Deportivo Quito shine in the rain

 

 

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 vs Emelec
Liga de Loja vs Sao Paulo
Barcelona vs Gremio

 

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.

It all got too much for the players of Pelileo SC at the weekend and they took their frustration out on the referee in dramatic fashion.

Obviously questioning some of the refs decisions the players decided to enact retribution and attacked in a shameful fashion.

Alike many football fights their wasn’t many upper-cuts or jabs but plenty of girly kicks and jumping around.

i

The goalkeeper,  “Maravilla” Martínez (white No.23) was antagoniser  in chief and surely must be looking at a life ban from football. That being said his wide left sided attack may attract the attention of the army who may give him the option of another career.

You can watch the full fight on the following link:

http://www.teradeportes.com/futbol/ecuador/segunda-categoria/del-futbol-a-los-punetes-en-minutos-en-la-segunda

courtesy of http://www.teradeportes.com

Double header in the Atahaulpa Stadium

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.

 

Predicted formations for Uruguay vs Ecuador

Uruguay are coming off a 4- o hiding against Colombia on Friday and have slipped to 4rth in the CONMEBOL table. A combination of the relentless heat, a bad start and some iffy goal keeping contributed to their dramatic collapse. Anything less than a win  for Oscar Taberez’s team would be disastrous.

“That goal calmed their nerves and put us as the away team into a difficult position,” said Tabarez after the game.

“We were always chasing the game throughout after that, though, I admit it is a shocking and disappointing result.”

The defeat in Barranquilla follows a poor Olympics in London but was generally surprising considering “La Celeste’s” fine performances in the last World Cup and Copa America.

They should set-up with an attacking front  3 of Forlan, Cavani and Suarez and be expected to take the offensive initiative.

                         Uruguay 4-3-3 football formation

Ecuador struggled to overcome a stubborn Bolivia on Friday and in the end needed a dubious penalty to save their blushes. Realistically a draw would be a fine result for “El Tri” especially as Uruguay will be hurting after their thumping against Colombia.

Jeffersom Montero pulled up with a hamstring injury on Friday and should be replaced by Michael Arroyo of Barcelona while Caicedo should start after making an impression and scoring a goal versus Bolivia.

Christain “chuco” Benitez will come back after suspension and maybe expected to plow a lone furrow up-front against Uruguay, depending on Reinalda Rueda’s attacking pretensions.

I doubt Uruguay will be as defensive as Bolivia

Ecuador 4-4-2 football formation

Ecuador do just enough to win against Bolivia

       VS        

It was frustrating, edgy and nerve wracking but in the end Ecuador managed to secure a vital 3 points for their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Bolivia opted for a suffocating 4-5-1 and Ecuador found it difficult to break down their defensive wall however they were ultimately victorious 1 – 0 in a sweltering Atahaulpa Stadium.

Substitute Felipe Caicedo was the man who finally made the difference in the 71st minute. After wriggling through a couple of challenges he slipped the ball to Luis Saritama who was then bundled to the ground in the penalty box. The penalty award was harsh by Venezuelan referee Juan Soto but Caicedo coolly slotted past Hugo Suárez to claim the decisive goal.

As expected Reinalda Ruelda opted for a 4-4-2 formation replacing the suspended duo of Benitez and Noboa with Mina and Saritama.

Starting line-up for Ecuador:

                                                                        Alexander Domínguez
 
                                                                     Fricson Erazo          Jairo Campos  
              
                                 Juan Carlos Paredes                                                       Walter Ayovi
 
                              Antonio Valencia                   Segundo Castillo              Jefferson Montero
 
                                                                                       Luis Saritama
 
                                                                              Narciso Mina
                                                                                                               Jaime  Ayoví

Starting line-up for Bolivia:

                                                             Hugo Suarez

José Barba       Christian Vargas    R. Raldes        Luis Gutiérrez   Luís Méndez                                       

                                  Mauricio Saucedo    G. Mojica  Pedro Azogue           

                                                            José Chávez

                                                           Marcelo Moreno

Ecuador attacked from the outset and it was clear from the opening minutes that their attacks would come down each of the channels. Obviously aware of the threat of Antonio Valencia Bolivia opted to double up on the Manchester United winger which in turn provided more space for the marauding Paredes on the left.

Despite this it was on the right through Jefferson Montero where Ecuador had early success.

Montero was linking well with Saritama down the right hand side but his final balls were too far and wide for the attackers to meet. When he cut inside the defenders he was crudely challenged by Ronald Raldes then José Chávez both of which received early cautions 9 minutes in. The resulting free-kicks, just outside the Bolivian box were ballooned over the goals.

Ecuador were enjoying the lion’s share of possession and creating down the wings as the first quarter of the match passed but the final balls from both Montero, on the right and Paredes, on the left were often high and awry.

The Ecuadorian crowd rose from their seats in anticipation every time Valencia received the ball but apart from some nice switches to the right hand side his influence upon the game was very limited. Bolivia were crowding the midfield and stifling Ecuador’s pretensions with illegal challenges and Pedro Azogue was lucky not to go into the referee’s book after persistent fouls.

It made for a slow and uneventful first half, just what the Bolivians had hoped for.

On 34 minutes Ayovi was put through by Paredes but he scuffed his shot wide and as half time approached, Montero pulled up holding his hamstring ending his influence upon the game.

Half time brought welcome respite for all from the bleaching, Ecuadorian sun. In the first half the clouds had protected the Atahaulpa from the scorching rays but as the game progressed the heat became intolerable, for a Scotsman at least.

Both teams made changes for the 2nd half: Ecuador replaced the injured Montero with Michael Mina and Bolivia swapped Mauricio Saucedo for Alcides Jimenez.

Again Ecuador took the initiative and attacked through Paredes and Valencia. Twice and in two minutes Valencia did well to beat his marker and cross into the box each time the ball was too high for a proper connection by Ayovi.

Felipoa Caicedo

On 55 minutes Reinalda Ruelda changed Jaime Javier Ayoví Corozo for Felipe Caicedo, a decision that would ultimately change the match. Caicedo was more direct and willingly to take the ball into the centre and while his first few shot s were wild or blocked his incisive play contributed to Ecuador’s penalty on 71 minutes.

Taking the ball from the right hand side he dribbled past 3 players then laid the ball off to an onrushing Saritama who then seemed to run into Ronald Raldes. The referee deemed it to be illegal challenge and awarded a harsh penalty against the centre half.

The Bolivian’s were incandescent with rage and surrounded the referee in futile attempt to get the decision reversed, only managing to pick up yellow cards for dissent.

Caicedo stepped up and dispatched his penalty low to the left sending Suarez the wrong way and 35,000 crowd into rapture. On balance Ecuador had deserved their lead as Bolivia rarely threatened and seemed happy to spoil and defend.

Ecuador pushed for a second but Bolivia managed resist with some last ditch defending and clearances.

When Bolivia staged a late counter the crowd feared the worst but luckily the chance was wasted and Ecuador hung on to claim a deserved 3 points.

Ecuador will have to play better against Uruguay in Montevideo on Tuesday if they want to secure any points and preserve their 2nd position in the qualifying table. Added to which their national hero, Antonio Valencia will have to up his game as he was largely anonymous and heavy-legged for the majority of the match.

Although the defence were generally solid they had little to do against a stoic Bolivia. On the rare times that they were threatened the Ecuadorians sometimes looked indecisive, against Uruguay on Tuesday they cannot afford to be as lax. Christain Benitez will return on Tuesday giving Ecuador more of an attacking edge and attacking focal point.

Bolivia’s qualification chances look doomed already. Having played one more game than the rest and 6 points behind 5th place they will need some surprising results to move up the table.

The CONMEBAL qualifiers continue on Tuesday, when Chile take on Colombia, Uruguay host Ecuador, Paraguay play Venezuela and Peru face Argentina.

Aucas thump Leon Carr in the Chillogallo

Today I made the trip to Chillogallo in the north of Quito to watch Aucas in action for the first time.

Although historically a first division team Aucas have tumbled down the leagues in recent years and now reside in the third tier or Segunda categoria.

Aucas or Sociedad Deportiva Aucas was formed in 1945 and named after the indigenous Auca tribe:who are also called Huaorani , from Ecuador’s Amazonian region. They were originally owned by the petroleum giant Royal Dutch Shell and as a result continue to play in Shell’s colours of red and yellow.

Historically, their rivals have been giants Liga de Quito from the south of Quito but in recent years their success has been at polar opposites. Aucas have never won the national championship but this does not dim the enthusiasm of the supporters who are recognised as one of the most passionate in Ecuador.

The likes of Augustin Delgado and Rene Higuita (who left after testing positive for cocaine) have previously played for the El idolo del pueblo (People’s Idol) and now Aucas have 3 of Ecuador’s most travelled player players: Wellington Sánchez, Gustavo Figueroa and Ivan Kaviedes in their squad.

Indeed much of the pre-match hype had concentrated on Ivan Kaviedes who had been arrested and jailed last week for drunk driving and assaulting a police officer. The director of Aucas defended his veteran striker by claiming that Kaviedes was the victim of police extortion or even robbery. Unfortunately in much of Latin America this is commonplace. Many might remember Kaviedes from the World Cup 2006 and his Spiderman mask celebration versus Costa Rica, many fewer will remember his brief period playing for Crystal Palace.

Ivan Kaviedes

A bumper crowd of 8,000 half-filled the Estadio Chillogallo giving a loud and frenzied atmosphere, helped along by a couple of bands, many drums and more than a few rattles.

Today’s opponents would be Leon Carr from Pelileo, a small Andean city 150 km south of Quito. Judging from the amount of sponsors on their blue shirts and their lack of substitutes they were not the richest club in the world and did not have the resources of Aucas.

Aucas started the brighter and dominated the early play. With 6 minutes on the clock Aucas took the lead when Padilla crossed long for Juan Carlos Villacres to nod in from close range, then barely 30 seconds later veteran Gustavo Figeroa outran the defence to slip home Aucas’s second.

From then on it was dreadfully one sided as the Leon defence were ripped open at will and repeatedly left chasing the ball. Aucas were far sharper and were creating chance after chance with slick one-twos and neat passing with only the Leon goal-keeper, Christian Chagueza preventing it becoming a cricket score.

Much of the play was on the ground then fed out to the wings where upon the wide players would cross into the on-rushing attackers. Despite having an obvious height advantage the Leon defenders looked panic stricken with every cross and scrambled to clear the ball to safety.

When another Mercado knocked in a third Aucas goal the game was over as a competition before half-time approached.

There were several things that marked the gulf in class and ability between both teams but most strikingly were the veteran players. Although Figeroa and Sánchez are in the twilight of their careers they obviously have not lost their touch and ability to read the game. Sanchez was picking long passes and controlling the midfield while letting the younger players do the running and Figeroa was hanging outside the box like an old, opportunist fox. It was clear to even an untrained eye that these players were a class apart.

The second half brought no respite for Leon Carr as they were ruthlessly exposed and battered into submission.  Juan Carlos Villacrés secured an impressive hat-trick in 51 and 62 minutes, (the second being an opportunist overhead kick). Jhon Tejada rattled a stunning free-kick from outside the box in between these to make it 5 before Moises Cuero rapped up the scoring with a late penalty to secure an emphatic 7 – 0.

The only thing left was a late red card for Leon Carr midfielder Carlos Vilacís who walked after nearly hospitalising an Aucas defender.

The result leaves Aucas in pole position for promotion but still leaves them far from Serie A and any possible games with Liga de Quito.

LINE-UPS

Aucas: Carlos Espinoza, Freddy Salazar, Santiago Mallitasig, Cesar Mercado, César Villacís, Edwin Méndez, Wellington Sánchez, Nixon Folleco, Jairo Padilla, Gustavo Figeroa and Juan Carlos Villacrés.

León Carr: Christian Chagueza, Fabricio Castillo, Darwin Núñez, Carlos Villacís, Hugo Manzano, Efrén Paredes, Miguel Sánchez, Jair Angulo, Óscar Freire, Jimmy Arroyo and Álex Tipantasig.

Despite the game being so lop-sided it was good to visit a different club in Quito and watch fans who obviously adore their club. The attendance was far more than what El Nacional or Deportivo Quito gets for a Sunday game and the “hinchas” created a vibrant atmosphere. Added to which small things like fans taking their bicycles and dogs into the stadium and vendors delivering your beer to your hands make the match day experience a little bit more special.

A busy fortnight of football in Ecuador

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


GOALKEEPERS:

DOMINGUEZ, (LIGA DE QUITO)

BANGUERA,  (BARCELONA)

BONE,  (DEPORTIVO QUITO)

DEFENCE:

PAREDES,  (DEPORTIVO QUITO)

ACHILLIER,  (EMELEC)

AYOVI,  (MONTERREY, MÉXICO)

CALDERON, (LIGA DE QUITO)

CAMPOS,  (BARCELONA)

ERAZO,  (BARCELONA)

GUAGUA, (ATLANTE , MÉXICO)

MIDFIELD:

CASTILLO,  (PACHUCA , MÉXICO)

LEON, (INDEPENDIENTE)

MINDA,  (CHIVAS, USA)

QUIÑONEZ,  (EL NACIONAL)

ARROYO, (BARCELONA)

SARITAMA,  (DEPORTIVO QUITO)

VALENCIA, (MANCHESTER UNITED )

MONTERO, (MORELIA , MÉXICO)

ROJAS, JOAO (MORELIA , MÉXICO)

ATTACK:

AYOVI,  (AL NASSR,SAUDI ARABI)

BENITEZ, (AMÉRICA,MÉXICO)

CAICEDO, (LOKOMOTIV ,RUSSIA)

MINA, (BARCELONA)

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.

 

   
 Chile 6 12
 Uruguay 5 11
 Argentina 5 10
 Ecuador 5 9
 Venezuela 6 8
 Colombia 5 7
 Bolivia 6 4
 Paraguay 5 4
 Peru 5 3
 

 

 

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
Cobreloa (Chile) vs Barcelona
Tuesday, August 28 – 19:45
Olympia (Paraguay) vs Emelec
Wednesday, August 29 – 17:15
Liga de Loja vs Nacional (Uruguay)
Thursday, August 30 – 17:15
Deportivo Quito vs Aurora (Bolivia)
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
Deportivo Cuenca 1 – 2 Barcelona
Macará 2 – 0 Técnico Universitario
Emelec 1 – 0 Olmedo
Independiente del Valle 1 – 0 Manta F.C.
 

The Quito derby will be played later because of Deportivo’s involvement in the Copa Sudamericana

El Nacional vs Deportivo Quito

 

 

Team P W E L Pts GD
1. Barcelona
8 5 2 1 17 +7
2. Emelec
1
8 5 1 2 16 +2
3. Macara
2
8 5 0 3 15 +3
4. Manta FC
2
8 4 2 2 14 +4
5. Liga de Quito
1
8 3 4 1 13 +1
6. Olmedo
2
8 3 3 2 12 +4
7. The National
7 1 5 1 8 +2
8. Deportivo Cuenca
8 2 2 4 8 -3
9. Independiente
3
8 2 1 5 7 -5
10. Tec Universidad
1
8 1 4 3 7 -6
11. Liga de Loja
1
8 1 2 5 5 -6
12. Deportivo Quito
1
7 0 4 3 4 -3

Ecuador hammer Chile in the big apple

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.

Ecuadorian captain Antonio Valencia

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.

Montero out-jumps Minto

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.”

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wq0AX7j2j98&feature=player_embedded

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.

Deportivo Cuenca 0 – 0 Deportivo Quito

Liga de Loja 1 – 2 Manta F.C.

Técnico Universitario 0 – 0 Liga de Quito

El Nacional 1 – 1 Olmedo

Independiente 0 – 3 Macará

Emelec 1 – 2 Barcelona

P Won D L Pts GD
Barcelona 6 4 2 0 14 +7
Manta 6 4 1 1 13 +5
Macará 6 4 0 2 12 +2
Liga 6 2 4 0 10 +2
Emelec 6 3 1 2 10 0
Olmedo 6 2 3 1 9 +3
El Nac 6 1 4 1 7 +2
Dep Cu 6 1 2 3 5 -4
Indepe 6 1 1 4 4 -4
Loja 6 1 1 4 4 -5
Técnico 6 0 4 2 4 -5
Quito 6 0 3 3 3 -3

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.

This weekend’s Serie A fixtures.

Macará vs Emelec

Olmedo vs Independiente del Valle

Liga de Quito vs Deportivo Cuenca

Dep Quito vs Liga de Loja

Manta F.C. vs El Nacional

Barcelona vs Técnico Universitario

Barcelona lead at home and progress in Sudamericana

 

 

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.

 

 

Macará 2 – 1 El Nacional
Liga de Quito 2 – 2 Barcelona
Olmedo 2 – 1 Liga de Loja
Deportivo Quito 0 – 0 Técnico Universitario
Manta F.C. 2 – 0 Deportivo Cuenca
Emelec 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.

 

 

Team GP W D L Pts GD
1. Barcelona
5 3 2 0 11 +6
2. Manta FC
1
5 3 1 1 10 +4
3. Emelec
1
5 3 1 1 10 +1
4. Liga de Quito
2
5 2 3 0 9 +2
5. Macara
1
5 3 0 2 9 -1
6. Olmedo
1
5 2 2 1 8 +3
7. El Nacional
2
5 1 3 1 6 +2
8. Independiente
5 1 1 3 4 -1
9. Liga de Loja
1
5 1 1 3 4 -4
10. Deportivo Cuenca
1
5 1 1 3 4 -4
11. Tec. Universidad
5 0 3 2 3 -5
12. Deportivo Quito
5 0 2 3 2 -3

 

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.

 

Deportivo Cuenca vs Deportivo Quito
Liga de Loja vs Manta F.C.
Técnico Universitario vs Liga de Quito
El Nacional vs Olmedo
Independiente del Valle vs Macará
Emelec vs Barcelona

 

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.

Latin American footballers are more successful than ever.

If one looks over the national football teams of South America, in general the majority of their players ply their trade in Europe.

Latin Americans like to boast that there families are closer than any other cultures (pretty much nonsense in my view), so a move to another continent must be a wrench for footballers, especially at such a young age. However the wages on offer in Europe’s bigger leagues far outstrip those offered in Latin America, except Brazil and maybe Mexico.This coupled with the opportunity to play at a far higher level attracts young footballers to Europe and possible wealth and glory.

Less than 20 years ago the EPL and SPL had a splattering of Latin Americans of which very few were overall successes. Usually, after a season or two they escaped back to their respective paradises complaining about the dreadful food and incessant rain in the UK. Players like Juan Sebastian Veron (Man United, Chelsea, Diego Forlan (Man United) and  Jared Borghetti (Bolton), despite being heroes at home failed to set the heather alight in the bright lights of the EPL/Premiership and were unfairly labelled as South American duds.

Diego Forlan

In Scotland we had the likes of  Emerson and Gabriel Amato (Rangers) or Rafeal Schiedt (Celtic) but admittedly their were some successes alike Claudio Cannagia (Argentina) and Ulysses De La Cruz (Hibernian).

But as the years progressed for every Robinho (Man City) there was at least another Juninho (Middlesborough and Celtic) and for every Crespo (Chelsea) a Gilberto Silva (Arsenal).

Now all of the best players from Latin America play in Europe’s top leagues and the Champions league. Whereas before Latin American’s were a lesser spotted novelty now they are the bedrock of many of the successful European club teams.

If we take the current “biggest” teams in Europe(free to disagree).

Manchester City have Carlos Tevez,Pablo Zableta and Sergio Aguero (Argentina).

Real Madrid have Angel Di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina), Marcelo and Kaka (Brazil).

Barcelona have Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano (Argentina), Dani Alves and Adriano (Brazil) and Alexis Sanchez (Chile).

Bayern Munich have Dante, Rafinha and Luis Gustavo (Brazil).

Chelsea (as Champions league winners) have David Luis, Ramires and Oscar (Brazil).

Manchester United have Javier Hernandez (Mexico), Antonio Valencia (Ecuador) and Rafeal (Brazil).

and free spending Paris Saint-Germain have Thiago Silva, Nene, Alex and Maxwell (Brazil), Javier Pastore and Ezequiel Lavezzi (Argentina) and Diego Lugano (Uruguay).

This is not to mention the imminent transfers of Neymar, Ganso, Lucas Ocampos and Alexander Mejja. It seems as if every team needs to have a South American player now (even 3rd Division dwelling Rangers recently acquired Brazilian Emilson Cribari).

Post- Olympics every big Euro club will be battling for Neymar’s signature.

With their shared languages Portugal and Spain have always found it easier to attract Latin Americans ranging from Hugo Sanchez to  Rivaldo, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho however now La Liga has to contend with clubs in Russia and their immense oil wealth. Similarly many young players wisely seem to choose clubs in Ligue 1 or the Eredivise as stepping stone to greater things.

Whether these players are more determined than those before or maybe life is now more tolerable in the northern European countries is open to question but what is not in doubt is that Latin Americans are succeeding and entertaining in European football like never before. Scouts from every major and minor team now scour the American continent looking for the next Messi or Maradona and whereas before they were content to pay the high transfer fees, now the European clubs want the Latin stars as early and as cheaply as possible.

Barcelona’s fostering of Lionel Messi is the template that many clubs aim to follow.

A recent statistic from Brazil claimed that over 1,000 young footballers leave Brazil alone every year. With only a small percentage destined for super stardom and eye watering contracts the rest will a journey man existence or return home to their barrios and favelas. It’s a harsh lesson to learn at such a young age and one hopes they can recover from being spat by a football industry that treats them more as commodities rather than entertainers or even artists.

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