Derbies of the Week: Belgrade, Porto, Turin and Sounders
Our derbies of the week this week covers Europe and beyond, with a very special interview soon to be online with our very own Vujanic, who travels to the Belgrade derby in his native Serbia this week.
Turin derby – Torino vs Juventus, 26th April, 14:00.
Known locally as the Derby della Molle, Torino traditionally attracts working-class, local and fiercly loyal fans from within the city of Turin itself, who see Juventus supporters as glory hunters; fans of the Zebrette are much more widespread across the peninsula and the world. The relationship between the fans is no holds barred: the Superga plane crash in May 1949 that killed the entire Torino squad has often been used by Juve fans as fuel for the fire. Equally, the Heysel disaster – the moment when a stadium wall collapsed during the 1985 European Cup Final killed 39 people, mostly Juve fans – is used by small sections of the Torino support.
Sideline ugliness aside, there have been some captivating clashes on the pitch. Just this year we saw a classic tie: Juve went 1-0 up from a Vidal penalty, only to see the score leveled by Bruno Peres. The score remained even until who else but Andrea Pirlo scored in the last minute of the game to hand victory to the Old Lady.
O clássico – Benfica vs Porto, 26th April, 17:00.
Not so long ago Porto were flying high, on the brink of a massive Champion’s League upset. Two days before the next O Clássico meeting and it’s a very different story: embarrassed at the Allianz, a loss at Benfica would put them six points behind their rivals with just four games to play in the league.
A rivalry borne from differences in history, culture and politics has been progressively compounded by the two teams tension at the top of the league. It is rare that the title goes to anyone else, and the tie on Sunday will be as heated as ever.
Cascadian Derby: Portland Timbers vs Seattle Sounders FC, April 27th, 02:30 (GMT)
The Seattle Sounders versus the Portland Timbers is perhaps the biggest Derby that the MLS has to offer. This rivalry dates back to 1975 when the Timbers and Sounders first faced off in the original NASL. The rivalry re-opened in 2001 as Cascadian clubs met in the USL. The supporters of the Sounders, Timbers, and Vancouver Whitecaps created the Cascadia Cup, which is a trophy that goes to the supporters group of the team that gets the most points out of their 6 season encounters.
The Sounders and Timbers have been in the MLS since 2009 and the rivalry has grown bigger then ever. Their matches in recent years have inspired some of the most interesting Tifos in North America, and their supporters groups are up to par with some of the best in Europe. Monday will be the first encounter between the northwestern giants since the Sounders took the trophy last year.
Check out our video from last season, where Eli went to Seattle to meet the Sounders’ supporter crews:
The Eternal Derby of Belgrade: Red Star vs Partizan, 25th April, 17:00
On Saturday night, Belgrade will become a cauldron of football passion. As Red Star take on Partizan Belgrade, the football world will be waiting with baited breath. The Grobari, are Partizan’s supporters while the Red Star supporters refer to themselves as the Cigani, or gypsies. Their rivalry has seen a spike in violence since Serbia’s independence, but this game is much more than that. The colours, passion, and tradition of these two clubs will be on display for the world to see. Furthermore, the match is going to take place in Red Star’s 50,000 seater Maracana stadium. Partizan are currently top of the table, 5 points ahead of Red Star with 7 matches left to play.
Eli went to the Eternal Derby last year and saw Partizan win at home against Red Star: