Arriving at Estadio Olímpico Patria for the final game of the season, there was a whole extra level of excitement and atmosphere. The Strongest were in town, and as one of Bolivia’s really big (well relatively) and successful sides, they attract a lot of glory hunters I think. They were also in with a chance of snatching the title away from arch rivals Bolivar (also from their home city of La Paz) – so it looked set to be a bumper attendance.

Another card dished out by the officious Bolivian ref...

The buzz outside the ground was amazing and to our surprise there was a huge line stretching away from the tiny little ticket hut at the front of the ground. Having bought tickets so easily for previous games we’d completely misjudged the importance of this one and joining the back of the que it appeared we may miss the kick off. Sure enough, 20 minutes after the game had started we were still shuffling along in what had no become a chaotic huddle around the ticket hut. Luckily just at that moment a tout passed us with tickets for the main stand – with a mark up of just 5 Bolivianos each (about 40p). I’d have happily paid quadruple the 25 Boliviano face value at that point just to get into the ground…

Walking in I expected to be greeted by a full house after all the fuss buying a ticket – but the ground was only half full. To be fair this is about 3 times the amount of people they seem to get for a regular home game, but with around 15,000 empty seats you’d think getting 300-400 people in before half time might be a bit easier. To add insult to injury our neighbour in the main stand informed us Universitario were 2-0, so we’d missed two unlikely (and as it turned out, fatntastic… see the video below) goals for the home side!

The big contingent of The Strongest fans had a fairly loud band amongst them and whilst the game was still up for grabs they kept the atmosphere going. When they got a goal back in the second half it looked set for quite an exciting finish, but they then immediately had their striker sent off after a cynical and absolutely shameful piece of acting by the home side’s goalkeeper. It was fairly embarrassing to watch and actually left me willing my adopted Bolivian team to lose for the remaining time.

Mmmm jelly and cream (with The Strongest fans in the background)

There was no reprieve for the hard done by The Strongest (is there are sillier name in world football?) and the game finished 2-1. A good end to the season for Universitario saw them climb to an almost respectable 8th in the table. The title ending up in the hands of Bolivar – Bolivia’s equivalent of Manchester United. I’m actually pretty disappointed the season’s over, I’ve enjoyed these games and they’re unbelievable value for money. It also means I’ll have to hold out till the start of next season to see any more matches here, which will mean missing any games in Peru and Ecuador I’d imagine – still the Copa America starts next month in Argentina with both Bolivia and Peru sending teams… that could be fun to watch from here!