Finalists in the CONMEBOL's Copa Libertadores de America (much older than the Champions League). Liga beat Fluminense of Rio, Brazil by the score of 4-2 tonight at a sold out Casa Blanca in Quito. You can catch the second leg on Fox Sports en Espanol or various other outlets online. Game's next Wednesday at Rio's famed Maracana stadium. These are the games for the future stars of the Champions League.
But who's Liga? For those not familiar with South America's teams, that's Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito. In short, Quito's university league team. Founded in 1930, it is one of the traditional Ecuador club teams. They've won the league title in 1969, 1974, 1975, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2003, Apertura 2005 and 2007. This is their first time in history at a continent-wide event and only Barcelona de Guayaquil has been to the final before (1990, 1998) but only managed 3 losses and 1 tie. Liga's already making history and also turning more than one head to the equator-bound side.
Truth be told, Liga's not really my team. I'm an Emelec fan and will always be but I still enjoy seeing my fellow Ecuadoreans perform well at the international level. Currently, Liga boasts players such as Jairo Campos, Agustin Delgado, Claudio Bieler, Joffre Guerron, Jose Fransisco Cevallos, among others. Delgado is the legendary goleador that scored in most of the historical wins for the national side. Others that have come up through Liga's ranks include Neicer Reasco (Sao Paulo), Giovani "La sombra" Espinoza (Cruzeiro), Ulises de la Cruz (Hibernian/Aston Villa/Reading), Joffre Guerron (recently acquired by Getafe of Spain), "Pepe Pancho" Cevallos (Barcelona SC, Once Caldas).
The fight will be difficult next week and I would have liked to see the score remain at 4-1 as it was at the half. Fluminense will need to score 3 to secure the title. No easy feat, but they are Brazilian and jogo bonito is what they do. For now, and unless you're a Flu fan let's enjoy the result and leave history to decide which team is the greatest on this side of the hemisphere. .... Now if only Ecuador could perform like this. I leave you with some highlights.