Monday, July 23, 2012

Ecuadorian Futbol

Yesterday night I headed to the Estadio Banco Pichincha with a few international students and an Ecuadorian friend from one of my classes. The game was between Guayaquil's Barcelona team--logo and name basically copied from Spain's Barcelona--and Quito's Liga Deportiva. I saw Liga a couple months back in August but the Venezuelan team wasn't too strong and we missed the only goal of the game. The atmosphere wasn't too strong because the game didn't matter much since it was a certain win, and the other game I went to in Cuenca had been last year during the World Cup--the teams playing weren't great so most people preferred to head to the bars to see the World Cup games. For those reasons, I'd have to consider last night's game an introduction to "real" Ecuadorian futbol matches.

Although Barcelona isn't the best team in Ecuador, their fans are known to be the most intense. Because we were heading to the game around rush hour, the city buses were out of the question and all of the radio taxis that are stationed near our ciudadela were occupied. We hailed down a yellow taxi, which is typically not the safest thing to do--but with the license printed in three different parts of the car, the photo matching the taxi driver, and taxi seguro on all sides of the car, it's considered the best option when you have no choice but to take a yellow taxi. The trip cost five dollars which isn't too bad given how far we were going and the fact that we overloaded the taxi. When he reached a point where traffic was too bad, he let us out and we followed the herd of Barcelona fans to the stadium for about 20-30 minutes.

We wasted a little time waiting for someone else to meet up with us so when we got into the stadium there were no seats left in the section we bought tickets for--Trifuna. The tickets cost $9/each and are a level above general admission. General admission is a section used primarily by the most intense Barcelona fans, and rarely are women found in that area. Fireworks and fights are fairly common in that area. Since the bleacher seats in Trifuna were full we remained standing behind the seats throughout the game.

Since the two teams playing are from the two largest and most important cities in the country (as the largest port city, Guayaquil is the business center of the country, while Quito, the capital is obviously the political center), it's obvious that there's a strong rivalry between the two teams. Like in every match, the fans for the opposing team are delegated a given area in which they are permitted to sit, to avoid fights between fans (although its still pretty common among fans of the same team).

By halftime the score was 1-0 Barcelona--with excitement circulating because Liga will fall to second place if they lose this game. However, soon after the second half began Liga scored their first goal. In the last five minutes or so of the game Liga had scored their second goal, resulting in many Barcelona fans (primarily families) leaving to get a head start on traffic, and some of the few Liga fans that were there trickling out to avoid confrontations with angry Barcelonistas. Barcelona came back to tie the game shortly after but Liga was able to break the tie in the very end of the game to get the win.

Note: This post was written in late October 2011 but left unpublished until July 2012. 

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