The Palco experience

Yesterday I paid ten extra dollars to watch the Quito derby from the “Palco” section of the Atahaulpa. The reason was two fold: the ability to sit undercover and so avoid the 5-8 pm daily downpour and also to experience the “behind the bench” fans.

Typically, it didn’t rain a drop so my $10 was wasted in the first respect (on Sunday I saved my money but third degree burns to my knees, arms and face) but the fan entertainment was hilarious and strangely familiar.

The Palco section is usually half-filled with various club officials,tracksuit suited staff, players wives and businessmen but the real characters are the old Waldorf and Stadler like pundits eager to offer advice and abuse with gusto.

In front of me were a group of silver haired darlings either giggling at their own jokes or roaring expletives at their players.

Now my Spanish is by no means fluent but even a beginner could decipher and understand the general “craic” and this was because the behaviour and language (but in Espanol) is exactly the same as in Scotland. 

The last game I a went to in Scotland before leaving was St Johnstone vs Rangers in the McDiarmid Stadium, Perth. Thinking the game would be a sell-out I bought my tickets 3 days before so not to be disappointed. As a result I got tickets for the main stand, just behind the dug-outs, right among the local heroes. 

For 90 minutes I had to listen to a selection of bawling donkeys, droning on to the Saints manager, Steve Lomas and because of  the proximity of fans to dugout these aged experts were clearly in Lomas’s earshot. In the end Lomas actually responded, only encouraging the muppets. It wouldn’t of been too bad if the various shouts were witty or funny but it was just noise. Like a farmer shouting at his cows.

It was similar in the Atahaulpa last night but two things were different:

Firstly, as the dug-outs are separated by an “Olympic running track, long jump pit and 10 metres of concrete from the fans unless you have the roar of a lion the managers will never hear you. As result any pleas or offers of advice are totally futile.  Dog barking at the moon.

Second, the abuse leveled at the players or management is much stronger and un-pc than back home. The cries of “Chuta Madre, Puta, hija de la chingada” etc(and not to mention the “negrito” chant) would get you arrested back home but in Ecuadorian games it’s quite the norm.

Because the Palco area is mixed part of the stadium their was choice banter exchanged between the fans, sometimes only rows apart. Surprisingly neither side took the bait nor rose to the occasion. Several times the old geezers openly berated and mocked much younger fans behind them.

Maybe alike Scotland the younger fans accepted their seniors were merely old, loud mouths quite entitled to their opinions and not worth the hassle.

Much the same opinion I have of the old bawlers back home. 

 

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

Deportivo Quito turn off the Lightbulbs.

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DEPORTIVO QUITO VS EMELEC

After last week’s international game it was strange to return to a near empty Atahaulpa Stadium. Gone were the masses of yellow and instead was the blue and red of current Serie A champions Deportivo Quito.

Today’s opponents were Emelec of Guayaquil; Ecuadorian giants and Championship contenders.Image

Emelec are one of Ecuador’s most successful clubs with 10 titles and were formed in 1929 by American, George Capwell and named after his company; Empresa Eléctrica del Ecuador. For this reason they are known as the El Bombillo (The Lightbulbs) or Los Electricos (The Electrics). Their main rivals are Barcelona, also of Guayaquil and their city derbies are called the El Clásico del Astillero (The Shipyard Derby).

On Wednesday night Emelec lost the latest El Clásico del Astillero 1-0 in the George Capwell Stadium. The defeat was a double blow as it preserved Barcelona’s lead at the top of the table while Emelec fell 3 points behind in 4rth.

Deportivo Quito was still smarting from a 3-1 home defeat to Deportivo Cuenca on Wednesday. With their Championship chances already lost Deportivo Quito’s only competition was to finish above fellow Quito and Athaulpa dwellers El Nacional, who sat 2 points ahead of Deportivo in 7th place.

LINE-UPS:

Deportivo Quito

Adrian Bone,

Isaac Mina, Luis Romero, Pedro Velasco, Mauritius Folleco,

Luis Saritama, Alex Bolaños, Edison Vega, Danny Luna,

Maxi Bevacqua        Luis Congo

Emelec

Esteban Dreer

Mariano Mina, Oscar Bagiii, Gabriel Achilier, Eddy Corozo,

Pedro Quinonez, Efren Mera, Fernando Giménez,

Enner Valencia            Marcos Mondaini

Luciano Figueroa

Following their humiliation against Universidad Chile in the Copa Libertadores, Deportivo sacked their Argentinian coach, Carlos Ischia and replaced him with the Uruguayan, Nelson Acosta. Looking for his first win Acosta opted for attacking line-up which was positive right from the kick off.

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Deportivo concentrated much of their attack down the left flank and through Luis Saritama in centre midfield. Several times during the opening exchanges Emelec had to clear crosses and scramble to last ditch tackles to prevent the intentions of Argentinian, Maxi Bevacqua.

In the 19th minute Deportivo took the lead through Danny Luna after he collected a Dreer parry then shot low into the Emelec net. From then on, Deportivo dominated the game and restricted Emelec to wild, long range efforts which never troubled the Deportivo goal-keeper.

Throughout the game both teams Argentinian centre forwards (Luciano Figueroa and Maxi Bevacqua) were slow and cumbersome, spurning many chances   and refusing to run down lost causes. If only they had taken inspiration from Andy Carroll’s forward display against Sweden they could have affected the game. Instead they looked more like the moody and selfish Zlatan Ibrahimovich.

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The start of the 2nd half was scrappy with both teams committing rash fouls and cancelling out the midfield.

Deportivo finally managed to inter-link some passes together in 59 minutes which ended with Saritama sliding a through ball to Luis Congo. The attacker opted to cut the ball back but a sliding Achilier handled leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. Congo was not to be denied again and he powerfully, dispatched his spot kick to double the home teams lead.

This looked to be the final result until Emelec grabbed a consolation with the last kick of the game. Fernando Gaibor did well to dribble past a couple of defenders but he was crudely taken down Luis Romero, again leaving the referee with no choice.

Somewhat selfishly Figueroa ripped the ball from Gaibor’s grasp, denying the youngster his penalty chance but claiming Emelec’s consolation.

Deportivo’s win made no change to their league position and they still languish behind El Nacional(who recorded a fine 2-1 win away to Barcelona) in 8th position.

In Sunday’s other games Independiente moved closer to leaders Barcelona with a 2-2 draw against Liga while Loja lost 2 points against Macara and continue to lie in 3rd place.

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The last two rounds of games in Serie A did not shake-up the leading pack with the top 6 teams still only being separated by 4 points. As the league moves towards the closing stages all the top half of the table can have realistic championship pretensions.