Mexico

7th October 2018 - Liga MX Apertura (Tier 1) - Cruz Azul 2-1 Monterrey - Attendance, N/A.

We visited the iconic Azteca Stadium for a Mexican top division game. It was of particular interest to me being the location of the famous ‘Hand of God’ incident back in 1986. The attendance would be much lower than that day as Cruz Azul were the home team and this is not their usual stadium (they are using the Azteca and ground sharing with Club America this season). No official attendance was announced but we figured it to be about 25,000 but this looked a lot less in the gigantic 87,000 capacity arena.

On arrival we were ushered to our seats and were surprised to find that we had booked tickets in an area that had all food and drinks inclusive. This was all the more surprising as we didn’t actually realise it was free until about half time. However, as we didn’t even have to leave our seats to get a beer I was already on my 4th pint by the time the first goal went in on 17 minutes. It came for the visitors, sending their small army of fans into rapturous chanting. The home support responded by booing and starting their own wave of ‘Azuul! Azuul!’ chants. This seemed to have the desired effect as shortly later their team was level from a very dubious looking penalty call. Minutes later and the game was effectively over as the away team had a man sent off for a dangerous looking challenge. It took until midway through the second half for Cruz Azul to strike the winner, a beautiful header from a set piece sealing the win.

Pete Mel