One of the most important games of the Mexican Primera season will be played this weekend, as Chivas de Guadalajara travel to Estadio Azteca to face Las Aguilas del America. The match-up represents a deep-seeded rivalry between the two sides, who are generally considered the two most popular teams in Mexico. Sunday's game will be the 153rd edition of the "Clasico Nacional," and this year there are a few new angles to this historic rivalry.
One special highlight of this season's edition of the clasico is the coaches for each team. Chivas manager Fernando Quirarte and Club America manager Fernando Tena were both key figures of the rivalry during the 1980s and early 1990s. Quirarte was a member of the Guadalajara team during the 1980s that earned multiple trips to the finals and positioned themselves as one of the league's top teams. In the 1986-87 season, Quirarte helped Chivas finish first in the league table, defeating Cruz Azul in the championship to earn the club its 9th title. On the other hand, Alfredo Tena was part of the "golden years" of America, during which the club won a total of five titles in a span of ten years. One of the special championships won by Alfredo Tena with America was during the 1983-84 season, when Las Aguilas faced rivals Chivas in the finals, beating them 5-3 over two matches.
During the 1970s and 1980s the matches between America and Chivas were intense, and many times the games deteriorated into violence. One of the most memorable fights between the two teams was on August 17, 1986, a game in which both Fernando Quirarte and Alfredo Tena participated. Though violence on the field is not something many players like to talk about, this brawl has become one of the most memorable events in clasico history. The massive fight led to the suspension of the game, which was the first time a clasico was suspended due to violence on the field. The clash also resulted in the suspension of all 22 players on both teams. For their part, Tena and Quirarte were suspended four games apiece. A month and a half later, the remaining 18 minutes of the suspended game were finally played, and the final score ended with a 1-0 victory for America.
Though all clasicos have a certain special attraction, this season will be the first time these two icons face each other on opposing benches rather than on the field. This adds a new element to a rivalry already weighed down by history and two deeply passionate fan bases.
Below is a video of the 1986 brawl, where a young Alfredo Tena (Club America #4) and a young Fernando Quirarte (Chivas #3) -- along with their respective teammates -- exchange swings and kicks in what is still the biggest brawl in clasico history.