Duel between giants in Guayaquil!
Here we go for one of the most emblematic fixtures of the Ecuadorian championship. The local SC Barcelona de Guayaquil enjoys a vast popularity everywhere in the country. They are supported so much that they are even nicknamed ” El Idolo” (The Idol). Even when in Quito, where I am staying for my 6 months internship, it is impossible not to witness the omnipresence of the Guayaquil club’s fanbase. The day before the game, having secured my ticket, I hop on in one of the purest groundhopping adventures I have ever had.
It’s 11.00pm when I’m hoping on the night bus that will vertinigeously take me all the way down the Andes mountains to Guayaquil. In the early morning, and after 10 years of having lost contact with him, my father is greating me in Guayaquil. He has been living here for many years now, and he will be my guide this day to show me around the city.
As the night starts falling, we head to the stadium. As it is the case for most young football lover girls and boys , it was my father who first brought me to a football ground. Beyond the amazing fixture that we are going to attend, it is a whole symbol for the both of us to meet again in a stadium.
A classic of the Ecuadorian championship :
Guayaquil is the biggest city of Ecuador, and the first economic power. My initial objective was to attend the Clasico del Astillero (the Shipyard’s Classic). This game opposes the two teams of Guayaquil : SC Barcelona and Emelec. Together with Liga LDU de Quito, they form the big trio of the most supported clubs of Ecuador, with a significant advantage for SC Barcelona of Guayaquil in terms of number of fans.
Neither my relatives nor my father, who has been living in Quayaquil for many years were fine with the idea of me going to this game, which is considered one of the spiciest game of the South American continent. And since I didn’t know Guayaquil really well myself, and despite being fully integrated to the local culture, I decided to go to the game between Barcelona and Liga de Quito instead. It is a very appealing game as well, since this rivalry is taken on a national scale. But of course, the spicyness can be seen as minor, compared to the Derby. It must be said that on the occasion of the Guayaquil Derby, the city just turns into fire, for better and sometimes worse…
SC Barcelona – Liga de Quito May 2018
Let’s pass on the details and switch to football. If you have read the article on the first leg of this game that took place one week earlier in Quito (full article here), you know that before kick-off, the situation is the following. SC Barcelona is the leader of the championship being only two points ahead of the rival of the day Liga de Quito (they were 5 points ahead before the first leg, won by Liga). And this game will happen to be the final turning point of the championship this year.
Indeed, Liga de Quito will go back home with the 3 points of the day ( final score 0-1), and will take the 1st seat away from their opponent of the day without ever giving it back this season. Even if I am more of a sympathisant for the Quito side, I could not wait to discover the atmosphere of the Estadio Monumental of Guayaquil. This stadium is simply huge ! With its 65 000 capacity, it is the biggest stadium of the country, and one of the biggest of the continent. A true South American stadium, both in terms of architecture and atmosphere.
And there it is, right under my eyes. This little something brought by the latin culture. This little thing that we, stadium lovers, are looking for throughout our football trips. The activity in the stands is fascinating tonight, despite the poor sporting performance of SC Barcelona on the pitch, who clearly couldn’t live it up. The endless chants and the delirious dynamism of the Sur Oscura ultras are impressive ! They are standing there, a few meters away from me. Their energy is submerging me and I am vibing hell of good vibes.
All in all, this night was about a legendary stadium, in a deliciously exotic atmosphere. Ecuadorian football may not be the slickest on the pitch, but its atmospheres are for sure among the most incredible of the continent! Thanks Guayaquil.