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.