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TOKYO - Latin pride is at stake for Liga de Quito and Pachuca in their Club World Cup semifinal today, as well as a potential blockbuster showdown with Manchester United.
For Liga's Argentine coach Edgardo Bauza, known throughout his playing career as "Big Foot", it will be an emotional moment having announced that he will leave the Ecuadorian club at the end of the tournament.
He wants to go out on a high.
"I made a vow with my players that we will become the top team. We are within reach of making it," he said.
"We only need to make one final step. We want to fight as one to get the title we desire."
The dream of the Ecuadorian team is to meet United in Sunday's showpiece final, and they are perhaps the only side in the competition of continental champions that can give Alex Ferguson's team a run for their money.
Liga de Quito qualified after an extraordinary Copa Libertadores triumph in July.
In the knockout rounds, they dispatched Argentine clubs Estudiantes de La Plata and San Lorenzo before meeting Brazil's Fluminense in the final.
They tied 5-5 over two legs and went on to win a penalty shootout 3-1 in front of 90000 fans at the legendary Maracana stadium in Rio.
Historically one of the strongest teams in Ecuador, Quito sealed their reputation with that victory, becoming the first team from their country to lift South America's most prestigious club title.
Bauza knows victory over Pachuca could set up one of the biggest games Quito have played, if United can overcome Japan's Gamba Osaka in their semifinal, but he is taking it one step at a time.
"It is a little too premature for you to ask about the possibility of playing Manchester United," he said. "We cannot reach the final without winning our semifinal, Manchester United too cannot reach the final without winning their semifinal." - Sapa-AFP