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The World Seen With  A Football Fan's Eye

Argentinos Juniors

07.12.2013 PRIMERA DIVISION 2013/2014
Argentinos Juniors - Rosario Central 1:2

It was at Argentinos Juniors where Diego Armendo Maradona made the first steps inhis football career. Hence, it is no surprise the stadium is named after him (while still alive). In the club’s history museum there is a special corner dedicated to “divine” Diego: pictures from his youth, his boots with which he scored more than 100 goals within his 5 year career at Juniors. Visitors can also see the first contract he signed along with numerous photographs, shirts, newspaper cut-outs and graffitis on the wall. There are also other objects worth contemplation in the museum yet everyone goes into the distant corner first - the eccentric Argentinean’s legend seems eternal already now.
The clubs history is a bit embroiled: it was established in 1904 as “Martyrs of Chicago”. The greatest success to date is Copa Libertadores (the Latin American equivalent of the Champions League) in 1985. Besides Maradona, the other big names who played for Juniors include Ubaldo Fillol (he saved Deyna’s penalty during the World Cup in 1978), Sergio Batista, Fernando Redondo, Juan Roman Riquelme and Esteban Cambiasso. No big names are to be found in the team nowadays and hardly any Maradona’s successors on the horizon either. It is more of some plain ball kicking for a pleasure of shrinking crowds. The stadium is on the decline, one of the tribunes is permanently closed, most probably for safety reason and the fans come to see a match more out of habit rather than with an expectation of a spectacular triumph. Without historical reference to Maradona, the club would have probably sunk in the league dullness. The Juniors bravely struggle to retain their presence in Primera Division, usually balancing on the edge of relegation.
The visitors, ranked somewhat higher in the league table, came to Buenos Aires not to lose in the first place. And when realised the “full house” is within reach – they gladly made use of the opportunity. Rosario’s star is an Uruguay player, 37-year old Abreu who opened the score with a firm penalty kick. Juniors equalised shortly after the break, thanks to a somewhat logy Boyero. Soon they were rebuked by the blue-yellows again and the score was maintained until the end of the match. The referee performed his duties nicely, circa 2 meters tall individual did not allow hot-blooded Latino players for any excessive frolics and theatre scenes playing. Interestingly enough, he was pretty often using a sort of white spray, marking the spots for a free kick – a very practical solution preventing from crafty attempts of the players.
During the break, the sector with the ultras, bathed in the sun, was approached by a fire brigade and sprinkled the crowd with water, evoking a lot of excitement and joy among the fans – apparently a sort of tradition of a free of charge “shower”. The audience attention was also attracted by a noble looking man started shouting something vividly towards the Juniors coach, most probably blaming him for an unfavourable score. He did not expect though that the lady sitting next to him was the coach wife who immediately took up her husband’s side and made it in an extremely vigorous manner (see one of the pictures). The aggressor had to soon give up. Honestly, I would also prefer not to meddle with Ms Lombardi - a perfect combination of a bulldozer and a volcano – and this in a very attractive “packaging”.