On Wednesday evening, the second leg of the Recopa Sudamericana, a match between Flamengo and Independiente del Valle, the 2019 champions of the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana respectively, will take centre stage. The tie is evenly poised after the first leg ended in a 2-2 draw.
Independiente del Valle is a small club from the outskirts of Quito with a big heart. They aim to produce players through their youth system and train them up. Every time they sell a player, they are always planning ahead to bring the next one through.
Despite losing several key players over the years they have still managed to produce great results on the big stage.
In 2016, they managed to shock the whole of South America and with their young side, managing to get to the Copa Libertadores final, only losing narrowly to Colombian side, Atlético Nacional.
The run in 2016, masterminded by Pablo Repetto, saw them knockout out the two biggest clubs in Argentina, River Plate and Boca Juniors.
Then last season, Independiente Del Valle was on another mission to cause a surprise, this time in the Copa Sudamericana (the Europa League of South America), where once again they were at it again with their giant-killing by knocking out Independiente of Argentina at the quarter-final stage. This was followed by a semi-final victory over Corinthians, to book themselves a final place against Colón, played in the Paraguayan capital of Asunción.
In stormy conditions at the Estadio General Pablo Rojas, a tiny club from Ecuador became champions of the Copa Sudamericana as they trumiphed 3-1, with goals from Luis Fernando León, Jhon Sánchez and Cristian Dájome.
Dájome is one of the players to have moved on following the win as he joined MLS club Vancouver Whitecaps FC last month.
Last week in the first leg of the Recopa Sudamericana, Independiente Del Valle put in a brave performance at home against Flamengo - which saw them create more attempts at goal as well as having more of the ball.
In their last outing in the league, they beat one of the biggest clubs in Ecuador (LDU Quito) in their own backyard.
It is expected that the Flamengo will beat Independiente Del Valle comfortably at the Maracana but with the fearlessness of this young team, Independiente will feel they can cause one more shock, and bring back another trophy home.Published 26 Feb 2020, 07:50 IST