was less crowded. Perhaps having a common international opponent keeps things on an even keel.