Liga de Quito coach Edgardo Bauza has said that his side plan to be "kings of the world." The South American champions are on a high after beating Mexico's Pachuca 2-0 to reach Sunday's showpiece event, where they will meet either Manchester United or Japan's Gamba Osaka.
At stake is not just the title, but a $5million pay cheque for the winners, a windfall for the Ecuadorian club, which survives on a fraction of what drives top European teams. "We are now in the final, which means we are among the top two clubs in the world," said Bauza, an Argentinian who has already announced he is quitting the club after the tournament of continental champions. "It is a great honour but we are not satisfied. We want to do better, we want to be kings of the world."
Claudio Bieler and Luis Bolanos scored the the first-half goals that put Liga into the final, as they used lightning counter-attacks to break down the CONCACAF winners. "This team (Liga) have shown their greatness, like they have in other matches, the boys are prepared to play, and to fight no matter where they play, or who it is against," added Bauza.
"I'm very happy. In the dressing room I congratulated them for focusing on their objective. The team showed their discipline and potential. It is a great honour for us and for Ecuador. Now, we want to go on and become champions."
Liga are the first Ecuadorean team to play in the tournament, and 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 shoot-out 3-1 in front of 90,000 fans at the legendary Maracana stadium in Rio. "We have a heavy responsibility as South American champions," added Bauza. "We have no star players, but everyone always does their best."
Manchester United and Gamba Osaka play their semi-final in Yokohama on Thursday.