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This Sunday, hasn't been just another Sunday. The whole nation paralyzes for an hour an a half twice a year. The reason is...
Club de Futbol Atlètic de Barnanova vs. Associació Esportiva Ciutat de Barnanova
The major European cities have their own intra-city rivalry matches, called "derbies". Barnanova has a passion for football, and has its own derby, popularly called "The Clash". The rest of the league system is ignored during a week, and the two greatest football clubs in the nation take the lead.
The fierce rivalry between CFAB and AECB is as old as football in Barnanova. Fans of both teams are divided by their colours, but, as it also happens in many other cities across Europe and South America, politics are an important part of this rivalry.
Club de Futbol Atlètic de Barnanova
It was founded in 1903, being one of the oldest clubs in the nation. It was made of a mixture of English and Barnanovese naval workers, who wanted to try a new sport, which was beginning to rise all around the continent. They didn't play professionally until 1925, ten year later after the Barnanovese Football Federation and the Barnanovese National League were founded. Due to its humble beginnings, they have a large fanbase in Barnanovese lower and middle class,
Associació Esportiva Ciutat de Barnanova
Founded in 1906 as an aristocrats' hobby team, they gained relevance with the addition of the first professional players in Barnanova's history, who were regarded at first as "mercenaries". Since then, they've been regarded as the establishment team, a powerful institution and the team the upper class and the Royal Family roots for.
Both fanbases just hate each other. Hooligan wars were held during the 80s in the stadiums until the goverment passed strict laws regarding violence in stadiums and hooliganism. Nowadays, the situation is less fierce, but in Barnanova, it's not generally a good idea to talk about football when having lunch or in a social meeting. In fact, it is regarded as bad manners. The rest of the league teams have also it's fanbases, but these two teams take up the largest part of the pie.
Atlètic de Barnanova fans in the old stadium.
Ciutat de Barnanova fans
As you've seen football is serious business here. During the week before The Clash, the rest of teams, the rest of sports, dissappear, and the two big ones get all the media attention. The week is very long for football fans, but sooner or later, Sunday arrives...
Floodlights are still off. American football hashmarks (for Barnanova Almogàvers, the American football nation team) still have to be erased and the football markings ones still have to be painted for Sunday. 71,054 rabid CFAB fans will be seating in this modern colosseum on Sunday night to watch their team play, but also to intimidate their rivals, their enemies.
This stadium is known for being among the most intimidative in Europe, always behind the Turkish and Greek ones. The Ixterconnections Stadium becomes a large scale pressure cooker where the most fierce team is just dwarfed by fans.
Sunday passes by slowly... But finally, the sun sets and fans head to the stadium by car, rail, subway and bus.
Not a single car in the city's CBD, everybody's at home, or in a bar, watching the match with family or friends.
One more Clash, CFAB fans are up to the circumstances. Many fanbases in the world claim to be "The Twelfth Player", without a doubt, CFAB fans deserve to be one of them.
Soon, the first goal arrives:
A few minutes later, the AECB strikes back, with a fantastic goal.
After a drammatic match, the home team take the victory. When the match ends, as in every match here in the Ixterconnections Stadium, Atlètic players turn to the North Stand, where the most radical and creative fans gather, and greet them.
Another epic Clash is over now. Barnanova will calm down on Monday.
[borussia Dortmund? Manchester City? I know nothing...]