Week 16 Round-up – ‘Clásico Universitario’ ends in stalemate, Deportes La Serena are relegated but the play-offs and relegation places still up in the air

Universidad de Chile 0-0 Universidad Católica

The 0-0 isn’t the most popular score line in Chile’s Primera División, but thanks to some wonderful goalkeeping from Paulo Garcés and Cristopher Toselli, coupled with poor finishing the ‘Clásicoo Universitario’ between Universidad de Chile and Universidad Católica served up a goal less draw. The result leaves Católica seeking qualification to the play-offs going into the final week.

The game can be filed into the ‘exciting 0-0’ category as two sides with contrasting styles of play came together at a sun-baked Estadio Nacional; proactive v reactive.  La U looked to pass their way through UC with invention and speed and Los Cruzados settled for a direct approach on the counter-attack.

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Clausura Week 5 – Española break the rules, Colo Colo’s indiscipline resurfaces, Rangers take the lead at the top and more

 

Costly mistake by Sierra?

Once again there wasn’t a full card of games in the Chile Primera División with Universidad de Chile travelling back from their Suruga Bank Championship disappointment.

 

So for the third time in five rounds it was left to the others to stake a claim as ‘likely challengers’ to La U’s dominance. And once again Colo Colo and Universidad Católica were nowhere to be seen, both struggling to draws.

 

Rangers on the other hand opened up a two point gap at the top with a win at Cobreloa. Audax Italiano and Cobresal failed to win but will be happy with draws away to Palestino and Unión La Calera.

 

Deportes Iquique’s strange behaviour continued as they fell to another heavy defeat while miracles do exist after all. Unión San Felipe won. Although in Valparaíso they are more sceptical after Santiago Wanderers didn’t.

 

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Emanuel Herrera heir to the Giroud throne

Herrera scoring for Union Espanola.

Montpellier continued to improve their squad for the new season today with the signing of 25-year old Argentine striker Emanuel Herrera. Joining for a few reported to be around €2 to 3 million he becomes Montpellier’s fourth signing and of course takes the instant tag of Olivier Giroud’s replacement.

Herrera arrives from Chilean club Unión Española who finished 5th in the national championship and reached the Last 16 of the Copa Libertadores with the Argentine scoring five goals in South America’s premier club competition. So to get the best insight into what sort of player Montpellier were buying we went straight toChilean football expert  Joel Sked and he gave us the low-down on La Paillade’s new recruit.

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Unión Española’s 1994 Copa Libertadores Campaign

On Tuesday night Unión Española broke a ‘curse’ that had lasted 18 years by qualifying for the knockout stages of Copa Libertadores with a 2-1 success over Bolívar.

In 1994 La Furia Roja reached the quarter-finals under Nelson Acosta with a squad including current coach José Luis Sierra. Thanks to Pablo Fernández we have the footage of the 1994 campaign where Española fell to eventual finalists Sao Paulo. Continue reading

Week 7 Talking Points – Basay enters the last chance Saloon, awesome Mati, continental hangover, more Cobresal misery and Week 8’s top game

Under Pressure; Ivo Basay (image: FOXSportsLA)

1. Basay’s 90 minutes

As hundreds made their way towards the exit to begin a mass exodus others stayed behind to whistle, jeer and boo. It was a familiar sight at the Estadio Monumental as Colo Colo once again disappointed; falling to a 2-0 loss to Deportes La Serena.

Ivo Basay’s job in charge of Los Albos is hanging by a single thread. Defeat against Cobreloa on Saturday and that thread will snap. Win and the thread will be strengthened, there’ll no long be the same weight pulling on it. At least for another week anyway.

But the departure of Basay looks inevitable with Colo Colo in a lowly 11th and little signs of improvement. Universidad de Chile are Universidad de Chile. They have a quality manager, talented players and most importantly they have an ideology.

Universidad Católica and their coach Mario Lepe have also come in for criticism from fans but away from their inconsistency they have quality throughout a balanced squad. If anything they have too many options.

Colo Colo are trailing their Santiago rivals on and off field. They have a top heavy squad which still relies on the predatory instincts and guile of Esteban Paredes as well as midfield maestro Rodrigo Millar while the promising striker Carlos Muñoz has struggled.

The transfer window signings have not worked out as expected. Former player Guillermo Páez explained the inadequate recruitment policy, “They brought in four or five strikers and in defence believed that (Pablo) Contreras was enough, but work is needed.”

The defensive vulnerability was again on show in the defeat to La Serena. Committing players forward and playing with a high line there was no protection offered to the defence. Every time La Serena won possession they looked as if they could score at will, quickly transitioning from defence to attack.

They may have ‘only’ conceded seven goals in seven games – the fifth best defensive record in the league – but it is made worse by the fact they have only scored seven goals despite the abundance of attacking options.

Against an organised and structured Cobreloa Basay will have to spend a substantial time on attacking movements if there is any chance of keeping his job with El Cacique. Not to forget the weakness in defending counter-attacks.

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Week’s 3 and 4 (and then some): Rodrigo Millar, La U, Santiago Wanderers and where are all the wins? (And then some)

The Santa Laura comes under attack (image: ilovechile.cl)

My Primera División output has been poor of late due to my lack of internet access which means I have seen little from the last two weekends. So here is a quick round-up of the last couple of week’s action where there have been two rounds of league fixtures, the Copa Libertadores and a Chile friendly.

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Copa Libertadores Preview

Chile has three participants in this years Copa Libertadores. Everyone’s eyes will be on Jorge Sampaoli’s Universidad de Chile who are looking to make it a Copa Libertadores/Copa Sudamericana double but must do so without the brilliance of Eduardo Vargas. However they have retained Jorge Sampaoli and the bulk of the squad which won the Sudamericana before the new year, as well as the 2011 Apertura and Clausura, while adding even more promise to the squad.

Chile’s other contenders are Universidad Católica and Unión Española who occupy the same group and it is hoped, and expected, that at least one of the two qualify. They may not have the quality throughout the squad La U possess but both have talented youngsters that could light up the Libertadores.

Hopefully the gifted youngsters from each team are allowed to illuminate the knock-out stages:

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