On this week’s round-up three games are featured with entertainment, golazos, comical defending and some fine goalkeeping on show.
Cobresal created history with their surprise win at an eerie Estadio Monumental as Colo Colo continue to feel the effects of crowd trouble which reared its ugly head the previous week in Rancagua with the death of an O’Higgins fan.
Patricio Rubio and Alvaro Ramos put in a fine performances in attack for Unión Española and Universidad Católica respectively as both Santiago sides picked up three points. Equally impressive was the performance of Cristopher Toselli on goal for Cato.
Elsewhere Universidad de Chile failed to score in Iquique while recent attacking signings continue to impress.
O’Higgins 1-3 Unión Española
La Furia Roja produced one of their best domestic performances of 2012; travelling to Rancagua without either Mauro Díaz or Emiliano Vecchio and inflicting only the second defeat O’Higgins have suffered at home since October last year.
In the absence of their midfield creators Española midfield three of Braulio Leal, Diego Scotti and Gonazlo Villagra provided a solidity that allowed the front three to concentrate on the attacking phase of play while being supported by a new set of Argentine full-backs – Enzo Ruiz and Nicolas Berardo.
Española took the lead in the 25th minute through Patricio Rubio’s 3rd of the season. Having acquired possession in the box, Sebastián Jaime flicked the ball to Rubio who looked to be in an unthreatening position with his back to goal. But with a feint to go away from goal, Rubio done enough to throw the O’Higgins defenders off the scent and turned to his right to send a volley across Luis Marín with his left-foot. Expertly taken.
Despite falling out of the game in the second half – with the exception of getting on the nerves of the O’Higgins players – Rubio looks to be a fine replacement for Emmanuel Herrera. Slightly different in build but Rubio is a handful for opposition defences with his movement and incessant running.
The lead lasted just over 10 minutes as O’Higgins were given a penalty after Jorge Ampuero blocked a Richard Blanco cross with his arm. Blanco would take responsibility, untainted from O’Higgins’ penalty defeat to Universidad de Chile in the Apertura play-off final. But he to would be struck by La Celeste’s penalty curse; Eduardo Lobos getting down to his right to pull off a wonderful stop, only for Blanco to react quickest to slot home the rebound.
In the first half Española had successfully thwarted the O’Higgins threat down the right flank where Yerson Opazo, Luis Figueroa and Ramon Fernández combine so well. Yet O’Higgins almost went ahead after the break from a move conjured up down the right as Figueroa slid a pass into the front post for Carlos Escobar but his impudent dink over Lobos came down off the bar.
It would prove costly as Española would go on to score two goals in four minutes. The first a zipping volley from 25 yards hit by the lanky Uruguayan veteran Diego Scotti into the bottom corner after a set-piece was only half-cleared. Then Jaime would tap in at the back post after some bizarre defending by Nelson Saavedra. Leal burst forward from midfield making a quick exchange of passes on the edge of the box to be sent through on goal. He appeared to be offside only for Saavedra to have played him on as he was standing well behind his defensive partners. Leal’s shot was rolling wide until Jaime intervened to turn it in.
That was where the football died out as players from both sides lost their cool. Ramon Fernández stormed around the pitch looking for arguments that weren’t there while Leal would have his game cut slightly short, picking up bookings in quick succession.
Colo Colo 1-2 Cobresal
A calamitous own goal proved decisive as Cobresal recorded a famous and historic result on Sunday by coming from behind against Colo Colo to win for the first time in their history at the Estadio Monumental.
Los Albos reverted to Omar Labruna’s favoured 3-4-1-2 with the availability of captain Pablo Contreras. Mathias Vidangossy was able to take up a central position behind the front two. And the Santiago giants looked comfortable in attack with both wing-backs getting forward to provide width in attack while there was fluid movement from the front free.
However it was Cobresal who had the best chance of the opening period as Miguel Ángel Cuellar saw an effort come back off Reny Vega’s bar.
It stirred Colo Colo into action and seconds later they were ahead through Carlos Muñoz’s third goal in as many matches. A driving run from the revitalised Vidangossy broke through Cobresal’s midfield and neat one-two with Roberto Gutiérrez unlocked a sturdy defence to allow the Colo Colo number nine to square a pass to Muñoz.
For the first time in three matches the three players tagged with breaking down opposition defences had combined and it looked fluid, natural and free. For once they seemed comfortable together.
Yet as the game entered stoppage time Cuellar would again find space in the home ide’s area to nod Patricio Gutierrez’s cross past Vega.
Disaster would strike for Colo Colo in front of a sparse home crowd – due to crowd trouble the capacity was significantly reduced – on the hour mark. A free-kick was sent long into Los Albos’ penalty box, Cuellar the target. The striker challenged with Contreras and Vega but in a moment not out of keeping with the Venezuelan ‘keeper he flapped the ball off Contreras and it rolled into the back of the net.
Colo Colo were in trouble and they threw more men forward and made their three changes. It was desperate stuff. 19-year-old Manuel Bravo, one of Colo Colo’s best performers, had a goal bound header deflected wide by his own player, Felipe Flores before Flores himself would be denied by Ezequiel Medrán in the Cobresal goal.
Similarly to the Apertura Colo Colo were again frustrated by a team who were organised defensively and kept men behind the ball while looking susceptible to counter-attacks.
For Los Mineros it was another vital three points. Not only did they go top of the Clausura table but the three points keeps them within three points of the six teams above them in the annual table. Still in the automatic relegation places yet Oscar del Solar’s men are starting to build up momentum.
Unión San Felipe 0-1 Universidad Católica
The weekend’s final match was certainly not the prettiest but Católica’s slim 1-0 victory provided a small but meaningful marker in their development under Martín Lasarte.
Out of keeping with the beginning of the match Michael Ríos almost handed Cato the lead with a sublime chip from outside of the box, beating Diego Sánchez but agonisingly bouncing the wrong side of the far post.
Ríos’ first effort may have been sublime but the second was emphatic. Neat play down the right-hand side freed Sixto Peralta to cross for Ríos making a front post run and the Chilean powered a header into the top corner.
Whilst not enjoying control of the possession Los Cruzados were still in control of the game. Defending with aggression while attacking with pace and movement, with and without the ball. Francisco Silva even got forward from his deep-lying midfield berth to send a shot fizzing past the same post Ríos’ chip narrowly evaded.
San Felipe were finding it difficult to create chances with their possession, only looking dangerous through set-pieces. So it was left to a piece of erratic defending from Enzo Andía to literally hand Uni-Uni the chance to equalise – the defender blocking the ball with his arm stretched above his head.
It was left to Ex-Colo Colo player Miguel Ángel González to step up against Cristopher Toselli from 12 yards. Toselli, like Lobos the previous evening, would be the victor as he saved González’s weak penalty. But unlike the day before the rebound was cleared quickly.
On the hour mark San Felipe almost recorded their first goal of the Clausura in stunning fashion as Jorge Acuña met the ball on the edge of the box and sent a dipping volley crashing off the bar.
Cato had two chances afterwards to secure the three points. First, Álvaro Ramos was denied by Sánchez at his near post in what would have been a deserved goal for his all round performance. Substitute Pablo Gonzalez would then be spurned by a truly wonderful point blank stop from the aforementioned Sánchez.
It was a game of fine goalkeeping performances as Toselli would emphasise his importance to Los Cruzados with a late acrobatic save to tip over ‘Magico’ González’s free-kick to preserve the lead.
With Fernando Meneses returning to the squad after contractual complexitie4s which seen him turn up in Peruvian football coach Lasarte has a strong squad with added depth. If one of his forwards can find the back on a regular occasion Cato may be best placed to challenge their University rivals, La U.
Meanwhile San Felipe are rooted to the bottom of the annual table, leaving new boss Marco Antonio Figueroa with a steep mountain to ascend if he is to save Uni-Uni from relegation with 14 games remaining.
Antofagsta’s Venezuelan internationalist striker Daniel Arismendi is staking a claim for the signing of the Clausura with his second and third goals of the Campeonato, leading the Pumas to a 2-0 victory and relegation rivals Universidad de Concepción.
There are conceivably eight teams currently in the relegation battle – two automatic and two play-off places. Santiago Wanderers are one of the teams and have not won since March, drawing 2-2 at home to Rangers – Arturo Salah’s men blowing a two-goal lead. Rangers, another of the eight teams, are now unbeaten in three Clausura games.
Surprisingly the only game of the weekend not seeing any goals involved Universidad de Chile. La U travelled to the Tierra de Campeones stadium to face Deportes Iquique and played out a goalless draw. Unsurprisingly however was the draw. The last four times they teams have faced each other has ended all square.
Cobresal are joined at the summit of the Clausura table by Palestino after El Tricolor defeated Unión La Calera thanks to a solitary Diego Cháves strike.
Cobreloa take a losing streak of five games into their first game of the Copa Sudamericana as they travel to Paraguay to take on Tacuary. Audax Italiano took a 2-0 lead within the first 30 minutes through a Sebastián Saez double – his 3rd and 4th of the Clausura. Cristián Canio reduced the deficit five minutes before half-time but that would signal the end of the scoring while Canio would see red ten minutes into the second half.
Huachipato are still looking for their first win of the Clausura after falling to a 2-1 defeat at Deportes La Serena who collected their first win joining four other teams on four points.