Argentina has a passion for football that is above anywhere else, especially for club football and especially when there is a derby or Clasico encounter. Buenos Aires is famed for the Boca v River Superclasico but there are many others, often nearly as intense, and not only in the Argentine capital. The Rosario version is far from friendly and, in the north, there is the Tucuman Clasico. When Atletico Tucuman play San Martin Tucuman, the atmosphere is stunning.
The Stunning Atmosphere of Atletico Tucuman v San Martin Tucuman
Tucuman – A Long Way From Buenos Aires
San Miguel de Tucuman is in the north of the country, some 1300 kilometres from Buenos Aires and the journey can take over 15 hours by bus. The centre has that traditional feel and typically old style architecture. Some of it crumbling, as, in parts, is the stadium of Atletico Tucuman, which is a long way from the Premier League or La Liga. Here, the fans pack into the open terraces and shout their support for their team.
Noise, Smoke and Choreography
As the teams appear we get a cacophony of noise, blue and white smoke and a fearsome piece of choreography. An elderly lady nearby stays seated, having no doubt seen it all before. But most join in the chanting and the celebratory songs. It is both stirring up the home side but also meant to intimidate the opposition. It is an awesome spectacle.
But on the Field, It Doesn’t Work Out
After the smoke had cleared, the much higher-ranked Atletico set about their rivals and they were in front within ten minutes. The 35,000 home fans roared their approval. It got better for Atletico at the beginning of the second period when a cross was turned in to give them a two-goal lead but San Martin quickly responded to cut the deficit. With the home team looking increasingly edgy, their local rivals pressed forward and scored twice within two minutes for a famous 3-2 victory, all of which was received in total silence.
Great While It Lasted
It had been a great start but, as happens, games don’t always end well and it was the San Martin players, coaches and substitutes (there were no away fans allowed in the stadium) who were jumping for joy at the conclusion. The home fans, though, generally accepted the result and gave their heroes a decent send-off. This time, it was the away team who could claim the local bragging rights in Tucuman. They had overcome the atmosphere.