Welcome to the final piece in what was a truly incredible week for me in the Brazilian metropolis of São Paulo. I still live here, and will do until June, but I will never forget my first week and the footballing adventure that it took me on. This article covers the final game of the week before I headed back to Rio de Janeiro for Carnival, so it needed to be of a suitable occasion.
Fortunately, the Football Gods (and Brazilian fixture men) had placed a Clásico on my final day in São Paulo. Not just any Clásico either, but a battle between fierce rivals Corinthians and Palmeiras that would commemorate 100 years of the fixture. It was a big occasion in the city and a big occasion for me and the blog (kinda). The newspaper covers and TV channels were hyping the game up for a few days previously, so I already knew this was going to be a good one. Enjoy the finale…
Corinthians vs Palmeiras, Campeonato Paulista*, Arena Corinthians, 22/02/2017
The game was a 9:45pm kick-off, which would be enough to make the average tourist squirm slightly; the stadium lies in a more modest outskirt of the city, where crime is more prevalent than in the centre. It didn’t bother me too much though and I set off on the metro as the night set in. The Corinthians-Itaquera station sits on the other end of the line to the Palmeiras-Barra Funda station, making it a direct 1 hour trip between the two. I subsequently christened this the ‘Red Line Derby’, and hopped on at my station, Santa Cecilia, for the 40 minute trundle towards the Arena Corinthians.
The atmosphere was electric and as I got off my metro, I was greeted with the sight of about 50 Corinthians fans (seemingly ultras) who were going through the motions of their singing ‘routine’. If the late kick-off team risked any doziness among myself and other fans, these lads certainly perked us up. As with all the games, the fans passion was transferable and my sensors immediately lit up and ignited the buzzing feeling that football seems to impose on me. I made the 20 minute walk up the hill in a sea of white shirts and approached the unique structure that they call home.