Ecuador clubs set to begin battle for second Copa Libertadores berth


Guayaquil, July 13: With the opening stage of this season’s Ecuadorian football league set to conclude, the battle for the second of two berths in the 2019 Copa Libertadores group phase now begins in earnest. Liga de Quito has already secured the first berth — and also a spot in this year’s Ecuadorian-league finals – by virtue of winning the 2018 Serie A’s first stage, whose 22nd and final match day begins Friday with a contest between seventh-place Independiente del Valle and eighth-place Macara, reports Efe.

Matchday 22 will continue Saturday with games pitting fifth-place Delfin against sixth-place Aucas and fourth-place Emelec against ninth-place El Nacional, while on Sunday Liga de Quito plays 10th-place Deportivo Cuenca and third-place Universidad Catolica squares off against second-place Barcelona.

The final game of the first stage, a contest between 11th-place Guayaquil City and last-place Tecnico Universitario will be played on Monday. The second stage of the 2018 Serie A will then kick off on July 20 and run through December 9.

Only two teams out of the 12 in Ecuador’s first division secure direct spots in the group stage of the following year’s Copa Libertadores, South America’s premier club football tournament. IANS