The pride of Belgrade and the former Yugoslavia – Red Star Stadium, known to football fans as “Mala Marakana”, turned 50 today. The current capacity of the facility is 55,000 seats, and the Serbian national team also plays matches there. The stadium was built between 1960 and 1963, replacing the old pitch of 1927. The first match of the “Maracana” was played on September 1, 1963 against Rijeka – a 2: 1 victory for Red Star. The still incomplete stands are attended by 55,000 spectators, and the record this fall is in the derby against Partizan – 74,000. The following year, when the stadium was finally completed, the capacity increased to 95,000 seats.
Marakana’s first goal was scored by Trifun Mihajlovic, who scored in a friendly match against Zemun’s Jedinstvo. The first championship goal was scored by Vukoje from Rijeka, and Dušan Maravic was the first to score for Zvezda.
The most visited match in the history of the stadium was on April 23, 1975 in the semifinal against the Hungarian Ferencvaros in the tournament for the Cup of National Cup winners. At that time, 96,070 tickets were sold, but Maracana estimated that there were 110,000 spectators, which was the capacity at the time.
Meanwhile, it has been drastically reduced. Following the modernization and fulfilling the requirements of UEFA, the comfort of the fans and their safety is improved, which leads to a reduction of the stadium’s seats. Seats have been installed in all four stands and so today the seats are 55,538.
There are other facilities next to the field, such as auxiliary playgrounds, a medical center, as well as the museum of FC Red Star.
The final of the European Champions Cup on April 30, 1973 between Ajax and Juventus, which ended 1-0 for the Dutch, was played at the Maracana. 91 564 spectators are about to see this Football 7-aside match.
In the summer of 2008 a new drainage was made, the grass and lighting fixtures were replaced, and in 2010 new seats were installed in the east stand.
A number of concerts have been held at the Maracana. Zdravko Colic has three appearances, and among other popular names are Ceca and Aca Lucas. On May 13th, 2007, Zvezda Delije fan club organized a humanitarian concert entitled “Delije for our Kosovo and Metohija”, in which a number of Serbian stars took part.
The first visitor to the Maracana Stadium was Laza Petrovic, a farmer from the Loznitsa area. The avid star came to the new stadium at 6 am, took his place on the east stand, took cheese and bread out of the bag, started eating and patiently waited for the match to start.