The state govenor "liberated" the Maracanã for the Copa Libertadores match betwen Flamengo and Universidad do Chile, scheduling the game for 16:00 hrs on a Thursday afternoon. This seems an odd time to hold a game in a region of the city that was so recently paralized by flooding, as the end of the game would nicely co-encide with the evening rush hour. Additionally, the ticketing mechanisms for the stadium continue to operate at maximum inefficiency. When I approached a ticket booth earlier in the day, I was told that they weren't selling tickets. Which begs a series of questions not the least of which being, why open the booth if you're not going to sell anything? Unfortunately for these fans, one of the few things to start on time in Brazil is a football match.
The Maracanã had flooded badly in the days before the game (oglobo foto) and the play reflected the horrible state of the pitch. I went to the game with Mike Raco who was visiting from King's College London who said that going to the Maracanã had always been a dream of his - and the experience did not dissapoint. Despite all of the problems, floodings, delays, incompetent management, and (on this day) poor level of play - the stadium continues to evoke wonder. The 2014 project will ruin much of this beauty, shutting out the sky - so look now people, as this scene is going to disappear very soon.
I can't say I was disappointed when U. Chile equalized in the 91st minute as one doesn't have to walk far in this city to hear a Flamenguista going on and on about glories both invented and real. It's always special to go to the Maracanã, even when it's flooded and in order to get to the Metro you have to jump over a railing in order to keep your feet dry.