09/04/2013 CA Peñarol – Deportes Iquique
09/04/2013 Vélez Sársfield – CS Emelec
10/04/2013 Tigre – Sporting Cristal
10/04/2013 Deportes Tolima – Santa Fe
10/04/2013 Real Garcilaso – Cerro Porteño
11/04/2013 Corinthians SP – Club San José
11/04/2013 Club Tijuana – Millonarios
11/04/2013 Grêmio Porto Alegre – Fluminense RJ
11/04/2013 SE Palmeiras – Libertad
12/04/2013 CD Lara – Universidad de Chile
12/04/2013 Olimpia Asunción – Newell’s Old Boys
Ecuador 4 Paraguay 1
Ecuador took a huge step towards qualification with a comfortable win over Paraguay. The win puts “La Tri” on 20 points thanks mainly to their home form in the Atahaulpa stadium.
Ecuador started with a full strength team that included Antonio Valencia, Cristain Benitez, Jefferson Montero and Filipe Caicedo. The only change from the usual 11 was the dropping of Luis Saritama for Pedro Quinonez. With a crammed home crowd behind them, Ecuador must have felt full of confidence but they didn’t reflect this on the pitch, early on.
Paraguay took the lead in the 15th minute through Luis Cabellero who shot low past Dominguez to silence the partisan hoards. It was a well taken goal but the defenders should have cleared the ball instead of dallying in the box.
The goal stung the Ecuadorians into action and they attacked Bolivia mercilessly, mainly down the flanks through the tricky Montero and Quinonez. Achilier saw his header hit the crossbar in the 24th minute then Valencia volleyed home 5 minutes later, only for it to be chalked off by the linesman. It was clear Paraguay were not going to hold out.
The equaliser was as inevitable as the scorer. Felipe Caicedo was brought back into the fold by Reinaldo Rueda for this campaign and he has repaid his coach with 5 goals at vital moments during these qualifiers. Just before half time he bustled his way past the Paraguayan defence to head in an Ayovi close from close range.
Ecuador started the 2nd half in similar fashion destroying the Paraguayans with their pace and long, deep cross field balls. In the 50th minute Quinonez dropped a splendid pass onto the feet of the onrushing Montero. The Morelia midfielder slipped past the left back then drove the ball into the net to take the lead.
Four minutes later Montero again was tormentor in chief dribbling past two defenders, cutting back then crossing for “Chucho” Benitez to head home for the third. Paraguay were being over-run by wave after wave of yellow shirts with only the woodwork saving them.
With 15 minutes Montero exchanged a one-two with Saritama and set-off on another mazy like run, snaking through the red and white jerseys with ease. Upon reaching the goal area is shot wrong footed the helpless Baretto and the ball trickled into the goal. It was fortunate but he had made his own luck.
Another home win sets Ecuador in an excellent 2nd position behind Argentina. Their next games are against Peru, away then Messi & Co in Quito. The Argentinians are notoriously weak at altitude so two draws are not overly optimistic. With Montero is this type of form another home win could seal a summer in Brazil.
The Albicelestes would have been mindful of their last visit to La Paz during World Cup qualification. 4 years ago they were hammered 6 – 1 in the thin air of the Bolivian capital. It wasn’t quite as bad this time around but they did struggle.
The home team dominated the first half and deservedly went ahead in the 25th minute. A long ball by Chumacero drifted into the penalty area and met the head of Marcelo Martins, then the net. The defending was fairly dreadful but the ex-Wigan striker did well to direct the ball past Sergio Romero.
The goal stung Argentina into action and they equalised just before half time through Ever Banega. Again the defending was poor when Clemente Rodriguez crossed to the penalty spot. With 3 defenders around him, Banega managed to direct his header low into the Bolivian net.
Argentina pushed for the winner during the 2nd half but they were unable to beat the impressive Sergio Galarza. Banega and Messi were both thwarted by the Bolivian veteran late on.
The point keeps Argentina at the summit of the qualification table 4 points ahead of Ecuador, Bolivia lie 2nd bottom and struggling to make the qualifying positions.
P W D L Pts
Argentina 11 7 3 1 24
Ecuador 10 6 2 2 20
Colombia 10 6 1 3 19
Chile 11 5 0 6 15
Venezuela 11 4 3 4 15
Uruguay 11 3 4 4 13
Peru 10 3 2 5 11
Bolivia 11 2 3 6 9
Paraguay 11 2 2 7 8
Colombia 5 Bolivia 0
“El Cafeteros” were the first to start on Friday afternoon and they wasted no time in slapping aside Bolivia in Barranquilla. Torres, Valdes, Gutierrez, Falcoa and Armero each grabbed a goal to bolster their 2nd place position and condemn Bolivia to 2nd bottom.
Paraguay 1 Uruguay 1
In Montevideo, Luis Suarez had looked to have sealed a win with a late volley in 82 minutes. However, Benitez struck 4 minutes late to steal a valuable and unlikely point.
Argentina 3 Venezuela 0
In Buenos Aires it was business as usual as Gonzalo Higuain claimed a brace and a Messi penalty in between. The Argentinians consolidated the pole position, 4 points above Colombia.
Peru 1 Chile 0
Jefferson Farfan was the hero in Lima as he struck in the 87 minute against Chile. The Peruvians have had a rotten campaign but this rare win sees them rise above the bottom dwellers and reintroduce them to the 5th place battle.
I’m not sure what is more surprising the bees or the fact that Rivaldo is still on the go (35 seconds).
I saw this once before in Mexican friendly match. That time the stadium officials chose to douse the bees with water, only enraging them further. The bees then moved on to a pitch-side microphone ,which the officials also doused despite being electrically charged.
Luis Suarez has become the latest player to be caught out with loose chat to journalists.
I’m not sure why players constantly make this same mistake. Especially in these days of 24 hour news dissemination and social media. All to often foreign players let their guard and blab to their fellow countrymen seemingly unaware of the consequences.
The Uruguayan and Liverpool centre forward was asked by a Uruguayan newspaper if he desired to leave Liverpool.
He answered :
“If another team comes around with more prospects of competing in international club competition games, which is willing to have [me], they are welcome.
“We would talk to the club, and we would see if I want to go or if I don’t want to go.”
Although it is wasn’t a stinging rebuke of the Merseyside team nor a definite answer, it could be seen as criticism of Liverpool’s faltering campaign under Brendan Rodgers and a statement of intent.
Suarez is a top class player and needs to playing in the top class club competition : the Champions League. He would probably be awarded the Player of the Season the is year (if he benefited from a better public persona and as little less condemnation by the media).
It’s hardly surprising that he has his eyes on greater prizes than the FA and League Cup.
Although Liverpool are historically a big club they have fallen away in recent years, failing to break into the top 4 Champion League places. A failure to match the huge spending of Manchester City and Chelsea along with managerial chopping and changing has contributed to their demise.
If Liverpool lose Suarez he will be very difficult to replace. Much like Fernando Torres before him, Suarez has become the focal point of the Liverpool team. To the point that players are bought, sold and picked to complement him eg. Andy Carroll.
Unless Rodgers brings a top quality attacker with either a huge price tag – Falcoa,Cavani-or a young prospect with huge skill, he will have to start his “long term project ” from scratch.
It is unlikely that Liverpool will finish in the top 4. It would take a complete collapse by Spurs, Arsenal or Chelsea combined with an impossible winning run by Liverpool. As a result Suarez will be a target for almost all of the big continental teams. Bayern are supposed to be interested along with Barca and Real Madrid.
|Deportivo Cuenca||1 – 0||Emelec|
|Barcelona||3 – 1||Olmedo|
|Técnico Universitario||1 – 3||El Nacional|
|Liga de Loja||2 – 1||Independiente del Valle|
|Liga de Quito||1 – 0||Manta F.C.|
|Deportivo Quito||0 – 4||Macará|
|3.||Liga de Quito||
|4.||Independiente del Valle||
|8.||Liga de Loja||
Accumulated points over both etapes (stages).
|3.||Liga de Quito||
|4.||Independiente del Valle||
|5.||Liga de Loja||
On Sunday it was back to the Atahaulpa Stadium to watch the current champions : Deportivo Quito against the champions elect: Barcelona.
Although i arrived with my friend at the stadium 15 mins before the game it took at least half an hour to get into the Atahaulpa. Long lines were snaked around the ground with the police doing their disorganised best to slowly, filter the throngs throw the narrow, turnstiles. One gate was for blue and red bedecked fans of Deportivo the others for the vast amount of yellow, Barcelona” hinchas”.
Only when Barcelona had scored and the many fans became restlessness did the police and authorities begin to shepherd the fans through at a acceptable rate.
Barcelona enjoy a huge support in both in Quito and Guayaquil and are probably only matched in popularity with Liga de Quito. Although the base of support is in Ecuador’s biggest city they can count on supporters from all over the country.
In much the same way Rangers and Celtic attract fans from all over Scotland, Barcelona and Liga gather the most fans from all over Ecuador.
In recent years the Quito teams have dominated league titles with Deportivo Quito, El Nacional and Liga sharing 9 titles between them. You have to go back to 1997 for Barcelona’s last title although city rivals Emelec did win the title in 2001 and 2002.
Upon entering the stadium it was clear that the Deportivo Quito fans or “chullas” were totally outnumbered by about 4-1. The yellow and black of Barcelona covered 70 % of the stadium and with their team already 1-0 up to a Nina header they were in fine voice.
Deportivo had only the main stand to fill and numbered around 6-7,000 but as their were some spare rows of seats the police began to funnel some yellow and black fans into the Deportivo end. This did not go down well with hardcore members at the front and they immediately rushed to confront to the opposition, forcing them back into the Barcelona section. A few bottles were thrown and insults traded but in truth it was little more than handbags from very, young looking “hooligans”. The riot police and their batons and Alsatians seemed to dampen their enthusiasm.
nI such an atmosphere it’s sometimes difficult to concentrate on the match, especially when you know Deportivo are so poor in front of goal and have little chance of scoring but the game ebbed and flowed with Barcelona seemingly content to let Deportivo attack.
Luckily, again we had the benefit of enthusiastic beer vendors and police were happy to let us stand at the back and peer over the crowd.
Much has been made in the Ecuadorian media about the country’s hooligan problem but in the 20-30 matches i have attended here in Quito I have yet to see some trouble bar the throwing of plastic bottles or the odd plastic beer cup. It’s certainly no where near the levels that the UK or Europe had but i guess it doesn’t take much for things to get out of hand. The police were very aware of the threat and quick to intervene.
The only kerfuffle in the terraces today happened in the Barcelona hoards in the south stand. A yellow shirted youth (my friend was convinced it was a girl but not I) was thrown around like a rag doll and unceremoniously booted and punched through throngs of people and out of the exit. It was unclear what he had done to deserve this treatment but it must have been bad as his own brethren turned on him. The police pounced on him and escorted him away.
In the end Barcelona won two nil, thanks to; some dreadful refereeing decisions, two Deportivo red cards, some dreadful Deportivo forward play and a wonderful free kick form Michael Arroyo in the 90th minute (who in turn was strangely red-carded).
The Barcelona fans were ecstatic at the end, knowing they had all but secured their first title in 15 years while the Deportivo Quito fans solemnly shuffled out of the Atahaulpa. A feeling they have known all to well in a disastrous season.
Barcelona all but sealed the Segunda Etape title (and overall championship) with a lucky win against Deportivo Quito yesterday.
They took the lead through a Narcisso Mina header in the 13th minute then seemed happy to sit back and let Deportivo control the game. However it quickly became clear that Deportivo were not going to score especially when they lost Paredes to a second yellow and Morales to a straight red in the second half.
Deportivo were finally punished for their profligacy in front of goal when Arroyo sealed the win with a fine 30 yard free kick in 90 minutes.
Elsewhere, Emelec confirmed their involvement in next years Copa Libertadores by winning 2-1 at home against El Nacional while Olmedo cemented their relegation to Segunda B after another home loss, this time to Deportivo Cuenca.
Independiente recorded a fine win against Liga de Quito. A Daniel Angulo strike in 57 minutes was enough to grab 3 points and continue their push for a Libertadores spot. The team from Sangloqui are universally recognised as the best youngsters in Ecuador and it remains to be seen how many of their players they can retain for next season, especially with their links to Spurs and the bigger Ecuadorian teams circling
The final places are calculated over the two “etapes” or stages and as Barcelona should win both their will not be a final play-off match this year.
With two teams to be relegated to the Segunda B El Nacional, Macara or Ted de Universitario may yet join Olmedo and drop down a division. This would be particularly disastrous who are an historic giant of Ecuadorian football with a record equaling 13 championships.
With two games left to play it should be a a tight end to the bottom of the Serie A.
|3.||Indepndiente del Valle||41||17||11||13||62||+4|
|4.||Liga de Quito||41||14||18||9||60||+11|
|6.||Liga de Loja||41||15||13||13||58||+4|
|11.||Tec de Universitario
With 2 teams to be relegated from Serie A, El Nacional’s home victory against Macara will do much to allay their supporters fears.
After last week’s Derby defeat they were hovering around the relegation spots and although these 3 points moves them 3 points away with a game in hand they are not out of the woods yet.
As the the final league standings are calculated over two mini-seasons Olmedo look certain to fall into Serie B despite having a fairly impressive 2nd term,Macara and Tecnico Universitario (who currently sit 2nd of this term) have a battle to see who joins them.
At the top of the table Barcelona continued their arch to the title after a 1-o win at home to Quito giants, Liga. José Manuel Ayovi grabbed the winner just before half-time.
Elsewhere Independiente compounded Emelec’s misery from last week with a 2 – 0 defeat while Deportivo Quito recorded a 0-0 stalemate in Ambato versus Tecnico Universitario.
|Deportivo Cuenca||1 – 1||Manta F.C.|
|Técnico Universitario||0 – 0||Deportivo Quito|
|Independiente del Valle||2 – 0||Emelec|
|El Nacional||2 – 1||Macará|
|Liga de Loja||2 – 1||Olmedo|
|Barcelona||1 – 0||Liga de Quito|