El Nacional vs Deportivo Quito: Wednesday night Derby

After watching Celtic’s historic defeat of Barcelona on TV  the Quito derby was always going to be an anti-climax. The atmosphere in Celtic Park couldn’t have been more different from Ecuador’s national stadium.

                                                                                      
The Deportivo Quito’s supporters outnumbered the Nacional” hinchas” by at least double but both of the hardcore members were making a suitable racket under their banners and flags.The match had been re-arranged from week 9 due to Deportivo’s participation in the Copa Sudamericana and the World Cup qualifiers. A 6 o’clock Wednesday start was never going to attract a big crowd, especially considering the from of both teams but as I took my seat in the “Palco” section (i was expecting the customary 6 o’clock downpour) I watched a few thousand began to file their way in.

As both teams play their home games in the Atahaulpa Stadium there was no real advantage for either team.

Alike many Latin American stadiums the players and coaching staff appear from below the pitch-side and move to their respective technical areas.

Coaches and managers in Ecuador change like the weather. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep apace, especially when 3-4 months seems to be the average managerial term and tonight’s men were no different.

Deportivo Quito’s coach is former Argentinian national player (5 caps), Ruben Insua who replaced Nelson Acosta in August. After a solid playing career in Argentina and Ecuador (Barcelona) Insua has taken coaching jobs around Latin America enjoying Serie A success with Barcelona and Deportivo and a Copa Sudamericana with San Lorenzo of Argentina.

El Nacional have former Ecuadorian national coach, Sixto Vizuete currently in charge. After an inauspicious playing career Vizuete rose to the national team job through the youth teams in more of an academic Jose Mourinho/ Gerard Houllier fashion.

Tonight Insua was decked out in a smart suit and long Italian style coat. Together with a long main of hair he looked like a cross between David Coverdale and Benedict Cumberbatch. Sixto however had a standard tracksuit and coach jacket combo, more in the style of Paul Lambert or Martin O’Neill.

The game started at a snail’s pace and didn’t let up for the whole 90 minutes. Quito largely controlled the match in the first half through Luis Saritama and Santiago Morales in midfield. Julio Bevacqua was at his mercurial best and attracting the ire of the Quito support after several fluffed chances while Paredes was as normal dynamic but his final ball was consistently poor.

El Nacional fared no better and seemed content to try long shots from far outside the area which usually sailed high into the stars. In 33rd minute Nacional conjured up the first good chance of the match when Dennis Quinonez crossed onto Flavio Caicedo’s head but goalkeeper, Bone did well to tip the ball round the post.

The game then got bogged down in midfield with petty fouls and pseudo-injuries slowing play down. In the 46th minute Bevacqua rose just outside the 6 year the like a salmon to head into the keepers hands. Needless to say his fans were neither impressed nor surprised.

As the match sneaked towards half-time Morales produced a wonderful piece of skill and set up the opening goal. On the left wing and under the attention of two defenders he back-heeled a through ball to the on-running Luis Congo who then smashed the ball past high into the net from the edge of the box. The fans cried “goallazo”and rightly so. It was a fine moment to round up a rotten first half.

El Nacional were out on the pitch 5 minutes before their Quito obviously with a bollocking from Sixto still in their ear and they began the half with greater intensity. The short length of the Atahaulpa pitch means goal keeper kicks stretch far into the opposition half and this can quickly converts defence into attack. A hefty Danny Cabezas boot did exactly this 5 minutes in laying on Pita who only blasted wide.

For the first 15 minutes Quito seemed happy to sit deep and invite Nacional onto them,( a dangerous ploy which has bitten them on the arse many times this season). At times their crowding of attackers and last ditch clearances were manic and tempted disaster but there was method in their madness as two of their counter attacks produced good chances where only the Nacional woodwork prevented a doubling of their lead.

Twice in 5 minutes Edmund Zura was through on goal with only with only the keeper to beat. Luckily Bone was quick off his line to narrow the angle and smother the fierce shots.

In injury time again Zura was put through but this time he chose to dive and claim a penalty. There was much confusion as the linesman waved for the penalty but the referee then overruled and waved away the protests of the Nacional players. In the end Quito ran out close but deserved winners.

The result little effects either of the teams position in the table, both have had dreadful seasons although relegation is not a real threat points are accumulated and totaled over two terms.

Team P W D L Pts GD
1. Barcelona
16 8 5 3 29 +14
2. Emelec
15 8 3 4 27 +4
3. Técnico Universitario
17 7 6 4 27 -1
4. Liga de Quito
17 6 8 3 26 +3
5. Macará
17 8 1 8 25 -1
6. Manta F.C.
16 6 4 6 22 0
7. Olmedo
17 5 6 6 21 +2
8. Deportivo Cuenca
17 5 4 8 19 -5
9. Independiente del Valle
16 5 4 7 19 -6
10. Deportivo Quito
15 4 6 5 18 -3
11. El Nacional
16 3 8 5 17 -1
12. Liga de Loja
17 3 5 9 14 -6

Copa Sudamericana moves into the last 8

GREMIO (BRAZIL)  VS MILLIONARIOS (COLOMBIA)

INDEPENDIENTE (ARGENTINA) VS UNIVERSIDAD CATOLICA (CHILE)

SAO PAULO (BRAZIL)  VS  UNIVERSIDAD DE CHILE  (CHILE)

CERRO PORTENO (PARAGUAY) VS TIGRE (ARGENTINA)

They say the cream always comes to the top and this seems to be the case in this years Copa Sudamericana.

Brazil, Argentina and Chile each have 2 representatives while Paraguay and and Colombia have one a piece.

 

 

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.

 

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.

CONMEBOL team of week 9 (12/10/2012)

Week 9 saw Argentina, Ecuador and Colombia win and move away from the pack. The qualifying group has now split into 3 parts with Chile and Uruguay losing form in the last 3 games.

Messi was at his imperial best against Uruguay. It has often been touted that little Leo does not perform for his country and cannot replicate his Barcelona form. This qualifying campaign, and the recent Brazil friendly largely dispels this myth.

His second goal was particularly impressive. It wasn’t as spectacular as his recent free-kick against Real Madrid but it was the apparent simplicity and ease in his execution to slip the ball low past the keeper.

BOLIVIA  1 (Chumacero 51′) PERU 1 (Marion0 21′)

COLOMBIA 2 (Falcoa 52′, 90′) PARAGUAY 0

ECUADOR 3 (Caicedo 33′,56′, Castillo 93′) CHILE (Paredes OG 25′)

ARGENTINA 3 (Messi 66′,80′ Aguero 75′) URUGUAY 0

 

In Quito, Ecuador finally broke down a stubborn Chile after initially going behind. A couple of rash challenges had Chile eventually go down to 9 men and Ecuador took full advantage. Their tormentor in chief was Felipe Caicedo who continued his impressive international form and scored his 3rd and 4th goals in 3 games.

 

Man of the moment Radamel Falcao scored a brace against bottom dwelling Paraguay while in La Paz, Bolivia and Peru recorded 1-1 draw helping neither of their qualification chances.

My best 11 of last Friday’s games:

 

 

Ecuadorian teams hopeful in the Sudamericana

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       2 – 0                Tigre

                  Liga de Loja         1 – 1           Sao Paulo

                      Barcelona         0 – 1            Gremio

Universidad de Chile        2 – 2         Emelec

Ecuador can go top of the table with win against Chile

If results go their way on Friday and Tuesday, Ecuador could top the CONMEBOL table and bolster their World Cup qualification chances.

The coming games against Chile at home then Venezuela in Caracas are not the easiest, but winnable even without some key players.

Antonio Valencia will sit out the Chile game through suspension and Jairo Campos has ruptured his Achilles but apart from that Ecuador have a full strength squad.

Christian Noboa returns after suspension and Jefferson Montero is back after missing the game in Uruguay through injury.

Ecuadorian coach Reinalda Rueda should be aiming for at least 4 points from these two games. In last month’s game against Bolivia is team were fairly dreadful and had to rely on a poor penalty decision to take 3 points. In Montevideo their fortune was reversed and they suffered because of shambolic refereeing display.

Ecuador’s last 5 games

Sep 11, 2012       Uruguay 1 – Ecuador 1    WCQ

Sep 7, 2012         Ecuador 1 – Bolivia 0        WCQ

Aug 16, 2012       Ecuador 3 – Chile 0           Friendly

Jun 10, 2012        Ecuador 1 – Colombia 0  WCQ

Jun 2, 2012          Argentina 4 – Ecuador 0 WCQ

It’s difficult to make any inferences form August’s friendly game as it was in the USA and Chile did not look like they took it so seriously. But their last game against a resurgent Colombia was very disappointing.

Chile’s superstars are Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona) and Eduardo Vargas (Napoli) but they have a spread of players in most of the top leagues in Europe. Currently Chile also has a strong domestic league and teams like Universidad de Chile, Colo Colo and Universidad Catolica usually compete in the latter stages of the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana.

I doubt Chile will be as negative and defensive as Bolivia or Colombia in the Atahaulpa stadium but I still expect them to play on the counter attack.

Chile’s last 5 games

Sep 11, 2012       Chile 1 – Colombia 3         WCQ

Aug 16, 2012       Ecuador 3 – Chile 0           Friendly

Jun 9, 2012          Venezuela 0 – Chile 2      WCQ

Jun 2, 2012          Bolivia 0 – Chile 2               WCQ

Apr 12, 2012       Peru 0 – Chile 3                Friendly

Ecuador has better form going to Friday’s game and should take confidence from their recent friendly win. Competitive games between the countries have been tight affairs.

Head to Head

Aug 16, 2012       Ecuador 3 – Chile 0          Friendly

Oct 14, 2009        Chile 1 – Ecuador 0           WCQ

Oct 12, 2008        Ecuador 1 – Chile 0           WCQ

Jun 27, 2007        Ecuador 2 – Chile 3          Copa America

Game Prediction :  Ecuador 2 Chile 0

CONMEBOL Qualification table

                      P            W        D         L          GF       GA      GD      Pts

 Argentina           7              4              2              1              15           6              +9           14

 Colombia           7              4              1              2              12           6              +6           13

 Ecuador               7              4              1              2              8              7              +1           13

 Uruguay              7              3              3              1              15           11           +4           12

 Chile                  7                4              0              3              12           13           -1            12

 Venezuela         8              3              2              3              7              8              -1            11

 Peru                    7               2              1              4              9              13           -4            7

 Bolivia                 7              1              1              5              7              12           -5            4

 Paraguay            7              1              1              5              5              14           -9            4

 

Realistically, unless they turn around their poor form Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru are out of contention for one of the 5 qualification spots. However with only 3 points between the top 6 any of the other nations can aspire to be in Brazil.

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