Sunday, November 19, 2006

Catholica are blessed

Santiago, Chile. My schedule here has not permitted me to go to a match, but after three days of tough negotiations I relaxed last night by watching the replay of one of the day´s games on television. The Catholic University of Chile (better known as Catholica) and rated as one of the better teams in Chile were playing Cobrelda (of whom I know nothing). It was appropriate to support the home side as I had visited the campus earlier in the work and discovered that they had an English patron saint, St.Thomas More.

The stadium was not that large and seating was provided on bleachers on the American model. Cover was very limited and the capacity not that large and not filled. I would estimate the crowd at about 5,000. The most fanatical portion of the home crowd were singing a rather attractive song continuously throughout the match to a drumbeat. While singing they did a kind of jig which they kept up for several minutes after the end of the game. The orange clad supporters of the away side also made a lot of noise from their pen.

The producer often liked to show shots of attractive women in the crowd, one in particular even being featured leaving the ground. A woman fixing her belt also attracted prolonged attention.

I would compare the standard of play to the Championship. It was less fast than the Premiership, passing was fluent and accurate and the game was free flowing, but the finisihing was often poor. Catholica were also helped by their brilliant keeper Wirth who kept them in the game.

When an opposition player took a corner he was greeted by a howling mob behind mesh. A solitary policeman held a perspex shield upwards as a defence against missiles.

The game was decided by a penalty for Catholica early in the second half. The opposition keeper went in for great drama, marching up to the penalty keeper and then going to acclaim his supporters behind the goal. It was to no avail.

Any tackle led to a player rolling over in agony but the young referee had a good game while the linos understood the offside rule. After the game the referee was surrounded by a phalanx of policemen and escorted off the pitch.

Later today I travel to Argentina, leaving behind this modern and dynamic country which has a long history of friendship with Britain. Everyone in Chile from the country´s leadership to indigneous peoples in the barrio have made me mmost welcome and I am sorry that I cannot stay longer. However, I think that I have had enough of being constantly photographed.


Blogger TimanfayAir said...

Hmmmm, not used to seeing "real" football then.
I can offer you one serious piece of exploration, try to get to Millmoor, Home of the Millers, ROTHERHAM UTD.
We are giving allcomers some lessons, even drawing with the European Champions NOTTINGHAM FOREST!!!!
Are they still champions or was that a while ago?

1:46 PM  

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