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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Club Oriental de Lisboa play in the second tier of Portugal's soccer pyramid. The same level as the Championship (England), Segunda Division (Spain), Serie B (Italy), and Bundesliga 2 (Germany).
A few kilometres away are the luxury stadiums of Benfica and Sporting Lisbon who play at just one level higher. What a different and far away world the Campo Engenherio is.
The stadium has a capacity of 8,500 which is mainly concrete terracing. It has floodlights and a small area of cover to protect you from the sun, but no luxurious seats. The ground has had a lick of paint in the club’s maroon and white colours and it offers views of The River Tagos from behind the one goal, but that's about all there is to describe.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Behind the stand in the clubhouse/bar you can purchase sandwiches and that's it, so eat well before you arrive. Recommended though is the local beer which is good and dirt cheap at 80 cents a glass.
With low crowds and poor facilities you won't get much of an atmosphere here, but if you want to experience two totally different worlds of Portuguese soccer then a visit here is a must. From the minute you park and see the eagle painted on the stadium's exterior wall you know you're in for something different. Also, if you love the sun then watching football from the sun drenched terraces also adds to the occasion as long as you have the suntan lotion on hand.
There is nothing around the ground at all so don't arrive too early. Lisbon itself is one of my favourite cities and one I have visited on many occasions. The area around the Belem Monastery is the main area to visit. It sits on the bank of the River Tagos and most of Lisbon's landmarks, including the Belem Tower, are here. The home of Lisbon's third soccer club C.F. Belenenses is at the back of the monastery.
The city has many bridges including Ponte Vasco de Gama which is the longest bridge in Europe. The Christ the King statue sits at the entry to the city via Lisbon's oldest Abril Bridge.
Lisbon has many late night shopping centres and offers a whole host of different cuisines. Hotels are plentiful and reasonably priced. On this visit I stayed in the Leziria Parque Hotel located on the outskirts of the city in Povos, Vila Franca de Xira and is recommended.
A group of fifty or so supporters sang and played their musical instruments throughout the game during my most recent visit.
Those who chose to do this rather than go and watch Benfica or Sporting Lisbon are the true football supporters and a credit to the sport. Supporters and club officials are very helpful and friendly. The club have recently returned to the second tier for the first time since 1989, but I doubt that they would be allowed to play here if they were ever promoted again to the first division.
The stadium is around eight kilometres from the city centre and is difficult to find. The best route is to drive north from Belem following the banks of the Tagos for around six kilometres passing Cais do Sordre Railway Station. Once you get to the Marvila district it is best to ask. There is a small car park at the ground where the cost is just one euro. Plenty of parking is also available on the surrounding streets.
You pay for what you get and the standard of football is not good here. However, entry is cheap at 10 euro and you have the views of the River Tagos as well. Tickets are purchased from the ticket office windows on the outside of the stadium.
Leaving the game I drove straight to watch Benfica and in the space of a few hours had watched football in both of Portugal's top two leagues. It's hard to believe that Club Oriental are just one level below their illustrious and near neighbours, yet in terms of facilities they are planets apart. Whether your sport is soccer, the gridiron, or baseball days like this make those of us devoted to stadium journeys and our own personal pleasure worth every minute of effort we put in.
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