Barcelona and El Nacional were always the traditional powerhouses of Ecuadorian football. One in Guayaquil, one in Quito, the clashes between the two sides often went a long way to deciding the fate of the league championship.
But then a new power emerged.
LDU Quito had won just four championships before construction was completed on the Estadio Casa Blanca, their own 55,000 capacity stadium, in 1997. In the 14 years since they have won a further six domestic titles, become the first Ecuadorian team to win the Copa Libertadores, and picked up another three continental trophies along the way.
This period of dominance has coincided with Barcelona’s fall from grace. The Toreros have not won a league title since 1997 despite spending heavily in search of success and have had to watch on enviously as LDU Quito have established themselves as one of the most recognisable teams in South America.
This jealously has been compounded by the fact that Barcelona have never managed an away victory at the Estadio Casa Blanca. Yes, in 14 years encompassing 34 meetings, Barcelona have never tasted success at the home of LDU.
That is something they will look to put right this evening, when they take on their new arch-nemesis in the seventh round of matches in the second phase of the 2011 Ecuadorian Serie A championship.
Second place LDU are currently just one point clear of Barcelona in third, although the Quito side have scored nine goals in their last two matches and thus look in imperious form in front of goal ahead of the encounter. Barcelona, for their part, recorded a 3-1 victory over Imbabura at the weekend to continue their three-match unbeaten streak.
The match will take place at 01:30am Thursday morning UK time.