One last push for Serie A title

Image

 

Despite slipping up against Manta on Wednesday, Barcelona still have the Championship in the grasp and need only win against Olmedo tomorrow.

However with city rivals Emelec only 5 points behind and a game in hand Barcelona can ill afford another slip-up.

Image

 

At the bottom of the table El Nacional are lying precariously near to relegation. The final league standings will be calculated over two Etapes so a win against Liga De Loja is essential

 

Image

 

In the Segunda Division, Aucas should ensure promotion to the Serie B on Sunday in front of a capacity crowd in Chillagallo

Barcelona on the brink of Championship

Barcelona all but sealed the Segunda Etape title (and overall championship) with a lucky win against Deportivo Quito yesterday.

They took the lead through a Narcisso Mina header in the 13th minute then seemed happy to sit back and let Deportivo control the game. However it quickly became clear that Deportivo were not going to score especially when they lost Paredes to a second yellow and Morales to a straight red in the second half.

Deportivo were finally punished for their profligacy in front of goal when Arroyo sealed the win with a fine 30 yard free kick in 90 minutes.

Image

Elsewhere, Emelec confirmed their involvement in next years Copa Libertadores by winning 2-1 at home against El Nacional while Olmedo cemented their relegation to Segunda B after another home loss, this time to Deportivo Cuenca.

Independiente recorded a fine win against Liga de Quito. A Daniel Angulo strike in 57 minutes was enough to grab 3 points and continue their push for a Libertadores spot. The team from Sangloqui are universally recognised as the best youngsters in Ecuador and it remains to be seen how many of their players they can retain for next season, especially with their links to Spurs and the bigger Ecuadorian teams circling

Image

The final places are calculated over the two “etapes” or stages and as Barcelona should win both their will not be a final play-off match this year.

With two teams to be relegated to the Segunda B El Nacional, Macara or Ted de Universitario may yet join Olmedo and drop down a division. This would be particularly disastrous who are an historic giant of Ecuadorian football with a record equaling 13 championships.

 

With two games left to play it should be a a tight end to the bottom of the Serie A.

Cumulative Standings
Team P W D L Pts GD
1. Barcelona
41 21 13 7 76 +37
2. Emelec
40 21 7 12 70 +20
3. Indepndiente del Valle
41 17 11 13 62 +4
4. Liga de Quito
41 14 18 9 60 +11
5. Deportivo Cuenca   41 17 8 16 59 -5
6. Liga de Loja
41 15 13 13 58 +4
7. Deportivo Quito  

 

40 13 14 13 53 +8
8. Manta FC

 

41 14 11 16 53 +2
9. El Nacional

 

41 12 13 16 49 -13
10. Macara

 

41 13 7 21 46 -18
11. Tec de Universitario

 

41 11 13 17 46 -19
12. Olmedo  

 

41 9 8 24 35 -31

Fans are ripped off of in the SPL.

On Saturday I was afforded the rare chance to take in two Serie A games in one afternoon, in the same stadium.

Although it was an early start: 10.45, AFNA (the state football authority) offered both matches for $10 or around £6.20. An amazing price considering you can’t even get a pie and a couple of cokes for £6.20 in the majority of the stadiums back home.

In the SPL you pay around £20-24 for a match day ticket and the standard of football is way below the Ecuadorian Serie A.

The IFFHS (International Federation of Football History and Statistics) recently rated Ecuador’s Serie A at 14th in world, while Scotland’s top tier at 25th. So it seems the Scottish supporters are paying 5 times the price for an inferior product.

In my opinion, Ecuador’s professional players have far more technique and skill than their Scottish counterparts as a result the entertainment is more pleasing to the eye.

Of course the safety standards of Scottish and English stadiums are far better but this still doesn’t account for such a huge difference in price. And remember Ecuador’s currency is the American dollar and the cost of living is not hugely different to the UK.

Plainly speaking we are ripped off in Scotland.

The crests of the Ecuadorian Serie A.

All the club crests of the Ecuadorian Serie A clubs.

(Deportivo Quito)    

Image

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (Liga de Quito)

Image

        (El Nacional)

Image

                                      (Liga de Loja)

ImageImage

Image                                                                                                                             ( Barcelona)

Image                           (Universidad Technico)

Image

                                                                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pride of place has to go to Manta FC. Nothing can beat a footballing fish.

 

 

 

 

 

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

Barcelona steal top spot from Independiente on last day

Image

Deportivo Quito   3 – 0   Macará

Técnico Universitario    1 – 2        El Nacional

     Liga de Quito                    2 – 0          Manta F.C.

Deportivo Cuenca              1 – 0             Barcelona

                                 Emelec          5 – 0                      Olmedo

                                Liga de Loja     0 – 0      Independiente 

The first stage or “etape” of the Ecuadorian Serie A was wrapped up on Sunday with Barcelona claiming top spot. In a dramatic last weekend the Guayaquil giants actually lost away to Deportivo Cuenca 1 – 0 however won the first stage of the Championship due to a superior goal difference.

Liga de Loja finished with the same points total but with an inferior goal difference of 11 and had to settle for the runner-up spot. Considering they were only promoted last year and have fraction of the bigger teams resources Loja can be mightily pleases with their position despite the last day heartbreak (especially as they gained Copa Sudamericana qualification).

The real last day losers were Independiente Jose Teran who were pipped both for the title and a Sudamericana place. The provincial team from Sangloqui had led the table for the majority of the “etape” but were leapfrogged by Barcelona, Loja and Emelec after Sunday’s games.

Again despite finishing the league equal with Emelec they were bumped to 4rth as a result of an inferior goal-difference. This wasn’t helped by Emelec thumping Olmedo, 5 – 0.

The league now moves into the 2nd stage which will be the same format as before. At the end of this term the two stage winners will play-off for the total championship.

The 1st stage has been fairly disastrous for the Quito teams with Liga de Quito, Deportivo Quito and El Nacional finishing 6th, 7th and 8th respectively. Deportivo have already made moves in the transfer market in order to retain their championship and Liga have also brought in new faces but Nacional have still to invest.

Image

As stage winners Barcelona qualify for both the Copa Libertadores (which has recently finished for this year) and the Copa Sudamericana . Liga de Loja and Emelec qualify for the Copa Sudamericana along with Deportivo Quito who qualify as the winners of last season’s second stage(starting at the end of July).

Image

               

                Draw for Copa Sudamericana

Barcelona vs Deportivo Tachira (Venezuela)

Liga de Loja vs Monagas (Venezuela)

Emelec vs Universidad de San Marin (Peru)

Deportivo Quito vs Leon de Huanuco (Peru)

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.

El Nacional vs Liga de Loja

It was my intention to get up to Sangloqui, home of Independiente Jose Teran on Sunday. However because the bus journey back to Quito takes over an hour I would have missed the European Championship final  at 1.45.

As a result it was to be visit to the Atahaulpa Stadium to watch El Nacional vs Liga de Loja.

Along with Barcelona, El Nacional are the most successful team in Ecuadorian football with 13 Serie A titles and have represented Ecuador in the Copa Libertadores a record 22 times. They are administered by the Military and alike Chivas Guadalajara of Mexico and Atletic Bilboa of Spain they only play nationally born footballers giving the nickname of Puros Criollos or the Pure Natives.

This term El Nacional have been fairly dreadful and before yesterday’s game they were languishing in 7th position (last year they finished 3rd behind Emelec and Deportivo Quito) , far off the pace but ahead of city rivals Deportivo Quito. They were coming off a 2-1 home defeat to current leaders Independiente last week and needed to salvage at least a point against Loja.

 

Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Loja or simply Liga de Loja come from the southern based city of Loja and have the nickname of La Garra del Oso or The Bear Claw in English.

Despite only being promoted in 2010 Loja have surpassed all expectations this term and sat in 2nd position before yesterday’s game.This is a major achievement considering their relative wealth and a capacity stadium of only 15,000. Last week they secured a credible home 0-0 draw to Barcelona and were looking to pressurise fellow “minnows” and leaders Independiente.

 

Although I got to the stadium 5 minutes late I could have waited till half time and still not missed anything. Barely a shot was mustered nor chance created leaving both goalkeepers largely untroubled. A paltry crowd of 3,000 did their best to rouse the teams but in general it was another sedate affair. The Loja fans filled the far right hand corner and were more voluble and greeted their team with the obligatory shower of toilet rolls after the break.

Image

Both teams started the 2nd half with a greater intensity and Loja were denied the opener when Renato burst down the middle straight from the kick off but was scythed down mid shot. Nacional immediately responded with neat build up play down the left hand side through Caicedo and Pita but the final cross sailed over the crossbar.

The Loja goal-keeper, Fernando Fernandez managed to hurt his foot while scrambling for a cross which delayed the proceedings for 4-5 minutes. It was hard to see how he hurt his foot but if I learned one thing form Ecuadorian football it is the players never need a 2nd opportunity to go down and receive medical treatment.When Fernandez finally recovered he spread a beautiful ball down the left wing to an on-running Jonny Uchuari who skipped past a defender and crossed for Renato, who volley home from 5 yards in 53 minutes..

The goal sparked the match into life. Almost immediately Nacional raced up field and attacked the Loja goal. A defected cross found Marcos Caicedo at the edge of the box and he smashed the ball past the helpless Fernandez to bring back parity.

From then on Loja really started to take control of the match.Time and time again the Nacional defenders were slow to react and lax in their marking. Despite towering above the little Brazilian, Renato the Nacional defence were unable to cope with his incisive runs and bursts of speed. The Nacional right back, was suffering a torrid time from tormentor in chief Uchuari who was skipping past challenges and laying on chances for attacking partner.

In 60 minutes Renato doubled his tally when he met a simple through ball high and down the middle. He had time to control the ball but instead chose to a dive and head past the marooned Danny Cabezas.

Nacional tried to rally but seemed bereft of ideas and lacking in attacking options.Their main attacker, Anangonó was full of running but in all the wrong directions and his first touch was at times horrific. The Loja defence easily marshaled any Nacional threat and resolutely blocked any long range efforts.

Renato wrapped up the game and an impressive hat-trick on 73 minutes again from a pass down the middle. He collected the ball with one touch then dispatched it past Cabezas with the next, giving no time for the keeper to react. It was the best goal of the three and deservedly secured Loja’s victory.

 

 

The win continues Loja’s  unlikely championship challenge at moves them up to 2nd position behind Barcelona while Nacional’s loss sees them tumble 9th or 4rth bottom.