10th February 2019 – Argentine Primera Division (Tier 1) – River Plate 2-0 Racing Club - Attendance, 60,000+

Whilst in Buenos Aires we were able to visit one of the most iconic clubs in world football at Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti.  It turned out to be a key fixture for the club too as they’d be hosting top of the table Racing Club.  Getting to the stadium was almost as remarkable as the game itself as we slowly sifted our way through three separate security check points.  Despite the strict nature of entry, it didn’t seem to matter that we all had tickets under false Argentinian names.  In total there was 16 of us, which made the experience all the more fun. 

The game was almost entirely a sell out, and the crowd were singing non-stop from the very first minute of the game, making for an incredible atmosphere.  On the pitch though, it struck me at how poor the standard was compared to other big European games I’d been to, with many first touches going astray and mis-placed passes being very common.  The away team were particularly disappointing, they clearly came here with no ambition to try and attack and their overall performance belied their position in the league table.  We were fortunate enough to witness two goals that night, each one setting the home fans into a frenzy, with the decibel levels rising further.  The first came after 31 minutes, a fine free-kick from a difficult angle, with the second a possible own goal after a poor shot from the attacker rebounded off an unfortunate defender’s head and into the net. 

The best was saved for last, as the fans chanted their way out of the stadium and continued into the streets, a very satisfactory night for them.

Pete Mel