It’s fair to say there will be a few sore heads in Guayaquil in the morning.
The latest round of the Clásico del Astillero (The Shipyard Derby) was historic for all the wrong reasons for Emelec as they were on the end of a 5 – 0 hiding in the Monumental Banco Pichincha .
Damian Diaz opened the scoring in 38 minutes which was followed by a double by Narciso Mina either side of half-time (his first was fortunate in the extreme). Michael Arroyo claimed a 4th from the penalty spot before Diaz bagged his double a wrapped up an emphatic and record defeat.
Emelec also had to finish the game with 9 men after they lost Marcos Mondaini mid -way through the first half and Javier Nasutti half-way through the second: both of which were horrendous tackles and merited exclusion.
The first red card changed the game completely as Emelec had started the brighter but after going down 2 – 0 before half-time there was no way back.
The result sees Barcelona retake 1st position in Serie A while Emelec tumble down to 5th.
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.
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.
On Saturday I managed to get along to the Atahaulpa Stadium for a double-bill. Two matches, one after the other and all for $10.
Independiente are a small provincial team from Sangolqui, just outside Quito. Their stadium barely holds 8,000 people so they decided to move their home game against Barcelona to the Atahaulpa and its 35,000 capacity.
El Nacional also plays their home games in the national stadium so their game was pushed back earlier in order to accommodate the masses supporting Barca.
Even 3 hours before their game the Barcelona’s fans vastly outnumbered the other teams and they would continue to filter in throughout the first match.
The first game was El Nacional vs Deportivo Cuenca.
In the league table both teams were far adrift before this game in 8th and 9th position after a disappointing start to the 2nd term of the championship.
To say the first half was pedestrian was an over-statement. Both teams knocked the ball about like it was a kick about on the beach, creating half chances that were either schlaffed wide or collected by the keeper.
The teams seemed equally matched and created little chances until late in the game when two late goals changed the tempo.
The first goal was created by the Cuenca keeper, Juan Marcelo Ojeda on 75 minutes. His long ball long from his box caught the on-running Nicolás Domingo who then then crossed into the box where the ball was turned into his own net by Johan Gomez.
Juan Govea scored to level the match 10 minutes later.
Although the second match ultimately had the same score (1 – 1) the match wasgenerally more exciting and played at a faster pace.
In the first half Independiente were happy to let Barcelona attack and then pick them off on the counter. Both teams managed to knock the ball around well in midfield but their attacks broke down with over-hit crosses and miss-timed shots.
Barcelona looked the more dangerous with Narciso Mina looking particularly threatening down the left wing with his direct runs and dribbling.
Barcelona are notably more physical as a team and can bully other teams but Independiente looked equal to the Guayaquil giants and didn’t back down. The young team from Sangolqui were more than a match in midfield and really got stuck in, picking up a few yellows in the process.
In the end Independiente took the lead through Daniel Samaniego, in the 76th minute but again of Bryan de la Torre got the equaliser 10 minutes later.
To be honest I caught neither goal as the heat became unbearable and after over 4 hours in the Equatorial sun I had escape.
Olmedo are their surprise leader of the table after 10 games. Ciclón Andino (Andean Cyclone) hails from Rio Bamba and is the oldest club team in Ecuador. Despite this they have only won the current championship once in 2000 but have represented Ecuador 4 times in the Copa Libertadores. Their recent win against Deportivo Quito means they lead the table on goal difference but are still in relegation trouble as their cumulative points (over two terms) sees them in 2nd bottom overall.
Deportivo Quito is still floundering at the bottom and in the midst of a real crisis. Unless they can turn around their dreadful form relegation shall also be threat.
Round 10 results.
Liga de Loja 6 – 0 Técnico Universitario
Olmedo 2 – 0 Deportivo Quito
Macará 4 – 2 Manta F.C.
El Nacional 1 – 1 Deportivo Cuenca
Emelec 2 – 2 Liga de Quito
Independiente 1 – 1 Barcelona
There is a genuine strength to the Serie A this season with all teams taking surprising places. Usually the Guayaquil giants: Emelec and Barcelona would dominate along with Liga de Quito. This year however the smaller teams have stepped up to the plate and made genuine challenges to the status quo.
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
The Estadio Olimipico Atahaulpa has seen better days and more than deserving of a lick of paint and a general spruce up. If its character you want then Ecuador’s national stadium has it in spades but if its comfort and safety then your better to head to the Casa Blanca, home of Liga de Quito.
I have only been in the Atahaulpa once when it has been full, and i mean full to bursting point. Usually it’s league inhabitants: Deportivo Quito, El Nacional and Universidad Catolica barely attract a 3rd of the stadium.
In July’s World Cup qualifier versus Colombia there was not a free seat in the house. Thousands more than the official capacity of 40,948 were rammed into the crumbling old amphitheater and with hundreds of people sitting on the stairwells and down the aisles it was dangerous in the extreme. Also with a deep pit below and between the fans and pitch it was not hard to imagine the possibility of disaster.
That being said the atmosphere was amazing even when purchasing a beer or visiting the toilet entailed a slalom course of hell. It was probably as close as you can get to 1980’s British match experience. The likes of which we will never see or feel again.
The stadium was opened in 1951 and it’s hard to believe it has changed much in the years since. It is a big concrete block of a structure which looks like the home of a Soviet Bloc team or nation. Unless you pay extra for the covered Palcos area you will be left open to the weather, its beating sun or sometimes torrential rain and similarly the Palcos/Tribuna are is the only place with seats.
When you are paying only $6-7 dollars for a normal match-day ticket a seat could be viewed as a luxury but at $25 for the international matches it is the least you could expect. With this in mind the Ecuadorian Football Federation has decided to seat the whole of the stadium at the cost of $17 million.
The refurbishment will decrease the overall capacity but as the security at capacity games seems to be lax in the extreme it will likely not make a difference.
However as the Ecuadorian Football federation invest in their national stadium they also face the possibility of losing two of their main tenants. Both El Nacional and Deportivo Quito have released plans for their new stadiums and while these have been protracted ambitions it seems they have real pretensions to fly from the national nest.
While Deportivo Quito’s plans have been on going for a a few years El Nacional have taken the next step and rewarded the construction contract to a Mexican company. Both teams however will be hoping a change of venue will inspire their teams into an unprecedented era of success alike their city neighbours Liga de Quito who went on to win the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana post flit.
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.