Photo by Fabián Marelli, La NacionRiver Plate is the only team that can remotely challenge Boca's popularity. Originally, the two clubs were both centered in the city's Boca neighborhood, but in 1923, River moved to the more affluent (and safer) Nuñez area. Their stadium is the largest in the country. Fans of other teams often point out that the army built the stadium for them, but this often comes off as "stadium envy." When that doesn't work, they call them the Gallinas. This literally means "hens", but is of course calling them chickens. But of course female chickens. While in the past, River drew the more wealthy crowd, that, too has changed and there have been some rather dangerous and wild incidents at their stadium.
Photo by Mauro Alfieri, La NacionI made several efforts to obtain tickets to the Boca vs. River match today, but was unable to find one for less than 600 pesos. It was a gorgeous day, the first really cool one we've had this autumn (yes, it's autumn here - south of the equator and all). Unwilling to pay the same as the tourists, I had to resort to internet viewing. It really tamped down the intensity, particularly since nobody scored in the first half. But the second provided more excitement. When Boca took the lead on the left foot of Martín Palermo, people all over my neighborhood hollered "Gooooool! Gooool!!" Horns were honked. River countered just minutes later off a booming free kick that zoomed past the keeper. My neighborhood erupted again, though the noise came from a completely different set of people.
English highlights can be found here, but I think you'll agree the announcers are far too polite.
And that's where things ended. Maybe ending in a tie is still like kissing your sister, but they're certainly more accustomed to it here. And considering there are no playoffs unless there's a tie in the season's final standings (and you think the BCS is frustrating - that's a whole other blog post), they won't likely play each other again until the next season. But if you think about it, it will only make the next one that much more important. At least Boca won't get voted out of going to the Rose Bowl. I hope to get to some more games soon, but Boca River may have to wait until I get some sort of promotion or commit to a team so I can get season tickets. For now, it was an exciting day that the entire city paid attention to, the closest thing they have to a Super Bowl.