Montevideo… One of South America’s most popular cities comes to a stand still whenever the beloved Uruguayan national team play, or during ‘El Clasico’. Whether you watch football or not, every Uruguayan is watching this match. In South America, most football fans will tune into the Uruguayan ‘Clasico’.
Peñarol – Nacional is far more than a derby. For some, it’s a family rivalry, much like the Merseyside Derby. To put it into perspective, both my parents support Nacional, while my brother and I support Peñarol. For others, however, it’s hatred. The thought of seeing red, white, and blue or gold and black can infuriate fans into doing very regrettable things. Stadium destruction, police intervention, bench brawls, and banner theft are just some of the events that unfold in the Uruguayan ‘Clasico’. Uruguay’s national stadium has always hosted the derby, but this edition is the first one to be held in Peñarol’s brand new stadium.
After several adjustments to meet league standards, the ‘Campeon del Siglo’ (Champion of the Century) stadium is finally fit to meet all league regulations. After attempting to launch the stadium without fencing the stands, the Uruguayan football association demanded that the stands must be fenced in case of hooliganism (which is likely to happen).
Aside from footballing, the main source of entertainment can also be seen from the fans. These famous fanbases are known all across South America for their loyal support, especially during this famous match. Flares, drums, banners, and flags are some of the common tools used in the stands.
After crashing out of the Copa Libertadores in the group stages, Peñarol is nowfocusing on the league table, in order to win the title over their bitter rivals and secure a Copa Libertadores spot.However, both teams look to top the annual standings, although surprise leader Plaza Colonia is leading the Clausura by one point.
A rivalry considered by many as one of the worlds fiercest, Peñarol vs Nacional has been compared on several occasions to the likes of Boca Juniors vs River Plate, or even Fenerbahce vs Galatasaray. On May 14th all of South America will be watching the Uruguayan ‘Clasico’, and so should you.
Words by: Gaston Calzato