Santiago Wanderers 1-0 Unión San Felipe
Santiago Wanderers left it late on Friday night to clinch three deserved points in a game where they had the majority of the running but lacked a ruthless edge in the final third until stoppage time that was.
With Nicolás Martínez a constant danger in behind the two strikers Los Catturos almost opened the scoring early on when Martínez released Rodrigo Toloza who crossed for Pablo Calandria but the striker could only head over.
Martínez was most impressive finding space in and around the box, playing balls into dangerous areas. Wanderers found most of their attacks heading down the left flank as Martinez drifted across to link with Toloza and Boris Sandoval.
San Felipe offered very little in an attacking sense but for the alertness of the home side’s goalkeeper Mauricio Viana they could have went into half-time ahead. Ezequiel Carballo chased a pass played over the defence and looked to flick the ball over Viana, but the ‘keeper timed his ‘sweeping’ well.
Wanderers should have been ahead within two minutes of the restart. Martínez was again the heartbeat of the attack. Appearing on the right flank he shaped to flight a cross in with his right foot but as his marker slid in with a despairing block he moved the ball onto his left and whipped a lovely cross, met by the slightest of flicks from Sebastián Ubilla only for the striker to be acrobatically denied his 7th of the season by Diego Sánchez.
Sánchez, along with his desperate defenders, looked to have secured a point as Wanderers turned the screw. First Calandria was thwarted by the agile goalkeeper before a further effort was cleared by covering defenders as it threatened to trickle across the goal line
It proved to be all in vain however as Los Porteños nicked a deserved win in stoppage time. Sebastian Mendez, who spent the whole game providing balance in midfield, met Sebastián Ruscalleda’s bouncing corner; hitting his shot into the ground and squeezing it past Sanchez whose goal had appeared impregnable for 90 minutes.
Deportes La Serena 1-0 Universidad de Concepción
There will be few games as bad as the ‘spectacle’ La Serena and Concepción served up in Saturday’s early afternoon encounter.
The following tweet on the game as I watched summed up the ‘entertainment’ on offer: “If someone offered to pay me to watch this La Serena v Concepción game again I’d have to politely reject their offer.”
In the first 45 minutes of stalemate goodness Concepción were closest to taking the lead through a spectacular Gustavo Vargas overhead kick and an Anibal Carvall back-post header; both efforts missing the target.
Moving away from sarcasm, praise is given where praise is due and the goal that won La Serena the game was a moment of brilliance. Captain, Mauricio Salazar, dropped off the Concepción defence to collect the ball before a quick exchange of passes freed the forward in behind the away side’s defence. Salazar glided into the space which he had created with his intelligent movement and clipped past Cristián Brítez to win the game.
Cobreloa 0-2 Colo Colo
His instructions were simple: win and keep your job. To say the season has not started the way Ivo Basay hoped or expected is an understatement. Pre-season expectations were for a place in the Copa Sudamericana later in the year, not fighting to stay in the play-offs each week. Fans had tolerated more than they wanted and were unhappy with the club’s performances on and off the field.
It all came to a head after last week’s home defeat to La Serena which provoked the ultimatum; lose in Calama and lose your job.
Switching from his favoured three at the back Basay sent out Los Albos in a basic 4-4-2 and the two sides frustrated each other with defences, in the main, on top. Yet there were still signs of vulnerability but Basay had his goalkeeper, Franscico Prieto, and the woodwork to thank for the score being level at half-time.
First Prieto had to be quick to turn a glance header past the post before Cristian Canio saw his own header come back off the foot of the post and straight to Felipe Flores who, with the goal at his mercy, scuffed his shot into the ground and straight to the recovering Prieto.
The longer El Cacique went without conceding the greater their confidence grew. Rodrigo Millar curled a lovely pass over the Cobreloa defence onto the head of Carlos Muñoz but the nippy striker could not assign the necessary power to head the ball past Luciano Palos.
It was another ball over the top of Los Miñeros’ defence which brought about the opening goal. However this time it was deft, cute and nimble; everything you would expect from Esteban Paredes in his role as creator. Sergio Zúñiga’s despairing interception only took the ball away from Palos, forcing Muñoz to readjust his position and steer the ball into the net.
With ten minutes to go Paredes’ ambitious effort from distance was plucked out of the top corner by Palos. But Palos was helpless when Mathías Vidangossy ran on to a long clearance from Prieto and coolly scored against his former club.
Deportes Iquique 1-2 O’Higgins
O’Higgins bounced back from defeat against Universidad Católica to record an impressive away win in Iquique against the Dragones Celestes.
Guillermo Suárez had the best chance of the first half for the visitors shooting straight at Rodrigo Naranjo having been played through by Nelson Rebolledo.
The goals did not arrive until the second period and it was the in-form Enzo Gutiérez, notching his fourth goal in his last five appearances, who was first on the scoresheet, volleying in a Suárez cross from the right.
Boris Rieloff sneaked round the back of the O’Higgins defence to equalise with 12 minutes reamiaing but only four minutes later the home side had fallen behind again. Rodrigo Rojas spotted the run in-behind by Richard Blanco and spontaneously scooped a pass to find the Venezuelan who calmly side-footed the ball over the advancing Naranjo.
This time Iquique could not find the leveller.
Universidad de Chile 3-2 Unión Española
When observers of Chilean and South American football gazed upon the encounter between La U and La Furia Roja one word came to mind: goals. Or more pertinently goles (y goles y goles).
And boy did they not disappoint – even if it did take longer than expected.
There was an early warning from Española when Sebastián Jaime, moving inside of the right, happened on an Emmanuel Herrera knock-down and flashed a shot wide of the post.
Los Diablos Rojos were making all the early running and Los Azules seemed shocked by the ferocity at which Española were playing. At times they were ‘La Uing La U’ forcing El Chuncho into errors in defence and midfield with the attack reduced to occasional whiffs, let alone feeding on scraps.
The goal that broke the deadlock was well worth the wait. Gonzalo Barriga made a wonderful run off Jose Rojas and was found with an even better pass from Mauro Díaz, clipped in with the outside of his right foot. Jhonny Herrera had little chance with Barriga’s fierce shot which flew straight past him.
Twenty minutes later and Herrera was again beaten by a lash of Barriga’s left foot; letting the ball run across his body from a Jaime’s cushioned pass he struck a firm shot into the far corner.
La U had threatened at 1-0 through Paulo Magalhaes and Matías Rodríguez, fresh from his hat-trick the previous week, and they were able to bring themselves back into the game on the stroke of half-time as Gustavo Lorenzetti steered in Junior Fernándes’ cross after good work out wide from Los Azules number 9.
Fresh from signing a contract extension until 2015 Eugenio Mena scampered down the left before cutting back for Charles Aránguiz, given the freedom of the box, to fire an equaliser into the top corner.
And the comeback was complete with barely ten minutes left on the clock. This time it was Roberto Cerceda advancing down the left to send in a teasing cross which was expertly turned in at the front post by Raúl Ruidíaz. Anyone who saw La U last yea would have been forgiven for watching the goal again and again to make sure it wasn’t Eduardo Vargas who at made those front posts a trademark.
Palestino left it late to prolong Cobresal’s woes with a 2-1 win. Goalless in the first half Emerson Joquera scored eight minutes after the break for El Tricolor but Gonzalo De Porras had levelled within ten minutes, only for Nicolás Canales to grab the three points for Palestino with a 89th minute penalty. The remaining game on Saturday brought about a third consecutive victory for Huachipato, lifting them to 3rd in the Apertura. Star attackers Manuel Villalobos and César Cortés scoring the goals which saw off Antofagasta.
The two Sunday’s fixtures brought about the ‘bad’ side of Universidad Católica as they fell to a 1-0 defeat at Unión La Calera; Ariel Cólzera with the only goal of the game. But the ‘good’ side of Audax Italiano who are now up to the heady heights of 15th after a 3-0 reverse of Rangers; their second win in three games. Gabriel Rodríguez claimed a double, sandwiching a goal from Bryan Carrasco.