I’ll keep this one short and sweet. With the Maracanã closed for Olympic renovations in Rio it would be Sao Paulo that I would get to keep up my country a game football passion. My Brazilian step family having earlier read this blog organised to take me to a game. It would be one of the fiercest rivalries in Brazil – the Sao Paulo derby between Palmeiras and Corinthians. I had it easy getting tickets to this game. They were organised in the best section and all I had to do was turn up with my ticket. So I went a day prior to the match to get the tickets with Robbie and his son Enzo. Surprisingly, the gate was open and we were able to walk out near the empty pitch at the Paceumbu stadium. I dreamt of the goals I would have scored back in my heyday. Yes, probably own goals.
It was a Palmeiras home game but as a Coldplay concert (yes it happens all over the world) was at their usual ground, they would play at the historic Pacaembu. A couple of stadium facts. It was built in 1940, used for the 1950 World Cup but probably more importantly in 2005 used for the first pit stop in the Amazing Race 9.
I was an instant Palmeiras fan (and their nickname the Green Pigs seemed to fit as well). I write this post wearing my Palmeiras jacket (find me a bandwagon and I’m on it). Game day we had lunch at home before heading to the game. It was a men only affair with Robbie, Enzo, cousin Felipe and Uncle Taki all heading to the game. The surrounding streets were closed so beers for the walk were a must. As per normal for games in South America the away fans (Corinthians) have to be seated well before game time and arrive in a separate entrance which is then blocked from street traffic. It was wise not to wear green on the walk to the game in case we were to run into a crazed Corinthian fan. We later found out there had been some drama between rival fans http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-soccer-brazil-saopaulo-death-idUKKCN0X00VB
Once at the stadium, Palmeiras fans drank beers (us) and let off fireworks in the car park (not us). It was sort of like tailgating without cars and the atmosphere was pretty intense.
We made it to our seats to watch the game. Whilst the stadium wasn’t completely full the atmosphere was electric. With Felipe by my side he ensured my swearing in Portuguese was of the highest standard.
The Palmeiras fans sung with aplomb whilst I couldn’t see the Corinthian fans as they were behind a high fence down in one corner. Every time they started to sing the home fans drowned them out with whistles (me included of course). As far as the game quality goes this was quite good and really heated up in the 2nd half. Corinthians were awarded a controversial penalty which was sensationally saved by the Palmeiras keeper. Two miutes later Palmeiras scored the winner with a header which sent the crowd (me included once again, told you I was a band wagoner) into raptures. Game set match and a victory for Palmeiras who were captained by former Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Brazilian legend, the 41yr old Ze Roberto, the only man older was one of the ballboys! (see below). I knew I wasn’t too old for a professional football career.
We left the game, took off all traces of green clothing and grabbed a beer for the walk home. Palmeiras for life! I even just got the tattoo (joking mum). It was a great finish to my time in South America and left me looking forward to the Europe part of the journey and my next game, hopefully in Barcelona.
Masso official game ratings
Atmosphere – 8/10 (last 15 mins was a 10)
Game Quality – 8/10
Match Food & Drinks – N/A (They sell acai and alcohol free beer) but we loaded up before and after
Police presence 7/10 (heavy for Aus standards but light in comparison to Argentina and Chile)