As an Englishman, when I came to visit my friend Javier in Mexico City last year I morbidly wished to go and see a game at the Estadio Azteca, the location of the famous hand of God gaol by Diego Maradona which saw the English side knocked out of the 1986 world cup. I had been to Mexico to visit Javier before but I had never been to see a game, and it just so happened that it was Cruz Azul vs Club America whilst I was there, two teams from the city who now play int the same stadium. We got the tickets and headed way down south of the city for the experience, and here are my observations from the experience.
There is a far more liberal attitude here in Mexico towards musical instruments and things like that so the noise was incredible, not to mention the fact that there was a full house with over 80,000 in there. At first I was deafened by the sound but good old Javier Burilllo leaned over and told me that this isn’t the half of it, and as the game progressed I realized that he was absolutely right.
Everything is managed very strictly in the UK around buying food and drinks but here in the stadium there was just about everything that you could want available and being sold right to your seats. No matter if you wanted a cigarette, a Pot Noodle or a stick of candy floss, you name it and they sold it with men and women passing through the crowd stocked up to the rafters looking to make some money.
The game sadly finished 0-0 but I have to say that the style of football was very entertaining and very much attacking focused, despite the scoreline. It would appear that there is not much defensive coaching done in this league and the more games that I watch from Liga MX the same I feel. This is a game of pure passion with some very tough challenges, and some very late ones, and a great amount of attacking play from start to finish. We did get 2 red card decisions which was at least a little bit of entertainment for the fans.
Something which I really did enjoy was that whilst there was a clear home and away end, there were many areas of the stadium which had people wearing both team’s kits and there was absolutely no problems at all. I get the feeling that the more hardcore fans are separated but beyond that everyone was mixing in well and having a good of banter between each other, which is exactly what you want to see.
All told this was an amazing experience, not only to be at the stadium where all of that history lives but also to watch a packed house and an entertaining game in a different country.