GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador – Ecuadorian club Deportivo Cuenca is traveling Thursday to Paraguay with high hopes of success ahead of the first leg of its first-round clash against Sportivo Luqueño, team officials said.
The president of the club, Claudio Peñaherrera, told reporters that the team’s goal was to advance as far as possible in the Copa Sudamericana, South America’s second-most prestigious club soccer competition after the Copa Libertadores.
The squad has “players with little name recognition but who are very solid soccer-wise and with a hunger for glory,” Peñaherrera said.
For his part, Argentine head coach Anibal Biggeri has chosen 20 players to travel to Paraguay, including several of his countrymen – recent acquisitions Matias Contreras, Facundo Melivillo and Emiliano Bonfigli, as well as Brian Cucco, who joined the club last year when yet another Argentine, Gabriel Schurrer, was the manager.
Since arriving at the start of last year, Biggeri has said he wants a team that plays with pace and continuity and “takes care of the ball.”
Cuenca has become known for signing little-known but well-prepared Argentine talent, including Richard Schunke, who has been replaced by Contreras, and top goal scorer Juan Dinenno, whose spot in the line-up has been taken by Bonfigli.
Schunke and Dinenno are currently with Ecuadorian clubs Independiente del Valle and Barcelona Sporting Club, respectively. Schurrer also has moved on to Independiente, where he is that club’s manager.
Biggeri is expected to send out the following line-up for his team’s first-leg match against Sportivo Luqueño on Feb. 13 in Luque, Paraguay: goalkeeper Brian Heras; defenders Bryan Carabali, Cucco, Anthony Bedoya and Carlos Cuero; midfielders Contreras, Marco Mosquera, Jonathan De la Cruz and Daniel Poroso; and strikers Melivillo and Bonfigli.
The second leg of the teams’ first-round clash will be played in the southern Ecuadorian city of Cuenca on March 7.