Deportivo Quito continue their impressive run

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.