Thursday, 8 December 2011

Copa Sudamericana Final Preview

After an arduous battle through five rounds, we come to the final of the Copa Sudamericana. Played over two legs, the first is in Quito - at an altitude of 2850m - as LDU take on Universidad de Chile.

2009 winners LDU arrive at this stage in mediocre form. They've not won in five domestic games, the only bright spots puncturing that gloom the home and away wins over Vélez Sarsfield in the semi-final. Hernan Barcos got both in a 2-0 win at home to Vélez and then struck again in Buenos Aires as they completed a reasonably comfortable win. The 27-year old Argentinian is far and away their top scorer this term and will once again be the focal point of their attack. Slightly disappointing in the league this season, they are involved in a third-place play-off with El Nacional while Deportivo Quito and Emelec play off for the title. While league form has been patchy, they've lost twice in their run to the final, away to Independiente in the Round of 16 and at Libertad in the Quarter Final.

La U have no such domestic concerns, unbeaten as they stormed to the top of the Clausura table by a whopping eight-point margin and have a 1-0 lead over Unión Española to take back home in the first round of the finals. Their 39 goals in the Chilean league are a clear nine better than the next best and they conceded just 15 - they are an all-round side. They score from everywhere, but it's 22-year old Eduardo Vargas who leads the line. They haven't lost at all in the Copa Sudamericana either. Indeed, only Fénix in the first round and Vasco da Gama in the semi-final held them to draws. They had too much for Vasco - with Brazilian championship glory on their mind perhaps - over two legs, especially once they'd come from behind to secure a 1-1 in the São Januário. They bossed the return, running out easy 2-0 victors, the aforementioned Vargas sealing the deal after Fágner was sent off for the Brazilians as La U stopped Vasco's run of ridiculous comebacks in this competition.

Everything points to a win for La U, which would be their first Copa Sudamericana in their third appearance in the competition. The potential spanner in the works is the extreme altitude that the first leg will be played at. LDU need to take a lead to Santiago if they're to stand a chance. Even then, the Chileans will probably fancy their chances when taking them back to their place and LDU know this. The Ecuadorians have to go for it in the opener which should make for a fun game for viewers on Premier Sports TV. The game kicks off at 00:15 GMT in the small hours of tomorrow before the return leg six days later at the same time with both games being shown live.

The Road to the Final

First Stage

Yaracuyanos 1-1 LDU Quito
LDU Quito 1-0 Yaracuyanos
LDU Quito advances 4-1 on points

Universidad de Chile 1-0 Fénix
Fénix 0-0 Universidad de Chile
Universidad de Chile advances 4-1 on points

Second Stage

LDU Quito 4-1 Trujillanos
Trujillanos 0-1 LDU Quito
LDU Quito advances 6-0 on points

Universidad de Chile 1-0 Nacional Montevideo
Nacional Montevideo 0-2 Universidad de Chile
Universidad de Chile advances 6-0 on points

Round of Sixteen

LDU Quito 2-0 Independiente
Independiente 1-0 LDU Quito
3-3 on points, LDU Quito advances on goal difference

Flamengo 0-4 Universidad de Chile
Universidad de Chile 1-0 Flamengo
Universidad de Chile advaces 6-0 on points

Quarter Final

LDU Quito 1-0 Libertad
Libertad 1-0 LDU Quito
2-2 on points, LDU Quito advances 5-4

Arsenal 1-2 Universidad de Chile
Universidad de Chile 3-0 Arsenal
Universidad de Chile advances 6-0 on points

Semi Final

LDU Quito 2-0 Vélez Sarsfield
Vélez Sarsfield 0-1 LDU Quito
LDU Quito advances 6-0 on points

Vasco da Gama 1-1 Universidad de Chile
Universidad de Chile 2-0 Vasco da Gama
Universidad de Chile advances 4-1 on points

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