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Liga de Quito, Emelec draw 1-1 in first leg of Ecuador soccer final

Liga de Quito's Christian Cruz (right) vies for the ball with Emelec's Romario Caicedo during the first leg of the Ecuadorian soccer league final, a match played on Dec. 12, 2018, at George Capwell Stadium in Guayaquil, Ecuador. EPA-EFE/Jose Alvarado

Liga de Quito’s Christian Cruz (right) vies for the ball with Emelec’s Romario Caicedo during the first leg of the Ecuadorian soccer league final, a match played on Dec. 12, 2018, at George Capwell Stadium in Guayaquil, Ecuador. EPA-EFE/Jose Alvarado

EFE

Liga de Quito executed its defensive game plan to near perfection to secure a 1-1 draw against host Emelec in the first leg of the Ecuadorian soccer final.

Both Liga, winner of the 2018 season’s February-July first stage, and second-stage champion Emelec had relied on stingy defense to reach the finals and they stayed true to their identities on Wednesday night at George Capwell Stadium in Guayaquil.

Emelec’s best scoring opportunity in the first half hour came on a shot by midfielder Joel Lopez Pissano in the 27th minute that Liga net minder Adrian Gabbarini managed to save.

The hosts, however, finally got on the scoreboard during first-half injury time when Brayan Angulo scored just inside the near post after receiving a slide-rule pass from Romario Caicedo.

That lead was short-lived though as Liga got the equalizer at the 58-minute mark when a weak clearance by Emelec net minder Esteban Dreer sent the ball to midfielder Anderson Julio, who headed the ball over the goal line past a diving defender.

After drawing level, the visitors locked down defensively against a mistake-prone Emelec attack.

The champion of the 2018 Ecuadorian soccer season will be decided in the second leg, which will be played Sunday afternoon at Liga de Quito’s Rodrigo Paz Delgado Stadium.

Both teams have already booked berths in the 2019 edition of the Copa Libertadores, South American soccer’s premier club soccer tournament.


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