Walk out into the stands Bombonera, Boca Junior’s stadium, and the crowd goes wild. Not because of you, alas, but because they are just generally going wild in the Bombonera.
The noise echoes, and somewhere in the distance you can hear drumming – closer inspection makes you realise there is a band playing in the Boca fans’ home stand. This isn’t like going to see Coventry City in England, you think. It is more intimate. You get carried away with the crowd, with the match, with the players of the beautiful game.
It is to do with the architecture as much as the fans’ passion – the Bombonera’s pitch is tiny, and as a result the rows of chairs reach right to the edge of the turf. The stands are steep, making for a deep bowl shape, around which the noise echoes, intensifying the buzz.
Your guide points out the yellow chairs in the stand opposite, and says that is where Maradona sits, in his ‘box for life’, a special section dedicated to the club’s most famous ever number ten.
And then the match starts. Forty-five minutes of drama, with the fans going wild, the chants and music intensifying as the whistle draws near. Lanús scores, their fans go crazy. The rest go sombre. But only for a second, then the drumming starts again, and there is more urgency in the beats this time.
Half time. A gaggle of cheerleaders with the best arses this side of the equator dance for the man himself, and the rest of the fans, keeping the blood pressure and atmosphere high. Then we’re off again. More drama, a goal by Boca Juniors and the final whistle. One all. A draw. Disappointing score. Dramatic atmosphere.
Not being such a big football fan, for me it is more about the experience than the match itself. Lanús vs Boca? Why do I care who wins? But looking around the crowd, that is where it’s at.
Now this is the kind of football I can do.
If you feel like going to see a match, Go Football can get you there. They offer a round-trip service from your hotel or apartment to the stadium and back, with tickets included for the best seats, giving a great perspective on the game. Their bilingual guides will answer any questions you may have, from the history of the stadium to the teams’ rivalry.