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Deportivo Cuenca defeats Bolivian champs, advances in Copa Sudamericana play

The remarkable transformation of Cuenca’s professional football team continued Tuesday night in Cochabamba, Bolivia as the Southern Express defeated Jorge Wilstermann in a penalty shoot-out, 6-5. With the win, Deportivo Cuenca advances to the second round of the Copa Sudamericana football tournament.

Deportivo Cuenca players celebrate the win.

Six weeks ago, Cuenca was on the verge of being demoted to Ecuador’s B League, having gone nine games without a victory. Since then, following the hiring of Venezuelan coach Richard Paéz, they have not lost, winning five games and tying two.

Tuesday night’s game ended in a 2-2 draw before being decided by penalty kicks. Cuenca goalie Brian Heras was the hero, making two dramatic saves.

In regular time, Cuenca scored on a penalty kick by Edison Preciado three minutes into the game and on a goal by Jacson Pita at the 80-minute mark.

“This is an outstanding win for our side and a great honor to advance in cup play,” Paéz said. “Deportivo Cuenca continues to meet difficult challenges and tonight we defeated one of the best teams in South America on their home turf.”