A night at the Libertadores: Matchgoing Experience in Argentina
With unmatched atmospheres, tension in every match and unpredictable results, the matchgoing experience of the Copa Libertadores is truly like nothing else
Ever wondered how it is to live a high-stakes Copa Libertadores night? The electrifying atmosphere beforehand, the tension inside the stadium and the release of a much needed goal, it was all present in this match between Argentinian sides, as Vélez Sarsfield hosted Estudiantes de La Plata on the last match day of the Copa Libertadores group stage.
For Vélez, it was a do-or-die match. Less than a week from their dramatic clash with Nacional in Uruguay (where they rescued a win at the 94th minute), they needed to win and hope for a draw or a Nacional win in the other match in the group, as the Uruguayans took on RB Bragantino from Brazil. Luckily for them, Estudiantes had already guanteed themselves the first place in the group and was looking to save some starting players, looking forward to the Round of 16.
Outside the stadium, a huge mass of Vélez fans were getting ready
...and as we enter the stadium, we can see a big crowd is gathering for what will be one of the tensest matches in the cup.
After the pre-match preparations by both teams, and with over 25,000 people in the stadium, the crowd was roaring as the players entered the pitch for the start of the match.
For all the tension beforehand, the match was a fairly straightforward affair, with Vélez going 2-0 ahead thanks to two mistakes by the Estudiantes defence. As the second half was set to begin, the crowd was letting their players know it was a good match so far. There was also good news from across the Rio de la Plata, as Nacional was beating Bragantino, taking them to seven points, enough to secure third place and a Copa Sudamericana spot, but most importantly taking Bragantino out of the contest.
Another two goals in the second half sealed the match, that looked set for a Vélez win after a Estudiantes defender was sent off with a second yellow card around the 75th minute mark. In the dying minutes, the Vélez crown was going nuts.
The final whistle went with a massive roar, but it was only confirmation of something that people had known for a while, Vélez Sarsfield was in the Round of 16 of the 2022 Copa Libertadores. The crowd stayed for a long time cheering on the players
A final score of 4-0 went some way to avenge the 4-1 loss Vélez suffered when the two met in Estudiantes' home.
Even with clubs that aren't among the biggest or most laureate sides in their countries, the Copa will always be an ocassion, particularly when there's something as important to play for. The matchgoing experience of the Copa Libertadores is truly like nothing else. Now Vélez (and Estudiantes) continue into the Round of 16 of a competition they have both won, with Estudiantes taking the 1968, 1969, 1970 and 2009 editions, whilst Vélez won it in 1994.
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