Universidad Católica 2-1 Unión Española

Gazale celebrates winner (image: laprensalatina.com)

Like Universidad de Chile the previous evening Universidad Católica left it late to clinch all three points against Chilean rivals Unión Española in what was a crucial win in their attempts at progression from Group 3 of the Copa Libertadores.

Substitute Daúd Gazale picked the perfect moment to score his first goal of the year, just when it looked like Española had done enough to secure a point that would have left Cató with an arduous task to recover in the last two group games.

The first half was a tepid affair played at a slow tempo; brightened temporarily by Roberto Ovelar’s 8th minute opener.

Felipe Gutiérrez picked up possession in acres of space in an inside left position half-way inside the away side’s half. Rather than driving into space he clipped a delicious ball across the box which was met by an even better diving header by Ovelar, steaming in between Fernando Cordero and Ampuero.

The game never threatened to turn into an exciting clash until the dismissal of Matías Campos Toro with 11 minutes remaining, collecting his second caution of the match.

It took La Furia Roja seven minutes to take advantage of their extra man; substitute Leonel Mena, from a similar position as Gutiérrez, crossing for Gonzalo Villagra at the front post to head past Cristopher Toselli.

But there was still time for another dramatic twist as Gazale sent a looping header over Eduardo Lobos in the Española goal from a Gutiérrez corner.

The three point’s leave UC one point behind Bolívar and Española with two away games remaining while this was Española’s first defeat in the competition but a win from their final two games should be enough for qualification.

Cató take a trip to Colombia to face bottom-placed Junior de Barranquilla next week and in two weeks time Española welcome Bolívar to the Estadio Santa Laura.

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