Argentina Wins, Diego Belly Flops

11 Oct

Last night was the big game: Argentina vs. Peru. This was a qualifying match to see if Argentina would continue on to the World Cup. The first half went by mostly uneventfully and with no scoring. But quickly after the 2nd half started Argentina scored the first goal of the game. Cars were honking in the streets and a few shouts could be heard. Then the rain started to come in.

From where I was watching at a friends apartment, we had a view of the skyline towards the port. The horizon was ablaze in purple and yellow from the thunderstorm, and we marveled in the waves of rain that pounded down on the streets, flooding everything. The game almost became difficult to watch, as it rained so heavily that the screen looked white-washed.

And then the game was in stoppage time, with 2 minutes until it was over. It was still 1-0, and Argentina just had to hang on. But suddenly, with maybe a minute and a half left, Peru scored. It was madness, and you could literally feel the air coming out of the country. It seemed like people might explode with the lightning.

They wouldn’t give in, however, and Argentina charged down the field. There had to be only 30 seconds left in the game, and suddenly in the right place at the right time, Martín Palermo stuck out his leg and the ball zoomed into the back of the net. In the insanity of the storm it was so hard to see, and anything could have happened. As the ball went into the next lightning went off on cue, the crowd and announcers went nuts, and Palermo ripped off his shirt and ran around wild. Then they cut to coach Diego Maradona, and he quickly did two belly flops into the wet field, dancing around like a child. It was impressive.

Though Peru threatened down the field again with just seconds left, the game clock finally ended, and the stadium was crazy. So Argentina held on and somehow, as these things often happen, two goals were scored consecutively, making the final score 2-1. Argentina isn’t out of the woods yet, though. On Wednesday they’ll travel to Montevideo to play Uruguay. Both teams are playing for the final spot, so it will definitely be a good match to watch.

Above: Diego Maradona dives in the rain. Photo courtesy of Clarín.

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