UEFA Cup: Real Racing Club at PSG
Ten years and five months ago, my friend, Tom Fry and I stood outside the Parc de Princes Stadium in Paris trying to buy a ticket to the World Cup group stage match between Uruguay and Brazil. It was one of only a handful of games in which I tried to attend but could not get into the stadium. Although tickets were available, scalpers wanted around $400 for the match, which we thought was too expensive. Instead we watched the match with some Argentineans a few blocks from the stadium.
On Thanksgiving night, I was back at the Parc de Princes for the 2008-09 UEFA Cup group phase match. The two teams playing were Paris’ club team PSG (Paris Saint-Germain) and, a Spanish team with the unusual team name, Real Racing Club Santander.
Suspecting that Parisians did not support their soccer club very well, I assumed I could buy a ticket from the box office rather than try to negotiate for a ticket in French; I was right. I bought a ticket for 25 euros from the box office and walked back to the Brasserie (French for beer hall) that I had passed along the way from the metro stop. The brasserie was packed with Real Racing Club fans singing, dancing and drinking just as they had been when we were at the bottom of the Eiffel Tour earlier in the day. With an hour before the match this seemed like an entertaining place to relax before the game.
What I had not realized was that I had bought a ticket in the PSG supporters section and that the area was general admission. The section was crowded, while the more expensive sections were relatively empty. I was able to find a safe seat (a few empty seats around me and away from the flares).
PSG scored two goals in the first half to take a 2-0 lead. PSG also scored an own goal to make the score 2-1 at the half. Santander’s second goal was one of the most amazing goals I have ever witnessed. Gonzalo Colsa shot the ball about 30 yards away and into the upper right corner of the goal. The game ended in a 2-2 tie.
I met the Ultimate Sports Wife at the Dix Bar (or ten bar) for some post match Sangria. Rather than charge by the pitcher, this bar charges by the person – 3.30 euros each. If you are with 3 people but do not want to go to the bar multiple times, order a pitcher for more than 3.