Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

CONMEBOL: Quito secure berth in Sudamericana final (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on November 30, 2011

Copa SudamericanaEcuadorians LDU Quito have managed to secure their place in another Copa Sudamericana final following their 1-0 second leg victory over Argentinians Vélez Sársfield on Tuesday evening.

The 2009 Sudamericana winners were already leading 2-0 from the first leg played in the Ecuadorian capital last week and it was first leg hero Hernan Barcos who made sure of Vélez’s departure from the competition by scoring the only goal of last night’s contest in the 48th minute.

Having won the Copa Libertadores and Sudamericana in recent years LDU Quito are starting to make their name as a footballing powerhouse in South America and they will hope to win yet another piece of silverware in the two-legged final on December 7th and 14th. They will meet the winners of tonight’s other semi-final between Universidad de Chile and Vasco da Gama, which remains in deadlock following last week’s 1-1 draw in Rio.

CONMEBOL: LDU Quito have one foot in Sudamericana final (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on November 25, 2011

LDU Quito have given themselves a great chance of reaching this year’s final by defeating Argentinian giants Vélez Sársfield in the semi final, first leg.

Following a goalless first half, LDU Quito had Hernan Barcos to thank for scoring the goals which have allowed the Ecuadorians to put one foot in this year’s final. LDU have made a habit out of winning major titles in South America in recent years having won the 2008 Copa Libertadores, 2009 Copa Sudamericana as well as winning back-to-back Recopa (South American Super Cup) titles in 2009-10. Velez, though, will have home advantage in the second leg, which takes place this coming Tuesday evening, and will hope to win their first major continental silverware since winning the 1997 Recopa.

South America: Titles decided in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on June 13, 2011

Three domestic championships were decided in South America this weekend. Vélez Sársfield claimed their eighth Argentinian championship having defeated Huracan 2-0 on Matchday 18 with goals from Santiago Silva and David Ramírez sealing the win whilst their only title challengers CA Lanús lost 1-0 at home to Argentinos Juniors, Nicolas Blandi scoring the only goal of the game. The results meant that Vélez Sársfield have a four point lead with just one game left to play. They complete their Torneo Clausura campaign at home to Racing Club next Sunday.

WATCH HURACAN v VELEZ GOALS HERE:

In Uruguay the respective champions of the Apertura and Clausura championships, namely Defensor Sporting and Nacional, went head-to-head in a play-off. Because of the rules of the competition Nacional, whose aggregate total of points for the two championships was greater than that of their opponents, only had to win yesterday’s match to take the title whilst a Sporting win would mean a further two-legged play-off. Fortunately for Nacional they managed to defeat their title rivals by just a solitary Tabaré Viudez goal in the 19th minute to claim their 43rd championship.

WATCH DEFENSOR SPORTING v NACIONAL HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

There was also an exciting climax to the season in Chile where defending champions Universidad Católica, having enjoyed a 2-0 first leg lead in their final clash with eternal rivals Universidad de Chile, were shocked to lose the second leg 4-1. Universidad de Chile turned things around and claimed their fourteenth domestic championship thanks mainly to a Gustavo Canales hat-trick with Católica’s Juan Eduardo Eluchans scoring an own goal. Despite Lucas Pratto pulling one back it wasn’t enough as Universidad de Chile settled matters by virtue of a 4-3 aggregate win to claim the Torneo Apurtura.

WATCH UNIVERSIDAD de CHILE v UNIVERSIDAD CATOLICA HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

South America: Estudiantes and LDU grab the honours

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on December 13, 2010

The title race was settled in Argentina this weekend whilst the first stage in Ecuador’s top league also came to a conclusion. As it turned out two of South America’s most successful teams on the continent in recent years, Estudiantes de La Plata and LDU Quito, went on to add silverware to their domestic honours board.

In Argentina the title race went down to the final day and it was a two-horse race between two of the country’s top clubs, Estudiantes and Velez Sarsfield. Four-times champions of Argentina and South America, Estudiantes were in the ascendancy going into the final round of matches as they had a two point lead over Velez. This meant that Velez needed a win and hope for an Estudiantes defeat to claim the title outright or a draw to take the season into a championship play-off fixture. At half-time the omens were looking good for Velez as Juan Manuel Martinez’s 23rd minute goal had them leading their tie away at Racing Club whilst Estudiantes were drawing 0-0 at home in La Plata against Arsenal de Sarandi.

In the second half things got better for Velez as Maximiliano Moralez doubled their lead in the 57th minute leaving most of the fans in the stadium listening to their radios for the latest news coming from La Plata. For Velez fans, however, the title dream would be over in the final twenty minutes of the season as Rodrigo Lopez bagged a brace for Estudiantes which would guarantee them their fifth Argentine championship, their first for four years. The La Plata giants won with 45 points from 19 games, two more than Velez who will rue the two points dropped in the goalless draw against, ironically, Estudiantes’ local rivals Gimnasia Y Esgrima de La Plata on Matchday 14 as the difference between success and failure.

In Ecuador the country’s most successful club Emelec were hoping to defeat the continental powerhouses of LDU Quito in the championship 1st stage final which was played over two legs this week. In the first leg last Sunday LDU won their home tie 2-0 with a double strike from Miller Bolanaos with his second goal in the 92nd minute of the match ultimately proving crucial. Yesterday Emelec won the return fixture with a David Quiroz goal on the hour mark but the 1-0 win proved not enough with LDU prevailing 2-1 on aggregate.

Argentina: Maidana wins it for River; League Review (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on November 17, 2010

Jonathan Maidana’s crucial header in the 53rd minute of the match won the latest Superclásico for River Plate against arch-rivals Boca Juniors on Tuesday. The win helped River Plate out of a bad recent spell and took los Millionarios up to eighth place in the latest Apertura standings. However the main excitement in the championship does not concern the Big Two as they are both well off the pace in the title race. With five rounds of matches to go in the first championship of the season Vélez Sársfield and Estudiantes de La Plata share the lead with thirty points each from 14 games, five points ahead of nearest challengers Arsenal de Sarandi.

Both Vélez Sársfield and Estudiantes have experienced championship success in recent years. Vélez won the 2009 Clausura title following a last-day showdown with their title rivals Huracán in which the latter gained much sympathy from neutral supporters following the way they lost the title in controversial circumstances. Estudiantes last won the Apertura in 2006 when, having finished on equal points with Boca Juniors, won a title play-off 2-1. They came close to winning the Clausura in 2010 but could only finish runners-up to eventual winners Argentinos Juniors by a single point. Now both teams have ambitions of lifting more silverware and consolidating their recent success making the most of the current situation in which River and Boca have been conspicuous by their absence in relation to the championship chase. On Matchday 14 Vélez won their fixture at home to CA Lanús by a single goal to nil thanks to Ricardo Alvarez’s 59th minute strike whilst Estudiantes slipped up losing 2-1 to CA Tigre. With five matches to go it is clear to see that there are still some potential twists to come in the championship race.

Despite the absence of the traditional two biggest clubs from the title race the Superclásico still retains its billing as the most anticipated fixture in the domestic game. River Plate hadn’t won any of these games for three years before last night but they finally chalked up a win over their eternal rivals after Jonathan Maidana’s perfectly timed header early in the second half was all that could separate the teams.

WATCH RIVER PLATE v BOCA JUNIORS HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

Banfield secure maiden title in Argentina

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on December 14, 2009

Argentina’s football championship has come up with a few surprise champions in the last few years (e.g. Estudiantes in 2006, Lanus in 2008) but the latest champion Banfield are probably the biggest surprise of them all. On the final game of Argentina’s “Apertura” (Opening) Championship they were defeated 2-0 away at Boca Juniors but this turned out not to be so tragic as, at the same time, their nearest title challengers Newell’s Old Boys were succumbing to the same scoreline at home to San Lorenzo.

On a dramatic final day in the “Apertura” (not to be confused with the “Clausura” or “Closing” championship that makes up the second half of the season) Banfield went to cross city rivals Boca knowing that a win would make them champion and a draw would at least guarantee a play-off for the title in the event of a Newell’s win in Rosario (in Argentina play-offs decide the destination of the title in the event of a tie on points between two or more teams). If Banfield lost then a Newell’s win would mean the championship going back to Rosario since their last title win in 2004.

After six minutes of the first half there were cheers around Boca’s home stadium, La Bombonera, when Banfield fans heard the news that Newell’s were 1-0 down thanks to a goal from San Lorenzo’s Fabian Bordagaray. At almost that exact moment Boca won a penalty kick which Martin Palermo dispatched with great aplomb to make it 1-0 and to stun the legions of Green and White fans who had been cheering only seconds earlier. Both games ended 1-0 at half-time and the second half would progressively get more nervous for the title contenders.

Sixteen minutes into the second half at La Bombonera saw Boca Juniors double their lead thanks to a close range strike from Martin Palermo. This goal had the fans of Banfield holding their heads in their hands in disbelief. Were their title chances going up in smoke before them? Thankfully, for Banfield, they heard more cheers nearly ten minutes later after news filtered through of a second goal for San Lorenzo. Fabian Bordagaray, like Martin Palermo, had scored his second goal of the afternoon and would become a hero for Banfield fans everywhere. This news allowed both Boca and Banfield to take their foot off the gas and see out the game. Whilst those Banfield fans lucky enough to get a ticket were getting the party started at La Bombonera there were even bigger celebrations at Banfield’s home stadium where thousands of supporters had been let in to the stadium to watch the game on a big screen.

With both games finishing in 2-0 defeats for the title contenders it was Banfield that secured the title, the very first league championship success in the club’s history, with 41 points from 19 games, Newell’s Old Boys two behind on 39 whilst Colón Santa Fe, Independiente and Velez Sarsfield all had 34 points. Banfield qualify for the 2010 Copa Libertadores along with the 2009 Clausura champions Velez, the reigning Libertadores champions Estudiantes de la Plata and the three teams who had the best points average in the Clausura and Apertura tournaments in 2009 (Lanus, Colón and Newell’s). Relegation matters will be decided after the conclusion of the 2010 Clausura championship.

LDU Quito in a Liga of their own

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on December 3, 2009
Copa Sudamericana Logo

The Copa Sudamericana is South America's version of the UEFA Europa League

Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito, better known as LDU Quito, have won the 2009 Copa Nissan Sudamericana after what became an angst-ridden 5-4 aggregate victory in a two-legged final against Brazilian giants Fluminense. This is the third continental success for the Ecuadorians after winning the 2008 Copa Libertadores (South American Champions League), again beating Fluminense, and the 2009 Recopa (a South American version of the European Super Cup) in which they defeated another Brazilian team Internacional of Porto Alegre 4-0 over two legs. It has been a meteoric rise for the club who have steadily built a good footballing side and have become the dominant force in Ecuador. Their appearance in the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup final against Manchester United made the football world take notice despite their narrow defeat to a lone Wayne Rooney strike.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing for LDU this year. In the 2009 Copa Libertadores they came crashing back down to earth after the previous year’s joy of success. LDU finished bottom of their group behind Sport Recife, Palmeiras (both from Brazil) and Chilean representatives Colo Colo. Thankfully for LDU they finished second in the first stage of the Ecuador Serie A championship, thus qualifying for the Sudamericana, and from there they rediscovered their form in continental competition. After a first round 2-1 aggregate win against Libertad of Paraguay LDU then went on to beat Argentinians Lanus 5-1 (agg.) and Velez Sarsfield 3-2 (agg.) to set up a semi-final tie with Uruguay’s River Plate. A 7-0 drubbing of their opponents in the first leg meant that LDU could afford to take their foot off the gas in the second leg, which they lost 2-1. This set up a second major final with Fluminense who had overcome Paraguayans Cerro Porteno 3-1 (agg.) in their semi-final.

In the first leg of the final in Quito it was the Brazilians that struck early, Marquinho giving the visitors the lead after sixty seconds. After that though LDU dominated with Edison Mendez scoring a hat-trick before the hour mark and two late goals from Franklin Salas and Ulises de la Cruz securing a 5-1 lead to take to Rio de Janeiro. In the second leg the Ecudorians were on the defensive from early on as Dieguinho and Fred gave “Flu” a 2-0 lead at half-time. Any ideas that LDU may have had before the game of cruising this second leg were dashed even further eighteen minutes from the end when Gum made it 3-0 on the night to the Rio side. However despite the best efforts of Fluminense they couldn’t get the fourth goal necessary to take the match into extra-time (away goals not counting in this tournament) and the party could start once again in the Ecuadorian capital after LDU held out to win the final 5-4 on aggregate. LDU are now the envy of Ecuador having shown that they are in a league of their own for handling the big occasion. As a reward for this victory LDU will play Estudiantes de la Plata, the team that replaced them as Copa Libertadores champions in 2009, in the 2010 Recopa final.