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The World Seen With  A Football Fan's Eye

Penarol Montevideo

09.03.2013 PRIMERA DIVISION 2012/2013
Peñarol Montevideo - Bella Vista 2:0

The stadium resembles “Meet the Flinstons” cartoon. A ticket for Platea America stand is priced at 320 pesos (or ca. 17 USD). Seats are made of stone, fortunately the evening was warm enough which protected me from catching haemorrhoids.
Coke, chips and sweets were widely available in the stadium buffet, besieged by both kids and adults. During the match, numerous merchandisers were ably circling the sectors, selling mainly snacks and drinks as well as... umbrellas with the Peñarol logo – to my surprise a young couple next to me bought the gadget with an apparent satisfaction.
The venue was built to facilitate the first ever World Cup Championship in 1930, the first match was played on 18th July that year (Uruguay defeated Peru 1:0). Worth noting, the same stadium hosted the final match (Uruguay vs. Argentina 4:2). Today, Estadio Centenario is shared by the two greatest Montevideo rivals: Peñarol and Nacional.
The event was surveilled by the police, including a horse patrol with a headcount of four: two policemen and two horses). They jawed a youngster ostentatiously enjoying a beer straight from the bottle – he decided not to argue (with neither the policeman nor his horse) and drew away to finish off the consumption and ensure some extra power before entering the stadium.
At the only (!) “outlet” with club souvenirs I was looking for a Peñarol jersey – just to commemorate my visit to the Uruguay’s most famous Club stadium. The local entrepreneur did not expect any demand for a XXL size. Since he looked depressed I offered him some mercy and bought a cap (made in China).
The hosts dominated the game in its entirety and Bella Vista looked smothered. The league table leaders were playing with the red lamp after all. I was personally expecting some technical, “Latin typical” football, however a lot of fight and violent solutions could be observed. The audience left no shadow of doubt which result was expected – Peñarol delivered the win yet a score slaughter was never on the horizon.
Peñarol have mostly Uruguay nationals in the team, except the goal keeper (Argentinian) and left back – Paraguay’s Torres (if any relative of Chelsea’s Fernando, must be very far). Pacheco (no. 8 on the jersey) appeared on the pitch in the second half, bringing a lot of inspiration into the game and made the spectacle more vigorous, performing on the fringe of creativity and flippancy hence protecting the match from boredom lurking from around the corner. Pacheco is a pretty distinctive individual: the way he moves resembles Charlie Chaplin, if t had not been for the age (36) he might have landed in a notebook of some scouts from the European leagues.
A nice surprise after the match: same taxi driver who brought me to the stadium, was waiting for me to drive me back to the hotel. We talked football the entire trip (he spoke very decent English since he spent 5 years in Canada) which seems to be a perfect platform for communication – regardless of origin, race and age of interlocutors as well of the geographical coordinates of the conversation.