Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The day I found my Salvadoran team

 Today I went to watch the classic match in Salvadoran football: Alianza versus FAS in the second leg semifinal of the tournament. The first leg had ended 1-1. 

I had until now not selected a Salvadoran team to support, but today I have chosen Alianza.

I guess it makes sense, they are from San Salvador, a team with history, and a passionate group of fans.

But it was the little things that made me decide to go for Alianza: although they were at home, the place was full of fans from Santa Ana, where FAS is from. A varied bunch, and although a generally quiet and good-natured atmosphere, they were certainly more aggressive and throwing things on the pitch.

A point against FAS.

FAS played a bit better the first half and started going ahead on an outstanding long-shot from Jonathan Nolasco. They created chances, but Alianza had the ball more, and it was an elegant run from their right-winger Anyelo Rodriguez that gave the home side the equalizer as he passed the left-back and centered, forcing the FAS defender Rudy Clavel to score an own goal, and a stadium that exploded.

A point for Alianza.

Alianza came out stronger in the second half, and although FAS fans were noisy and annoying, Alianza fans kept singing and supporting their side. Alianza pressed on while FAS tactics appeared mainly to waste time by acting and committing a lot of small dirty fouls (in my view they should have deserved a red card).

A point against FAS.

As the match appeared to be going into extra time, Leonardo Menjivar made an elegant run and shot from the right side, scoring a great goal and making the stadium explode.

A point for Alianza.

There were nevertheless six added minutes, and FAS started to play football again, and came very close to equalizing, amongst others on an elegant bicycle kick or a great long-shot, despite Alianza's feverish and heroic defending. Alianza's players looked very tired but they fought and held on to the onslaught.

A point for Alianza.

So Alianza is now my favourite Salvadoran team. They are not done nevertheless, as they will have to play the final this Saturday against a side from the Department of La Union, CD Municipal Limeño. They are from a small town, Santa Rosa de Lima, who have never won the championship before, so they will be up against the giant from Alianza, who is looking to win its 18th title.

And I will support Alianza.

Alianza vs. FAS

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