It was a round of upsets this weekend in the Primera Division with Catolica and Colo Colo both losing while Universidad de Chile dropped further points at home to Deportes Iquique in a 2-2 draw. Catolica are now out of the play-offs as their horrid run continues.
Ñublense secured a crucial 3 points against fellow relegation strugglers Santiago Morning while there were changes in the play-off slots.
Cobreloa 2 v 0 Universidad Católica
The Apertura losing play-off finalists continued their horrible run of form, going down by two goals away to Cobreloa in Calama. UC had started the season six games unbeaten but have now lost the last four in the league and are currently left on the outside looking in to the play-offs.
It was a game of few clear-cut chances, Hugo Losardi looking the most dangerous in a free-role for Cobreloa. It was he that brought the best out of UC goalkeeper Christopher Toselli three times in the first half; a powerful shot straight at the ‘keeper, a 25 yard strike which had Toselli stretching to his left to tip over the bar and a ridiculously speculative effort from inside his own half which almost caught the UC number one out; Toselli diverting the ball away for a corner.
Before the last effort Cobreloa had taken the lead through Diego Barrios. The home side sent a cross in that should have been easily dealt with, if not by Cristián Álvarez then Diego Opazo covering behind him, but both made calamitous errors to let in Barrios to nod past the advancing Toselli for the opener.
Cobreloa doubled the lead in stoppage time at the end of the game. UC were caught high up the pitch as defender Bryan Cortés, spotting the run of Nicolás Trecco, lifted ball over the top and Trecco in space on the right hand side of the box brought the ball down with his chest and fired a volley high into the goal.
Universidad de Concepción 0 v 0 Cobresal
There could be no argument as to what was the worst game of the weekend. Some goalless draws can be thrilling encounters; this certainly wasn’t one of them. Cobresal almost went ahead three minutes after half-time with a brilliant one touch sweeping move involving Joan Henríquez, Joel Soto and Miguel Angel Cuellar, setting up a chance for Omar Mallea but the Uruguayan’s finish lacked conviction and was sent high over the bar from close in.
Luis Rogel in the Cobresal goal was underworked but had to turn a shot around his left hand post mid-way through the second half from one of few Concepción chances.
Universidad de Chile 2 v 2 Deportes Iquique
Can it be a called a mini-slump drawing two games in succession? It may feel like that for La U fans, having seen their team win the first nine Clausura games and setting a new record for consecutive wins the league leaders have now drawn their last two. Only this draw will have felt like a defeat.
The home side looked to have forgotten about their draw with Santiago Wanderers when they went ahead after only three minutes when Gabriel Vargas ran unchecked in the penalty area to head home a Charles Aranguiz free-kick. The lead should have been doubled nine minutes later by Gabriel’s namesake Eduardo. Albert Acevedo’s charge into the Iquique box was brought to a premature end by Michael Contreras. Eduardo Vargas stepped up but his spot-kick was well saved by Cristian Limenza.
It was then the away side’s turn to threaten. A quick throw from the right caught the UC defence out; the ball helped into the six yard box where Herrera made the point blank safe from Lucas Ojeda and ball was scrambled away from the goal line. On the stroke of half-time Eugenio Mena rattled the bar with a powerful strike off his left boot.
Eduardo Vargas was then denied by a goal line clearance six minutes into the second half. Aranguiz found Gabriel Vargas with a clever reverse pass; Gabriel laid it to Eduardo but he could not find the net.
Eduardo Vargas did however have a massive part to play as La U doubled their lead. The ball was lofted to him on the right and with a burst of pace he was away from the defence then his cut-back found Aranguiz breaking into the box. In his stride, and at pace, he went round one challenge before firing home.
From an attacking position deep in Iquique’s half, players committed forward and a two goal lead, within seconds La U were faced with a nervous finale as the away side broke forward. A long ball found the feet of Álvaro Ramos; spotting the run of Cristian Bogado sprinting past in support Ramos timed the through ball perfectly and Bogado made no mistake with his finish across Jhonny Herrera.
Worst was to come for Universidad as Deportes Iquique snatched a spectacular and unexpected equaliser in stoppage time. Caught trying to play out from the back – La U captain Jose Rojas’s pass was intercepted – the home side were punished as Michael Rios slammed a howitzer of a right foot in off the bar from 25 yards to silence the noisy home crowd and record, what was at one point, an improbable point.
Deportes La Serena 4-0 Colo Colo
Arguably the shock scoreline of the weekend came in the game between La Serena and Colo Colo. Not so much the result but the manner of the victory which left Los Albos coach Ivo Basay tearing his hair out over his side’s defensive shortcomings.
Gamadiel Garcia got the scoring started in the 19th minute. Collecting possession in his own half he bustled past a challenge into the Colo Colo half, but his through ball to Mario Pardo overlapping on the right looked to have too much pace. However the full-back caught it on the by-line, standing the ball up for Garcia, who had carried his run, to head past Los Albos goalkeeper Juan Castillo.
A minute later it was two. An even better goal than the first as La Serena played their way from the corner of their box to Colo Colo’s in 18 seconds. Francisco Rojas found Mathias Vidangossy deep in his own half, who then carried the ball into the opposition half, exchanging passes with goal scorer Garcia before setting of on another run. As the Colo Colo defence backed off Vidangossy shifted the ball onto his left foot and slotted the shot back across Castillo as he entered the box.
La Serena went into half-time three goals to the good. Rojas, hitting the left by-line, crossed for Claudio Meneses to head past the hapless Castillo.
Colo Colo were given a slim chance of recovery when referee Claudio Fuenzalida awarded the side a penalty with 10 minutes remaining when La Serena goalkeeper Marcos Guiterrez brought down Carlos Muñoz. Surprisingly captain, and talisman, Esteban Paredes missed from 12 yards, Gutierrez redeeming himself with a fine save to his left.
The away side’s afternoon was compounded with a 4th, this time scored by substitute Sanchez Sotelo. Los Albos’s defensive shape was non-existent as Sotelo was played in by Diego Rosende and had ample time to control, turn and clip his finish expertly over Castillo.
Santiago Morning 1-3 Ñublense
Ñublense recorded a crucial win over relegation rivals Santiago Morning. With relegation decided over the two championships both teams are currently in danger of dropping to Primera B.
It looked like it would turn out different after Morning opened the scoring after four minutes when Felipe Flores scored a well taken solo goal. But they could not hold onto their lead for more than four minutes as Sebastián Montecinos equalised with a header and les than 10 minutes later they were behind. Alejandro Vásquez converting from the penalty spot.
Their task was made harder when Washington Torres was sent-off before half-time. The numbers were soon levelled after half-time, Ñublense’s Alí Manouchehri seeing red.
Substitute Pablo González made it 3-1 in the dying seconds.
In the relegation standings Ñublense and Santiago Morning are on 27 and 28 points respectively, 4 points behind the nearest rivals.
Unión La Calera 3-2 Palestino
Despite winning only the one game in the Clausura Palestino are not yet in a relegation battle thanks to their excellent Apertura form which saw them finish 4th. A defeat away to La Calera leaves them at the bottom of the Clausura on nine points while the win sees La Calera sneak into the 8th and final play-off spot.
Lucas Simon put the home side ahead early on and the afternoon got even better when Palestino’s Rodrigo Riquelme was given a straight red card in the 14th minute. Yet two minutes later Palestino were level through Javier Velázquez.
A double within 10 minutes before the half-time whistle from Braian Rodríguez gave La Calera a two goal cushion; one which was halved with 25 minutes remaining, Nicolás Cananles netting three minutes after coming on. But Palestino could not find the elusive equaliser.
Unión San Felipe 0-2 Santiago Wanderers
Wanderers ended a 4 game winless streak, keeping within touching distance of the play-offs. Three points now separates Wanderers in 12th and La Calera in 8th. The result leaves San Felipe in 16th and the chance of a play-off spot unlikely.
Sebastián Ruscadella scored after 20 minutes and a second was added through second half substitute Nicolás Martínez.
Unión Española 3-1 O’Higgins
Match report will appear on the site later.
Auadx Italiano v Huachipato – Tuesday 00.00 (GMT)
Audax are looking bounce back from defeat Colo Colo to close the gap on Universidad de Chile and Colo Colo in first and second respectively. Whereas Huachipato are concerned with proceedings at the bottom of the league. A win would pull them away from Ñublense and Santiago Morning in the relegation standings.
The Primera Division does not return until the 11th of October, by which time Chile will have played their first two games in qualification for the 2014 World Cup to be held in Brazil. But the semi-finals of the Copa Chile take place this week as Deportes La Serena, Universidad Católica and Universidad de Concepción are joined by Primera B side Magallanes.