How brave are the supporters of Racing Club de Avellaneda! Barely surviving in the Primera over the last few years, operating with an unremarkable roster of players, massive financial problems, the Racing people displayed a show of strength and uncompromisable affection for their beloved club on Sunday, as they always do for the “super classico??? of Avellaneda. After Boca- River, perhaps the greatest derby in Argentina is Independiente – Racing, two giants of Argentine futbol based in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Avellaneda. Historically Independiente have been much more successful than Racing, but somehow much of the Buenos Aires working class remains faithful to the team known in Argentina as “La Academia??? for its revered youth system that generated many sensational players over the years. Peron was a Racing fan.
In a typically charged atmosphere, Independiente, playing as visitors, took control of the game quickly and within a half hour went up 2-0. Racing seemed outmatched, playing without flow, without control, without inspiration. After creating very little in the first half, Racing could only dig into their pride and their people sensed it. At halftime, down 2-0 at home to the eternal rival and without much realistic hope, the Racing masses caught emotional fire before the teams stepped back on the field for the second half.
Tens of thousands of voices went into a deafening series of chants culminating with the classic “Acadeeeee, Acadeeeee, Acadeeeee!!!??? and four minutes into the second half the stadium went into delirium when Racing capitalized on its first real chance of the match, a beautiful counter-attack finished clinically. With the supporters lifting them, Racing players struggled and fought, but it was Independiente that looked more likely to score next.
With 20 minutes left, Racing missed the what would have been a spectacular equalizer when it’s central defender, alone in front of the goal, headed a perfect cross over the empty net. There was a sense of fleeting miracle. After that, Independiente resumed its control and came close to finishing off the game several times. Racing’s players, as usual, did not lack fighting spirit, but they were simply not technical enough, too imprecise. Independiente won the Avellaneda super-classico for the 9th consecutive time and celebrated at the end of the match with their supporters, while Racing people went home with their pride relatively intact and with hope for a better day.