Ecuador’s Independiente del Valle Could Pull Off a Major Upset at Copa Libertadores

Lead Photo: Photo by José Jácome
Photo by José Jácome
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There’s still a chance of an epic ending at Copa Libertadores, with Ecuador’s underdog team Independiente del Valle tying 1-1 yesterday in the final first leg against Colombia’s Atlético Nacional.

The stage is set at the prestigious South America tournament for an exciting match where the winner will be crowned on Wednesday, July 27, in Medellín, Colombia. Take note, hinchas: Independiente may pull off a major upset and claim their place in sports history.

Their impressive run was cemented after classifying for the Copa Libertadores de América finals on July 14, by beating Argentina’s formidable Boca Juniors at Bombonera Stadium. Among the big names that have lost to Los Negriazules throughout different stages of play are: Paraguay’s Guaraní, who missed a crucial penalty that would have pushed them through to the next phase; Chile’s Colo Colo, eliminated as a result of a shutout tie; River Plate from Argentina, who lost an important game in Quito; and Mexico’s Pumas, who lost in penalties.

The Independiente won Ecuador’s third division championship in 2007 and has been consistently improving ever since. As a result, the team moved up to Ecuador’s biggest division three years later.

Independiente del Valle’s success has been so noteworthy that they’re being compared to Leicester City, which won the English Premier League seven years after beginning play in the third division. Unfortunately for the black and blue however, the Guinness Book of World Records won’t recognize their ascent because they don’t acknowledge certain soccer divisions.

Regardless of the snub, it’s undeniable that Independiente is on point and has taken this opportunity to make a difference, by donating the money from their Copa games to victims from last April’s devastating earthquake. The team will continue its generosity by donating the money from the game they played yesterday against Colombia’s Atlético Nacional.

Make sure to keep an eye out during the last stage of the finals to see if Independiente del Valle, fútbol’s David, takes down one more Goliath.