Thursday, November 12, 2009

Talking About Stadiums

It was a night for saints and crowns last night in Torreon northern Mexico as old Corona Stadium stepped aside to make way for Territorio Santos Modelo, the football complex housing the new home ground of Santos Laguna.

Unofficial King of Futbol, Pele was there. Official King of Football, FIFA President Joseph Blatter cut one ribbon then legally elected King of the Republic, President Felipe Calderon cut another. As if to make it all very official, the king with the slowly tarnishing crown, unofficial King of Latin Pop, Ricky Martin played a concert and then, then in the grand finale of the evening, the saints played futbol.

In a hotly contested match – played at a pace and enthusiasm that surprised for an international friendly – home side Santos Laguna scored late to secure victory over invited namesake Santos of Brasil, 2 – 1.

The 30,000 fans in attendance showed all the right stuff this night, getting into it for the concert, reigning down whistles and jeers for their President, and making the switch to cheers as Pele strolled on to the pitch to re-stoke the fiesta. Which the footballer did as he and the crowd enthusiastically welcomed both Santos teams.

It's confirmed. The new Corona Stadium is in futbol territory after all.

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