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Monday, March 17, 2014

My First Peruvian Soccer Match

Well, actually Football, but not to confuse anyone at home in Canada and the US.  Edwin, from Haku tours hooked us up with Peru Football Tours, a fantastic company in Lima that takes Gringos, that are too nervous to go to the giant stadiums alone with 45000 Peruvians.  Taking the tour was totally worth it, and Josh and I had our friends Colleen and Keith and Matt join us, along with several other tourists from all over the world.  We got picked up from our apartment by Luis Eduardo, in his new Audi A5.  I was NOT complaining about that, but it was a little cramped with me and Colleen and Keith in the backseat!  We met the rest of the van of people at the San Isidro Country Club Hotel and we were on our merry way.  We got beer and snacks on the bus too, so that was pretty awesome.
The match we attended took place at the Estadio Nacional, the largest stadium in Peru near the downtown that holds about 55000 people.  Pretty huge. It is actually a really nice, newly renovated stadium that seemed way easier to get around than any stadium I have been in before.

Alianza Lima and Sporting Cristal were the two teams that were playing.  The are two of the 16 top tier teams that play in Peru.   Josh and I (and our guide Luis) are all Alianza fans, so we came with our jerseys, but we found out that half of the Alianza section of the stadium is closed due to the Metallica stage being set up for the concert on Thursday, so we had to sit in the Sporting Cristal section.  This meant no jerseys for safety reasons.  Unfortunately I only wore a somewhat inappropriate (for a white girl in Peru) tank top because I was just going to slip my jersey overtop, so I spent the game a little uncomfortable. It actually was not nearly as bad as I though in the 30000 men and one white girl sense.  No different than anywhere else, just the "what the hell are you doing here" kind of looks.  I think that fact that they don't sell booze at the stadium (I was actually really happy about this) makes it a little more laid back.
The match started off with a lot of noise and music and fire and confetti and gallons flying everywhere.  So much fun!  I love how passionate the people in Peru are, it is a different level of sport fan than you will find in North America. Football really is life.

Colleen, Keith and Luis Eduardo

I was a little disappointed in the food choices... bags of Lays plain chips and chicken sandwiches.  Although there was some sort of yummy sausage dog things and popcorn at the concession.  And you can't buy water!  Only Coca Cola!

the roster.

I did not mind watching the warmup!

Some of the Sporting Cristal section (light blue)

The start of the match on the deck up from us.

Little kids came out on the field to start the game like they do at hockey games at home.  Too adorable!

fire getting bigger!

The Alianza Lima side across from us.  Insane!

Me with a giant Sporting Cristal balloon thing, only because there were no Alianza ones on our side.

Matt with his Sporting Cristal balloon, he cheered for them. Boo.

The match started out with Alianza scoring a GOLLLLLLLLL (how they say it here but with a lot more LLLLLLs) just a couple minutes in.  The next one was scored at the very start of the second half while we were still in line for popcorn.  There were 2 more goals throughout the second half and the final score ended up being 2-2.  Unfortunately there is no extra time in these matches as they are not finals.  

In this picture you can see the goaltender and the guy closest to him running toward each other.  The picture below is the result of that.

See above description.

Scoreboard after the first goal.

The end of the game.

Right after the game is over, the National Police surround the officials and escort them off the field so no one tries to get revenge.

We headed back out of the stadium, and a couple people stopped to buy jerseys (of the wrong team) and then back on the bus.  I still can't get over how the place was not crowded at all,  you didn't have to push through or get pushed through. 

Check out the TV broadcast of all of the goals that were scored HERE.

And some of the craziness of the Alianza Lima fans HERE.

There were a lot of police and police dogs everywhere!  So cute!

We had a fantastic experience and I want to go back to another match ASAP!  But this time sit on the Alianza side so I can fit in (fit in is a loose term).  If you have the chance in Lima, check it out.

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