Barcelona and Liga de Loja eliminated

Ina tough night for Ecuadorian football both Barcelona and Liga de Loja were sent tumbling out of the Copa Sudamericana.

Despite recording a credible 0 – 0  draw in Brazil against giants Sao Paulo, La Garra del Oso (The Bear Claw) were eliminated by away goals after their 1 -1 home draw. It brought Loja’s historic first venture into international competition to an end but they can be proud and happy with their maiden attempt.

Also in Brazil but this time against Gremio, Barcelona were eliminated after they lost 2- 1. The result will be more disappointing considering the Guayaquil giants needed only to score one goal to progress and are currently heading the Ecuadorian Serie A.

 

A different view of racism in Ecuador

The topic of racism is dominating English football just now. It has rumbled on since Luis Suarez’s altercation with Patrice Evra two seasons ago and last week came to a head with Rio Ferdinand’s refusal to wear a “Kick it Out Campaign” t-shirt.

Ferdinand obviously feels aggrieved with the 4 match ban that former England captain, John Terry received last week :after he used abusive language towards  Rio’s brother, Anton in a game between QPR and Chelsea last year.

It’s hard to accept why the FA decided an 8 game was enough for Suarez while only 4 game ban  for Terry.

On the face of it Terry was more culpable and he could hardly defend himself with “cultural differences”. His defence that he was only repeating what Anton Ferdinand has said seems pretty weak.

In South America they have a somewhat different view of race and abuse. Football players and people in general are regularly referred to as “negro” or “negrito” in reference to their darker skin and in Ecuador the people from the coast (who are generally Afro-Ecuadorian) are popularly called “Monos” or monkeys.

Similarly, if an Afro-Ecuadorian scores a goal in a league match here then the next days headlines will refer to “negrito” as the hero.

Personally, I find it strange that a person should refer directly to a persons skin colour or race. It’s open to debate to whether it is in a derogatory manner but regardless I,m fairly certain no person would want to be referred to as a monkey.

Maybe the South Americans are decades behind in their race-relation or maybe they are more relaxed than politically correct obsessed Europeans??

Barcelona, Liga and Macara head the table.

Deportivo Quito won last weekend‘s capital derby in the Atahualpa courtesy of  a solitary Checa first half goal. Despite the win Deportivo remain rooted to the bottom of the Serie A table with 11 points. Although their chances of relegation have been allayed the season is still a relative disaster considering they are defending champions.

Barcelona continue to top the table after their impressive 4 -1 win over Deportivo Cuenca, but only on goal difference, Liga de Quito and Macara also have 25 points after both putting together impressive runs of results.

The combined points of both of the etape’s of half seasons mean that Olmedo are the most threatened with relegation despite a strong show this term.

LIGA DE QUITO 2 LIGA DE LOJA 2

DEPORTIVO QUITO 1 EL NACIONAL 0

OLMEDO 1 EMELEC 1

TEC.UNIVERSITARIO 1  MACARA 0

MANTA 0 INDEPENDIENTE 1

BARCELONA 4 DEPORTIVO CUENCA 1

With 4 teams still competing in the Copa Sudamericana and the national team lying second in the CONMEBOL table, Ecuadorian football is as vibrant as has been in years.

The Ecuadorian football association also recently held the Shipyard Derby in New Jersey to try and improve the countries overseas reputation and raise funds for the Yasuni foundation.

Barcelona and Emelec played out a 1-1 draw in front of a crowd of  just over 10,000  in the Red Bull Arena. Walter Iza took the lead for the “Lightbulbs” in 77 minutes but Damian Diaz equalised 4 minutes later to send both sets of fans home happy.

 

Craig Levein needs to go

It’s becoming embarrassing. Alike when an unwanted party guest doesn’t take the hint and leave.

Craig Levein is going to hang on and be pushed rather than jump,it was to be anticipated but it doesn’t make it any less difficult.

The former Dundee United and Leicester City manager has been a disaster for the Scottish National team. In the last 3 years he has produced only 3 competitive wins in 12 and those were against Liechtenstein and Lithuania.

From the 4-6-0 debacle in Prague, the Steven Fletcher affair, Kris Commons etc etc his tenure has been fraught with problems and equally matched with the performances on the pitch.

 

He is not up to the job and needs to walk.

Craig Whyte defends his actions in Rangers takeover/collapse

It’s hard to believe any businessman given that they are slaves to the dollar and they have a flexible understanding of terms like truth, transparency etc. The interviewer doesn’t hold back not let Whyte off the hoook.

Whyte seems to defend his corner well but he has had many months to prepare.

 

Worth a watch: click the link

Why the Ecuadorians have it so much better on match-days.

Every time I make a visit to the Atahaulpa Stadium I can’t help but make comparisons with back home. My usual judgement is that Ecuadorians have it so much better than in Scotland or the UK.

There is no doubt that British stadiums are safer but there over-sterilisation and sanitisation has ruined many aspects of the modern game. Many stadiums are glorified cow-sheds, little more than four banks of seats into which fans are herded like sheep.

No more apparent than this is Hampden Park where the famous Hampden roar has been replaced by the Hampden moan or muffled groan.

Hampden Park got a £20 millon re-fit a number of years ago. The end result was: a dissipation of the noise, an athletics track separating the fans from the pitch by at least 10 metres, 70,000 fans became 50,000 and a severely diluted atmosphere.

The Atahaulpa has not been touched for 50 years and the atmosphere is electric. The capacity has been reduced to 35,000 recently and you have the athletics track but it doesn’t dampen the enthusiasm.

the vantage point

On Friday my Dutch friend and I made our way through the fans, police and many touts. After a couple of aborted entries we finally managed to reach the general area of our seats but not before buying beers at the back of the stadium. As the game was already 5 minutes old and we didn’t want to annoy the other patrons in that dreadful cinema like shuffle through the crowds  we stayed-put, aside the beer stand.

Everyone in the back row of seats (which is really a long, concrete block) were standing for a better vantage point. Behind them was a line of Police, some with dogs, all with batons and behind the Police I stood with my friend.Both of us a good foot taller than the rest.

In the two hours we stood there sipping our beers not one Policeman or woman asked us to move, sit down or find our seats. We were causing no problem nor blocking access, simply watching the game so the authorities left us alone. (The only hairy moment was when one of the Police Alsatians started to attack an imaginary assailant. Many wide eyed fans turned and looked on fearing that it could cause some dreadful chain reaction of biting  hounds.In the end the mutt was shepherded away to safety).

Chileans go daft after taking the lead

And therein lies the biggest difference between the match experience in Latin America and the United Kingdom.

In Scotland you are constantly harassed by over-blown security guards and zealous quasi-authorities either wanting you to sit-down, pipe down or calm down. Some luminous jacketed dolt, who was too fat to become a real policeman or too dim to secure a respected job has to use his/her two hours of authority to dampen your match day experience.

And its only the proper fan who rises to remonstrate at the referee or roar his football song that gets reprimanded. If a burly troglodyte is shouting abuse or sectarian or racist bile the security guards are nowhere to be seen. The cowards only admonish the normal fan, knowing fine they won’t receive a smack in the mouth or verbal tirade in response.

On Friday, the Chilean supporters were situated right beside us, numbering about 2-3000 and they regularly intermingled on their way to the toilet or to get some food or more beer. There was no cordon of yellow nor line of Police, even when Chile took the lead there was little more than muffled insults and derogatory, hand signals.

In the end Ecuador won 3 – 1 to bolster their qualification chances for Brazil 2014. As the Ecuadorian fans shuffled out of the stadium many insults were traded with the glum looking Chileans. The usual cries of “chuta- madre” and “hijo de la chingada” were exchanged along with self-explanatory gestures that even a nun would understand.

In Scotland you would be probably hauled off to the Chateau D’If for such “anti-social” behaviour.

Ecuadorian football may have many flaws but I’d have their match-days, any day compared to the over-priced and over- bearing experience of home. Football in Ecuador maybe like football in Scotland 30 years ago.

Not such a bad thing considering where we are as a football nation now.

Argentina top the table

Argentina continue to top the CONMEBOL table after their 2-1 away win against Chile last night.

Chile fell asleep for 4 minutes in the first half and allowed Messi and Higuain to claim a quick brace in 28 and 31 minutes. Argentina then needed only to hang on to claim 3 points but they did concede a late Gutierrez consolation.

In Puerto La Cruz, Ecuador recorded a fine away draw against Venezuela to bolster their qualification chances.

“La Vinotintos” took the lead, with what must have been the goal of the night through Juan Arango. The veteran captain collected the ball 30 yards from goal then unleashed an unstoppable howitzer past the flailing Dominguez.

Ecuador rallied and restored parity 15 minutes later through Segundo Castillo when he struck low from inside the box. Although both teams had chances to win it a draw was probably a fair result in an open and entertaining game

In Asuncion, Pablo Aguilar claimed the only goal of the night to win the bottom of the table clash against Peru. Barring a small miracle neither team should be in contention for the qualification spots.

The surprise of the night was in La Paz where Bolivia hammered Uruguay 4 -1. Carlos Saucedo grabbed a hat-trick to condemn Uruguay to their second defeat in five days. Luis Suarez got one back near the end.

Concern must be growing for” La Celeste” as they have managed to take only one point form three games, two of which were at home.

BOLIVIA 4 – 1 URUGUAY

PARAGUAY 1 – 0 PERU

VENEZUELA 1 -1 ECUADOR

CHILE 1 – 2 ARGENTINA

The COMNEBOL table seems to splitting in 3 parts with Argentina, Ecuador and Colombia moving away slightly form the pack. That being said two positive results can alter qualification chances dramatically and no team is in the clear yet.

Ecuador vs Venezuela

 

We are hours away from Ecuador’s second World Cup Qualifier, this time in Caracas against a strong Venezuela. Realistically, a draw would be a fine result and continue “El Tri’s” impressive unbeaten run, but a win is not beyond their reach.

With Antonio Valencia coming back and Noboa replacing Saritama their strength remains in midfield.The only other chance will be free scoring Caicedo being replaced by Ayovi upfront.

Depending on the other results Ecuador could find themselves top of the tree. Regardless Ecuador will find themselves in a healthy position going into the lengthy international break.

 

Top ten goalscorers in CONMEBOL qualification

With Lionel Messi and Gonzolo Higuain with 6 goals a piece it’s easy to see why Argentina are top of the CONMEBOL qualification table. 

Although Luis Suarez is notoriously profligate for Liverpool for his national team he is on fire.

While Falcao rattles them in for club and country alike is price tag rises and rises. A buy out clause of £54 million looks like a bargain in contrast to Fernando Torres.

Of all the players on the list Felilpe Caicedo, once of Manchester City is the man with the top form. His return to Ecuador’s first team has been integral to their rise up the table with 4 goals in 3 matches.

 

 

1. G. Higuain (Argentina) 6
2. L. Messi (Argentina) 6
3. L. Suarez (Uruguay) 6
4. Falcao García R. (Colombia) 5
5. F. Caicedo (Ecuador) 4
6. S. Agüero (Argentina) 3
7. Benitez C. (Ecuador) 3
8. Farfán J. (Peru) 3
9. M. Fernández (Chile) 3
10. P. Guerrero (Peru) 3

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