On the 21st of January 2019 students of La Herradura went to watch the fierce rivalry between the two major teams of Uruguay, Penarol and Nacional. Both teams are hugely historic and important to the identity of many Uruguayans. The fusion of the already established Montevideo football and uruguay athletic club led to the formation of Nacional in May 1899. The colours (red, blue and white) of the flag representing nacional are based on Uruguay’s national hero Jose Gervasio Artigas, who was a key figure Uruguay’s struggle to gain independence from the colonial powers. Penarol derives its name from the Penarol neighbourhood of Montevideo. The club was established in 1891 by British workers at the central uruguayan railway company

Although the game was only a friendly game as the season only starts in March, the magnitude of the rivalry meant there was no love lost between the two teams. Indeed in the first 15 minutes of the games both teams had a player sent off, reducing them both to 10 men for the remainder of the game. At the start of the game many fireworks were set off and flares were set alight. I was standing next to a hardore Nacional fan holding a flare with embers flying everywhere. We decided before he burnt us to move a couple of seats along. Unlike in England, the sale of alcoholic drinks is prohibited in Uruguayan stadiums as the chance of violent outbreaks with the sale of alcohol would be very strong. Despite the fact that the quality of football was clearly lacking amongst both teams, you got the feeling that that and the result weren’t the most important things. Despite Nacional’s eventual 2-0 both sets of fans were singing in full spirit right until the end.


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