For The Karikuy blog, Eleanor writes about her first ever soccer match after being treated to the full-on South American soccer experience.
Attending my first soccer match ever is one thing, but getting to experience it in South America is another. The match was between Universitario and Alianza Lima: two big rivalry teams in Peru who have been battling it out for over 60 years.
Julio is a Universitario fan so I instantly became an obligatory supporter too – and I’m pretty sure I made the right choice, despite their pastey-coloured uniform.
I knew it was going to be a risky affair: passionate football fans in what I’d consider to be a fairly dangerous city. I’d been warned against bringing my camera – last time Julio took a foreigner one crazed fan attempted to rip her bag from her. Rock-throwing and riots are also common at these kinds of events.
The two rivalry teams unveiling their banners
Initially, we had to walk towards the stadium quite briskly to avoid any brawls outside the entrance gate. Once we were in, it was a little safer as we’d purchased the slightly more expensive tickets which meant we weren’t in the general section (and I’m really glad that we did).
A fight broke out in the general section above the Alianza Lima fans. Yellow plastic chairs, tables and large umbrellas were thrown around at each other, and then a few angry supporters began throwing them off the roof, into the crowd about 100 metres below.
Next thing, several spot fires broke out (all in the Alianza Lima section) and the police with their shields, big black boots and weapons came barging in. Rather than put the fires out, they charged at people in the crowd to prevent them from fueling the fire with confetti and other paper. It was a little surprising they didn’t have fire extinguishers on hand. Instead they stomped on the fire or waved their shields at the fire (didn’t quite help!).