Tuesday, November 08, 2022

A football weekend in Portgual

We really loved our city break to Porto in July, but probably saw less of the city than we would have done as it was so hot and we discovered a great beach suburb - Foz - just north of the city. 

 One of the highlights though was the FC Porto museum and stadium tour, which whetted our appetites for a return to an actual game. I got the sense that FCP were a bit like Barcelona - more than a club, but a symbol of their city's defiance of capital dominance. So much of the museum exhibits seethed with indignation at age-old injustices, refereeing decisions and scandals. 

And so as we plotted a return it might as well have been Porto v Benfica, O Classico. We paid over the odds for tickets from a risky touts website but it was worth it. All told it was an incredible spectacle if a little more sedate and less aggro than one might have expected. The result (0-1) and the sending-off for the home team reinforced their deep sense of grievance. But Portuguese football is good. There was some great football at times, you can see why they’re both competing so well in the Champions League this season. 

We then fancied looking into another game to make it a weekend of football tourism. We got on a local train to historic Guimares and took a trip to see Vitoria SC v Boavista FC, Porto's other team. If the O Classico was a top Premier League clash of the giants, this was a slightly aggy semi-derby (say, Wigan v Blackburn Rovers) and it even rained incessantly. What a game though. Sending off, a penalty, mistakes aplenty, aggro, pyro and the best possible result in any football match, 3-2. 

These trips also represent the 167th and the 168th stadiums I've watched football on. The Groundhopping adventure continues.

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