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.
The Ecuadorian teams had a mixed bag in the first leg ties of last weeks Copa Sudamericana but with a little luck they could all progress.
Liga de Loja had the toughest task against Brazilian giants Gremio and although they secured a credible home draw they will have their work cut out in Porto Alegre. Especially after losing the away goal. Yimmy Bermudez took the lead for Loja in the first half before a Larrea own goal restored parity 7 minutes later.
Emelec secured a fine 2-2 away draw in Chile against current Sudamericana holders Universidad de Chile and should be confident of progress for the return and although Barcelona lost to Sao Paulo they should also overcome the Brazilians in Guayaquil.
The most impressive result was Deportivo Quito’s against Tigre of Argentina. The negro azules have been truly awful domestically and until recently relegation was a realistic threat. Both teams eventually finished the game with 10 men but importantly Quito got tow goals through Lorca in 53 minutes and Vila in the 86th.
Deportivo Quito put their domestic form behind them to record a fine home victory in the Copa Sudamericana yesterday.
Despite facing the relative might of Tigre for Argentina, the”Chullas” battled to a fine 2 – 0 success putting them in a strong position to progress to the next round. The torrential rain might of helped Deportivo but they did deserve their win courtesy of two 2nd half goals from Lorca in 53 minutes and Vila 86′.
The other Ecuadorian teams play tonight:
Universidad de Chile
Liga de Loja
In Ecuador the Serie A is teetering on the edge of a referee strike and a suspension of coming games. Head of the referee’s association Alfredo Intriago, feels that the match officials have received undeserved criticism following some controversial games.
Much like Scotland’s SPL a couple of years ago the officials are prepared to withdraw their involvement scuppering any chance of top flight games.
Ecuador has 4 teams in the last 16 of the Copa Sudamericana for the first time.
The draw could have been kinder but with the big guns joining the competition it was to be expected.
Liga de Loja are entered unchartered territory in their first international foray and have been rewarded with a glamour tie with Brazilian giants Sa0 Paulo. Similarly Barcelona will have to overcome Gremio of Brazil.
Deportivo Quito will have to overcome Tigre of Argentina while Emelec will have to beat last year’s winners, Universidad de Chile to progress.
Things are warming up nicely for next weeks World Cup qualifier against Bolivia in the Atahaulpa stadium. Despite the game being at 4pm on Friday afternoon and the capacity of the stadium being decreased to 35,000 the atmosphere should be electric. Alike many South American cities, Quito will come to a stand-still next Friday with many Ecuadorians sporting their bright,yellow shirts in support of “El Tri”.
The Olympics went by largely without a much notice(apart from Alex Quinonez).Football is where the real interest lies.
On Monday Ecuador coach, Reinaldo Rueda named his squad of 24 to face Bolivia and Uruguay. The one major surprise was the re-inclusion of Felipe Caicedo (Lokomotiv Moscow) who has been out of the international picture since 2011. The squad has a core of home based players but with extra quality from Mexico’s Primeria Division and Europe.
Christian “Chucho” Benitez is on fire for Club America and is normally Ecuador’s main goal threat however he will be suspended for the Bolivia game after picking up a yellow card against Colombia. This is a severe problem for Ecuador as Benitez is their attacking spear and the focal point for the team. Usually Valencia, Montero or Quinonez will bomb down the wings and cross for the physical Benitez to muscle his way into a goal-scoring chance, someone else will now have to step in.
ECUADOR SQUAD FOR GAMES AGAINST BOLIVIA AND URUGUAY
DOMINGUEZ, (LIGA DE QUITO)
BONE, (DEPORTIVO QUITO)
PAREDES, (DEPORTIVO QUITO)
AYOVI, (MONTERREY, MÉXICO)
CALDERON, (LIGA DE QUITO)
GUAGUA, (ATLANTE , MÉXICO)
CASTILLO, (PACHUCA , MÉXICO)
MINDA, (CHIVAS, USA)
QUIÑONEZ, (EL NACIONAL)
SARITAMA, (DEPORTIVO QUITO)
VALENCIA, (MANCHESTER UNITED )
MONTERO, (MORELIA , MÉXICO)
ROJAS, JOAO (MORELIA , MÉXICO)
AYOVI, (AL NASSR,SAUDI ARABI)
CAICEDO, (LOKOMOTIV ,RUSSIA)
IBARRA, (VITESSE, HOLLAND)
Regardless Ecuador will have to play better than they did against Colombia. Although they scrambled to a 1 – 0 win in July this was mainly due to Colombia being so disappointing. Anything less than a win will hamper their qualification chances and put them back in the 5th place mix, especially with a tough trip to Montevideo three days later.
Bolivia are coming off a fine win against Paraguay and as fellow Andeans will not be affected by the altitude. They languish in 7th position and need points to jump-start their campaign.
The squad will not assemble until Thursday after the Ecuadorian teams have completed their 1st ties of the Copa Sudamericana. All teams progressed after tricky first round ties but the competition steps up a level with the inclusion of a higher level of opposition. Despite this each team should be relatively confident of passing into the next round.
Tuesday, August 28 – 17:15
Tuesday, August 28 – 19:45
Wednesday, August 29 – 17:15
Liga de Loja
Thursday, August 30 – 17:15
With 8 games played Deportivo Quito’s season is essentially over bar their participation in the Copa Sudamericana, It is hard to believe they won the Championship last year as they are currently rooted to the bottom and don’t look like climbing the table. Similarly Liga de Loja are struggling in 2nd bottom position unable to recapture last terms form.
The big teams (Barcelona, Emelec and Liga) continue scrape to single goal wins and it looks like their matches against each other will go a long way to deciding the title.
Liga de Loja
1 – 2
Liga de Quito
1 – 2
2 – 0
1 – 0
Independiente del Valle
1 – 0
The Quito derby will be played later because of Deportivo’s involvement in the Copa Sudamericana
This morning much of Ecuador woke up to the news that their Government had granted asylum to Julian Assange, the founder of the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks. The Australian has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for two months claiming to be the victim of a political witch hunt and unwarranted persecution.
By the end of today they will probably be burning Union Jacks (the same ones the British Embassy were handing out in Olympic based stunts last month) and shredding pictures of David Beckham and Mr Bean on the streets of Quito as the local populace are revved into a state of national hysteria by the partisan media sources.
Either that or the Ecuadorians will probably realise it is another diplomatic storm in a teacup and pay it the little attention that it deserves.
For those of the proper persuasion and less susceptible to media propaganda and provocation the real news will be Ecuador’s fine 3 – 0 win over Chile in yesterday’s friendly international.
The game was played in Citi Field, New York home of the famous baseball team, the New York Mets. A mainly Ecuadorian crowd of 31,901 braved the torrential rain to cheer on their idols and watch Narciso Mina, Jaime Ayovi and Jefferson Montero score and record a fine win.
Chile fielded a depleted team with notable absentees being star midfielder Arturo Vidal (Juventus) and defender Osvaldo González (Universidad de Chile) but still with Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona) and Eduardo Vargas (Napoli) in their starting 11. As current leaders of the CONMEBAL World Cup qualification table they were favourites to win the match.
Ecuador fielded a strong side consisting mainly of Ecuadorian Serie A based players and their talisman and superstar Antonio Valencia (Manchester United). Cristain Noboa (Dynamo Moscow) was injured but Cristian Bentitez (Club America) started the game.
In reality the game was over before it had really started with Ecuador coming bursting out of the traps to take a 2-0 lead before 14 minutes had passed. With little deference to the “friendly” nature of the match “El Tri” decided to impose their athletic superiority from the outset and bullied the slighter Chileans.
As per usual Ecuador’s attacking impetus flowed through Antonio Valencia on the right wing. Twice in succession his runs were left unchecked leaving him to lay-on chances that were converted by Narciso Mina (10′) and Jaime Ayovi (14′). The goals were similar in nature: low slide rule passes to the centre of the box, leaving the Chilean defence slow and open and the goalkeeper Miguel Pinto helpless.
The Ecuadorians continued to attack for the remainder of the half and they missed several chances to seal the win with a conclusive 3rd goal. At times the play reached boiling point with late challenges and sliding tackles aplenty on the wet and slippery pitch.
As the rain abated in the 2nd half Chile came more into the game but it was Ecuador who sealed the win in 68 minutes through Jefferson Montero (Morelia, MX). Ecuador’s keeper Dominguez thumped a high ball over every player into the Chilean box confusing the Chilean defence into inaction. The ball bounced to Montero who easily headed over a scrambling Pinto, ending the game as a contest.
The win is a fine confidence booster for Ecuador going into their qualifiers next against Bolivia at home then Uruguay away. Lying in 4rth position Ecuador need to pick up points if they have any realistic pretensions of attending Brazil 2014, a fact which is not lost on national coach Reinalda Rueda who said post- match:
“The team was loose, they were confident; I hope we can repeat this performance when it’s worth three points.”
In this week’s Copa Sudamericana match Liga de Loja ensured their passage into the next round with a 4 -2 home win against Monagas of Venezuela. Protecting a 0 – 2 lead from the 1st leg Liga needed only to avert disaster and quickly put Monagas to the sword courtesy of a Carlos Feraud strike in between another Fabio Renato hat-trick.
Deportivo Quito and Emelec continue their Sudamericana adventure next Wednesday.
I was up in Tena last weekend, deep into the jungle and far from any internet connection. The big Guayaquil derby was won by Barcelona to preserve their lead of the table. At the bottom of the table Deportivo Quito again failed to record their first win leaving them rooted to the bottom for a 5th consecutive week. Liga again were beaten and Independiente hammered by Macara. The rest of the games were uninspiring draws leaving the table largely unchanged.
Again this week there is a full complement of fixtures in Serie A but I will be venturing north to the home of Aucas in the 3rd division on Sunday. Much like Rangers at home Aucas are a fallen giant who have tumbled down the leagues. Traditionally they attract the support of the lower classes of Quito and are the historical rivals of city giants Liga. The Aucas supporters claim to be the most passionate in Ecuador and I will judge for myself on Sunday versus Pilahuin Tio.
I was quite surprised to learn that Ecuador have only won 2 medals in their Olympic history and both of these by the same person; Jefferson Perez in the 20 km walk (Gold and Silver). Considering the Ecuadorians have the benefit of altitude training i would have thought they should have had more success.
But then again considering how much money the richer nations plough into their Olympic teams it could be argued that Ecuador and the other Andean nations are competing at a severe disadvantage.
This time round it looks as if they will finish medal-less with their faint hopes in the BMX, weight-lifting and boxing looking more and more remote but they may still succeed in the 200 metres and Alex Quinonez, a bricklayer from Esmeraldas who has surprised everyone to reach the final.
For many in Ecuador the Olympics have passed by un-noticed, Football is their national obsession often at the expense of other sports.
Last Sunday was the battle of the giants with Liga de Quito playing Barcelona of Guayaquil in the Casa Blanca. The entertaining 2 -2 draw helped preserve Barcelona’s lead at the top of the table while leaving Liga in 4rth.
The first 5 games of the Segunda Etage (second stage), apart from Barcelona, have gone contrary to the first stage and last years Championship. It is strange but gratifying to see a league that is so open and changeable, Liga de Loja just enjoyed one of there most successful terms in history but so far this time round have disappointed, similarly Independiente have struggled to find their previous form.
2 – 1
Liga de Quito
2 – 2
2 – 1
Liga de Loja
0 – 0
2 – 0
2 – 1
Independiente del Valle
The real losers so far however have been Deportivo Quito who have yet to record a victory this term. Considering their investment in new players and a new coach their current form leaves them rooted to the bottom of the table with no chance of retaining their Championship.On Sunday they continued their rotten run with a poor 0 – 0 draw at home to Technico Universitario.
Manta FC have so far been the surprise team of the season and their 2 – 0 (Rosa and Chingas scoring just after half-time) home win against Deportivo Cuenca boosted them to 2nd place. Macara also secured a fine 2-1 win at home to El Nacional and rise to 5th place.
In the Copa Sudamerican Barcelona thumped Deportivo Tachira of Venezuela 5 – 1 to ease their passage into the next round. Perlaz, Quinonez, Oyola, Matamoros and De La Torre each got a goal before Gonzalez got a late consolation.
Next week Deportivo Quito, Liga de Loja and Emelec will try to follow Barcelona’s lead when they complete their 2nd legs.
The big match of week 6 will be Emelec vs Barcelona or the Clásico del Astillero (The Shipyard Derby) in Guayaquil. This derby is recognised as the most important and historical games in Ecuador and with Emelec only one point behind their city rivals it should be a barnstormer (unfortunately i will be in the Amazon jungle all matter of beasts and insects). All of the week 6 matches will take place on Sunday but it is no exaggeration to say that all Ecuadorian eyes will be upon the George Capwell Stadium in Guayaquil.
Liga de Loja
Liga de Quito
Independiente del Valle
Next Wednesday Ecuador will take on Chile in a money spinning friendly in Citi Field, New York home of the New York Mets (Baseball). With a large Ecuadorian and Chilean ex-pat population the match should be capacity and give Reinalda Rueda the chance to prepare his team before next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Bolivia and Uruguay.