This clash of two of the Big 5 gave CA Independiente the chance to scupper San Lorenzo’s title aspirations, while keeping their own hopes alive. 4th (in Group A) played 2nd in he Estadio Libertadores de América in Avellaneda.
El Diablo Rojo (the red devil)’s ground is slowly being reconstructed, and therefore is not the most aesthetically pleasing from some angles outside the ground. They have added four vertical pillars in each corner of the stadium where fans can have a slightly more upmarket experience of the game – named las gargantas del diablo – the devil’s throat. Currently only one of these is fully built.
Another interesting aspect of the stadium, is that there is a notable absence of barras bravas with instruments and flags perpetually encouraging their team. Most of the support originated in the North Terrace, but there was no elaborate display from the hinchada.
Independiente are consistently referred to as amargo or bitter by fans of the rest of Buenos Aires’ clubs. It so happened that they lived up to that reputation today – having played well but, missed plenty of chances in the first half, The fans turned on their team when San Lorenzo scored a great tem goal early in the second half.
Manager Mauricio Pellegrino (formerly of Liverpool and Valencia among others) was jeered and taunted. Similarly, midfielder Aquino was subjected to a barrage of insults by fans directly behind the dugout when he was substituted after a poor performance. He returned a few choice words of his own before disappearing.
That interaction caused a woman – unhappy at the voicing of displeasure of Aquino’s dedication – to leap three rows and attack a fellow supporter before being pulled away. Proof if you needed, that passion for football does not discriminate on a gender basis.
The displeasure continued as the fans filtered out, with one accusing another of being a cuervo, a fan of San Lorenzo, with the accused responding that he hadn’t missed a game in 40 years.
Access to the stadium is filtered past the neighbouring ground of eternal rivals Racing Club, meaning the walk home is a particularly ‘bitter’ pill to swallow on days like this. San Lorenzo stay joint top, El Rey De Copas (King of Cups) will have to wait for the new season.