The Barca-Espanyol derby may not be as well known as Inter-Milan, Boca-River Plate or Celtic-Rangers however you can bet the Barcelona face-off is big time in Spain. I’m not sure why I listed Celtic-Rangers. The Guardian’s Barry Glendenning once described the Scottish derby as “two pygmies fighting over who’s taller”.
The latest edition of the Barcelona derby kicked off on Saturday with the two teams battling it out on the pitch while their supporters got it on in the stands. The match was stopped after flares were thrown onto Espanyol supporters in the lower deck of Espanyol’s Olympic Stadium and all hell broke loose. In case you don’t think that’s a big deal, check this video from an Espanyol supporters section. Start at :40. You also get a bonus Spanish lesson. Use it at your local bodgea, cockfight or amateur midget rodeo and make new friends!
The match resumed and Barca pulled back two goals against 10-man Espanyol for a 2-1 win.
I don’t know why the fans are getting so worked up. It’s not like someone tried to throw a scooter on them from the upper deck Milan-style. Seriously, that’s some scary shit right there.
Years ago I was at a Brazilian derby match in Belo Horizonte which pitted Cruzeiro against Atletico Mineiro. Consider that I started the day walking into an Atletico bar wearing Cruziero colors. Sometimes playing the stupid American saves your life. So does leaving with utmost haste. The stadium itself had a moat surrounding the field to keep fans out and we were blocked in our section Yankee-Gestapo style by military police with german shepards. Some of the scenes from the upper deck were terrifying yet amazing. Police dogs and batons on fans, flares flying, people pissing where they stood and fighting. However there was also incredible camaraderie, endless singing and chanting as well as new levels of inebriation I didn’t know were possible.
Would I do it again? In a second. A big time derby is something every soccer fan should try to do in their lifetime. LA Galaxy vs. Chivas USA does not count. Think about it as a Soccer Hajj with multiple destination options. Just try to avoid the flares and flying bags of piss whenever you get where you end up.