Published: June 17th 2007June 17th 2007
At the game
The pregame introductions of Gremio vs. Boca Juniors at La Bombonera in Buenos Aires
Boca Juniors Introductions
I was going to do just one blog entry about my sudden trip to Buenos Aires but decided that the experience at La Bombonera deserved one of its own so here we go…
The planning for my trip began less than one week in advance when Boca Juniors beat Cucuta from Columbia to advance to the Copa Libertadores finals (this tournament is basically the Champions League of South America and for those of you still confused;)
This meant that Gremio, who barely held on to a 4-3 aggregate win over Santos the night before, would be traveling to Buenos Aires to face Boca Juniors at the famous La Bombonera
. And so the rush was on in Porto Alegre for all hard core Gremio fans to begin making traveling plans.
Unbelievable is pretty much the best way to describe the atmosphere at the La Bombonera (which literally translates to the chocolate box because of the stadiums rectangular shape). The experience began by taking a taxi cab as close as possible to the stadium. I then walked with a father and son the rest of the way. I am not sure the dumb American
Gremio takes the field
The team taking their end and showing their appreciation of the fans who made the trip
really knew what he was getting into until the father turned to me and said “Don’t speak because we don’t want anyone to know that you are a Gremio fan, and that is not for your safety but for ours.” They we nice enough to lead me near the visitor’s entrance, which was barricaded off beginning a couple hundred yards away from the actual stadium with a gang of fully armored policemen decked out in riot gear. The visitor’s section for Gremio was jammed packed and everyone stayed on their feet for the entire 90 minutes. The stadium was completely sold out at over 55,000 people and it is very hard to put into words the intensity of the atmosphere. I think the best example is how after a Boca goal, you could literally feel the solid concrete stadium shaking underneath your feet. Not the best feeling when you are on the very top level. I took a couple of videos that might give you an idea (you can play them in the upper left corner).
Unfortunately, I felt that trembling sensation three times as Gremio went down 3-0. However, it was definitely worth the experience and a big
Gremio section beginning to get rowdy
part of me was just happy to be alive after I exited the stadium and arrived safely in another cab. It will be almost impossible to make up the 3-0 deficit when Boca comes to Porto Alegre this Wednesday for the second leg of the final but Gremio does not have a film made about them called “Inacreditável”
(translated means Unbelievable) for no reason….
There are more photos below