Mixed bag for the Ecuadorians in Copa Sudamericana

Image

 

Deportivo Quito rounded off the weeks international fixtures with a 2 – 1 home win against Aurora of Bolivia. Although Deportivo controlled much of the game they may yet rue the away goal conceded in the 2nd half. Checa and Lorca scored a quick double on 37 and 38 minutes to them up nicely for the 2nd half however Da Silva claimed a vital goal back for Aurora in 67 minutes. At 2 – 1 the tie is still delicately poised.

Yesterday Liga de Loja lost 0 – 1 to Nacional of Uruguay leaving them with an uphill battle in Montevideo but the Guayaquil teams fared better with Barcelona sealing a fine no-score draw away to Cobreload of Chile while Emelec went one better with a 1 – 0 win away to Olympia of Paraguay.

 

In other news veteran hitman Ivan Kaviedes has been arrested and detained for 4 days after being pulled over by the police and found to be several times over the limit. To make things worse he apparently resisted arrest and clouted the arresting officer.

Kaviedes, who currently plays for 3rd division Aucas,has had a successful and controversial career. Many will remember him from his spider-man mask celebration in 2006 World Cup.

Image

 

 

New stadium plans in Quito

 

 

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.

The proposed breakdown of seating in the Atahaulpa stadium.

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.

plans for Deportivo Quito’s new stadium

 

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.

El Nacional’s new stadium plans.

 

Ecuadorian Serie A kicks of Segunda Etape (second stage).

Image

The second half (Segunda Etapa) of the Ecuadorian Serie A   kicked off at the weekend with more than a couple of surprises.

Many of the teams have invested in new players and none more so than Deportivo Quito who brought in: Argentine midfielder Sebastian Rusculleda and Chilean forward, Gonzalo Lorca from Santiago Wanderers, Uruguayan defender Mauro Villa and new goalkeeper Alexi Lemos.

Image

 Deportivo are looking to retain their overall title (Bicampeneato) from last year. Last term they finished in a disappointing 7th position despite a late surge of form. On Friday they got off to a horrible start by going down 2-1 away to lowly Macara. The result was even more surprising considering they thrashed Macara 3-0 in the Atahaulpa only last week. Los Azulgrana (The Blue and Dark Reds) were caught napping after the break and conceded twice in the early stages of the 2nd half through Ledesma and Martinez. Although Luis Romero grabbed one back in 81 minutes, Macara held on for a fine opening day win.

Liga de Loja managed to pip Independiente at the post last weekend to claim 2nd place and a historic Copa Sudamericana place but the Los negriazules (The black-and-blues) got their revenge on Saturday with a fine 2 – 0 win at home in Sangloqui. A Daniel Samaniego double in the first half secured the win and gave Independiente top spot.

 

          Macara 2 – 1 Deportivo Quito

Manta FC       1 – 2      Liga de Quito

                      Independiente Jose Teran                 2 – 1    Liga of Loja

                                                        Olmedo           1 – 2    Barcelona

                El Nacional     2 – 2     Universidad Technico

                  Emelec         1 – 0         Deportivo Cuenca

In the weekends other games Liga de Quito did well to come back in the 2nd half and secure a 2 -1 away to Manta. The Liga fans had hoped to see new Paraguayan signing Eduardo Echeverria but he was not match fit, nevertheless they were treated to spirited if not convincing performance. After going behind to a Carlos Garcés in 36 minutes they finally rallied late in the game to overturn the deficit.

Similarly Barcelona struggled to overcome Olmedo and had to raise their game after conceding in 36 minutes courtesy of Sergio Souza. Barcelona’s striking duo of Ladines and Arrinton finally overcame Olmedo to claim the full 3 points.

In the remaining games Emelec won 1-0 at home to Deportivo Cuenca while El Nacional drew 2-2 against Universidad Technico.

Image

Deportivo Quito continue their impressive run

Image

DEPORTIVO VS MACARA

Someone, in their wisdom decided to have this week’s game on Friday afternoon at 12pm. The result was a crowd of barely 2,000 even with tickets slashed to encourage attendance. Luckily I finished my classes at 11.40 so I walked 5 minutes over to the stadium to take in the matinee performance.

The rotund, old woman that sells the tickets outside was offering $2 Tribunas or $3 populars but as she tried to force them into my hand I noticed the $10 Palco VIP tickets underneath. I was feeling flush so decided to invest and walked into the mouth of the stadium and up the stairs.

After choosing the wrong stand entrance I was ushered higher and higher until I reached the various boxes and executives suites, all of which were a far cry from the luxury of the EPL or even SPL. I do not want to appear snobby because I know Ecuador does not have the wealth of Europe but the countries footballing organisations generate enough funds from a fervent supporter base to reinvest in what is the national stadium.

Only last month the national team attracted well over 40,000 for their World Cup qualifier versus Colombia and with tickets a minimum of $25 it’s clear that the money is there.

The Atahualpa Stadium was officially in 1951 and I doubt much has been done to it since. Despite this the stadium engenders charm and reminds me of old pictures of Hampden Park with its one single covered stand and the rest open to the beating sun.

Image

It’s clear the stadium is steeped in history with its many marble plaques commemorating teams and players of old but it wouldn’t take much to improve its dilapidated and run down appearance.

The palco VIP box was empty and soulless and with a huge dirty, glass screen hampering vision and deafening the sound of the match so totally useless for a proper match experience. So I trundled back down the stairs and asked to be allowed into the cheaper seats with my over-invested ticket. Lesson learned.

Image

Macara or Club Social y Deportivo Macará are based in the central city of Ambato and share their stadium with Club Deportivo Técnico Universitario also of Serie A. Known as El Idolo de Ambato (The Idol of Ambato) or Celestes (Sky blues), because of their the shirts, Macara were promoted to the first tier last year after finishing runner-up in Serie B.

Previously their golden period was in the 1980’s when they had several South American stars. Despite this they never managed to win any trophies.

Before today’s game Macara lay in 10th position with 21 points, 3 ahead of their city rivals while Deportivo Quito, after an indifferent start had recently climbed to 7th.

Deportivo started the match by far the brighter with captain,Luis Saritama dominating the midfield and linking up well with Danny Luna. In the opening period both teams had half chances but it was the home side that capitalised on their early dominance by taking the lead on 15 minutes. Congo did well to run down an over-hit pass deep into Macara’s half then cut back a neat ball to Luna at the edge of the box. Instead of shooting form distance Luna dummied the ball to his captain who controlled the ball then placed a beautiful long range shot past a helpless Christian Mora. It was an excellent strike from Saritama and indicative of his current form and confidence.

Macara almost secured parity barely a minute later when their striker, Rodriguez was put through on goal but he ballooned his shot far over the crossbar. The game then got bogged down in midfield for a spell with stray passes and tackles limiting chances. Although Quito were creating the better opportunities, Julio Bevacqua as centre forward was looking slow and cumbersome with his poor first touch spoiling chances to shoot.

Quito doubled their lead in 28 minutes again through Luis Saritama. He dribbled into the box then played a short pass to Folleco who then shimmied past two defenders and smashed the ball high into the Macara net. It was deserved on the balance of play and put Quito firmly in control of the match. Despite this Macara continued to threaten and only some fine acrobatic saves from Adrian Bone denied the sky blues their needed goal. At half time Quito were in command but needed a 3rd to finish the game.

Macara started the 2nd half with a greater intensity and started to pepper the Quito goal with many shots and crosses. Luckily Bone was in fine form and commanded his box when his defenders looked sluggish and lackadaisical. On several occasions the Quito keeper was quick to leave his lines and smother the ball or run down shots. After one such block Quito raced up field to score and end the game as a competition.

This time Folleco turned provider with a high cross to Bevacqua who headed down into the goal. At first it seemed as if Mora had saved but he couldn’t prevent the ball from slipping over the line.

At 3 – 0 Quito could afford the opportunity to try out the young Jose Miguel Andrade who impressed in the last 20 minutes but was denied a goal first by the woodwork then by an awful offside decision.

In the end Deportivo Quito ran out comfortable winners thanks largely to their captain Luis Saritama and some impressive goalkeeping with Adrian Bone.

The win boosts Quito up into 5th position while Macara still linger 3rd from bottom.

Independiente lose top spot to Barcelona

Image

Independiente Jose Teran lost at home to Deportivo Cuenca yesterday to damage their championship hopes and hand the ascendancy to Barcelona. The Guayaquil giants have been relentlessly pursuing Independiente for several weeks without taking 1st spot but their 3 -0 win combined with Independiente’s loss awarded them 1st position.

While Independiente benefited from a late winner last week they had to suffer the same punishment against Cuenca who prolonged their excellent away win record courtesy of a Walter Chalá strike in the 83rd minute. It was tough luck for the Sangolqui side as they had enjoyed the bulk of possession but failed to capitalise on their dominance.

Results for week 21

 

OLMEDO                     2 – 0           LIGA DE QUITO

BARCELONA                  3 – 0      TEC.UNIVERSITARIO

MACARA             0 –2              EMELEC

MANTA FC                    1 – 2      DEPORTIVO QUITO

INDEPENDIENTE                  1 – 2         DEPORTIVO CUENCA

 EL NACIONAL               1  – 3              LIGA DE LOJA

 

 

Liga de Loja continued their surprise championship challenge by hammering El Nacional in the Atahaulpa. Brazilian striker, Renato was in sparkling form and grabbed a 2nd half hat-trick for Los Albos del Sur (The Whites of the South) to move his team into 2nd position.

In the face of continued criticism and talk of drinking problems within the squad Liga de Quito did nothing to deter their detractors by collapsing away to bottom place, Olmedo. The 2- 0 defeat  (Jacob Murillo and Hugo Prieto scoring) drops Liga into 6th position, 7 points behind Barcelona.

Current champions Deportivo Quito breathed life into a faltering campaign by defeating Manta 2-1 which in turn boosts their position to 6th. Deportivo will face Leon Huanuco (PERU) in the coming Copa Sudamerica and have to recapture last year’s form if they want to ensure International competition.

Upon reaching the end of this term’s fixtures the league will start again in a double round-robin format and continue till December. The winners of each stage term will play off to become champion with the rest vying for Copa Libertadores and Sudamerican spots. As it stands the top 3 teams will qualify for the Sudamericana (along with Deportivo Quito) while the first term champions will qualify for the Copa Libertadores.

Pos      Team                Pnt.

1          BARCELONA   38

2          LDU  LOJA       37

3          INDEP. JT        36

4          EMELEC           34

5          D.CUENCA      33

6          LDU QUITO     31

7          SDQUITO         28

8          MANTA FC      27

                                                                                                                 9          NATIONAL      26

10         MACARA        21

11        TECHNICAL U. 18

12        OLMEDO         14

The Ecuadorian match experience: The Casa Blanca

LDU QUITO vs DEPORTIVO QUITO

It was hard to believe that Sunday’s game in La Casa Blanca (the White House) was a derby or the “Clásico Capitalino”. Although the stadium was over half full there wasn’t the fervent atmosphere you would usually associate with a derby.

Maybe it was the 11.30am kick off that created the subdued atmosphere but as I ambled into the stadium I was fairly underwhelmed and a little disappointed.

La Casa Blanca or Estadio de Liga Deportiva Universitaria has been the home to LDU Quito (Liga) since 1997. With an official capacity of 55,104 is the biggest stadium in Quito and only smaller than the Estadio Monumental Banco Pichincha in Guayaquil, home of Barcelona.

The stadium cost a paltry $16 million to build and has the feeling of proper footballing arena. Unlike the Atahaulpa there is no deep, ditch nor running track to needlessly separate the fans from the action. Although there is a 20 foot net surrounding the pitch (to stop fools from throwing objects on the pitch and at players) you feel much closer to the action and have a better view than usual.

Behind both of the goals are two large banks of seats that contain the majority of home and away fans. At $7 for “Tribuna” entrance these areas are usually packed with the hard-core supporters who constantly sing, blow trumpets and bang their assorted drums. The atmosphere is excellent but you see little of the game, especially when they let off flares and choke everyone with thick, white smoke. With this in mind I decided to shell out an extra 4 bucks for the West stand, a seat and available cover from the beating, sun.

The seats are really just long benches of concrete where many can park their backside, put up their feet and sit their food. If you are hungry you need not move far to the many stands selling hotdogs and sandwiches.  Beer is readily available and free flowing with the national Pilsner, Budweiser and Brahma your choice.

At the Ecuador vs Colombia game in the Atahaulpa stadium a fortnight before the Police had decided to prohibit the sale of beer. The result was as hilarious as it was inevitable. Discontent and open abuse quickly soured into widespread rebellion leaving the Police helpless. When I ordered 4 beers shortly before kick-off they were passed over a scowling Police woman at that point resigned to the will of the people.

The East and West stands have the tribunal areas near the pitch-side and are shadowed by the many suites and boxes above. At times these stands above look more like the Grandstand at a horse race or Formula One track with a sort of egg-box set up. The stadium was obviously designed with the “prawn sandwich brigade” in mind but at $25 to entry the boxes are far from exclusive.

Even if you don’t want to venture towards the hot-dog stands at the back, many vendors wander between the seats and aisles selling food, drinks, chewing gum and cigarettes. The short, fat women bellow at their top of their voices:  “Sandwhiches, papas y agua”. After a while it gets tiresome especially if they stand in front of your view of the game.

The game itself was fairly boring. Deportivo enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and dominated a poor Liga. Despite this the fans of both sides continued to sing and battered there drums to the final whistle and a 0 – 0 draw.

The fans then slipped out of the stadium and onto the busy streets and markets outside. There was a heavy Police presence outside complete with horses, riot shields and even an armoured, Mad Max style tank but they were totally un-necessary. The fans were separated for a few hundred yards then they mingled together and boarded the many buses and taxis waiting to take them home.

As a fairly big match on the Ecuadorian Serie A calendar the “Clásico Capitalino” was a fairly, sedate affair. The stereotypical image of the Latin American football match is riots, passion and incessant noise but I suppose the “hinchas” alike the die-hard fans and ultras of Europe and the UK sometimes just want to chill out and watch the game on a Sunday.