The Red One finally returns after a six week hiatus. And what a weekend to return to!
There were goals aplenty on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; two 2-2s, a 3-2 and a 4-3 as only two of the 18 teams failed to score.
Deportes Iquique made it six wins from six to lead the Clausura ahead of Rangers and Universidad de Chile – both teams recovering from two goals down to record draws late on.
The Sunday game between Cobreloa and Universidad Católica can only be described as manic with the return of horrendous defending led by Enzo Andía. Cato faces an in-form Colo Colo this weekend in the first clásico of the Clausura. Los Albos swept past Unión Española in the final game of week 11.
Cobreloa 4-3 Universidad Católica
Crazy! Manic! Bonkers! And any other synonyms you can come with. That is the only way to describe the game in Calama. Yet for 34 minutes the game was controlled and in the hands of Cato who led through a lovely strike/chip from Paraguayan Roberto Ovelar – his first of the Clausura. Cato countered to play Ovelar in on the left-hand side of the area and spotting Luciano Palos off his line he clipped a shot with an unusual amount of pace for chip into the top corner.
However a fizzed in cross from Patricio Troncoso dissected Los Cruzados’ defence for Sebastián/Marcos (please let us know which one) Pol to acrobatically head in past the shaven-headed Cristopher Toselli. That signalled the start of a bizarre game.
Seconds after the goal Católica’s Tomás Costa was shown a straight red card for a late and high challenge. Despite being late AND high I am still unsure it warranted a red card. The ‘tackle’ provoked an angry reaction from Cobreloa players with captain Sebastián Roco finding his way into the referee’s notebook before angrily arguing with his team mates who were trying to calm him down. Roco was having none of it and signalled to be substituted. After his prima dona turn he eventually calmed down and stayed on the pitch.
It was the second half when the goals started to come. Cristian Canío, quiet in the first half, glanced in an in-swinging cross before latching on to a long ball and poking it home.
The game was Cobreloa’s to throw away. And they gave it their best shot. Roco fouled Ovelar in the area and Michael Rios scored from the spot. Ovelar then scored his second having found acres of space by drifting out to the left, cutting in and firing into the far bottom corner; Cobreloa had lined up with a back three and looked uncomfortable throughout.
Yet there was more than enough time for Cato’s defence to hand Cobreloa the three points. Another cross was defended appallingly, the ball bouncing under Toselli who anticipated a shot from Rene Lima. Enzo Andía was quickest to react but could only kick the ball against substitute Juan Barros. The ball came back and hit Andía before Barros prodded it home from on the line.
Colo Colo 3-0 Unión Española
After a testing start to the season where they drew five of their first seven games Colo Colo have now won four on the bounce, scoring three goals in each victory. Having experimented with both four and, his personal favourite, three at the back Omar Labruna is beginning to find his strongest team coupled with a bench that provides depth in midfield and forward positions.
As each game passes Mathias Vidangossy is proving more instrumental starting from wide left but taking up dangerous central positions, allowing new left-back Juan Guillermo Domínguez to dominate the left-flank; highlighting not only his power and indefatigably but also his crossing ability. This was all evident in Sunday night’s comprehensive defeat of Española.
It was however Unión Española that threatened first through Emiliano Vecchio as the tricky Argentine forced Francisco Prieto into a smart save. But Colo Colo then took control as Domínguez, not for the last time in the game, motored forward and curled a cross onto the head of the unmarked Carlos Muñoz to make it 1-0 and record his 7th of the Clausura.
Ten minutes later and the lead had been doubled; Muñoz’s effort from long range ricocheted kindly into the path of Felipe Flores stationed slap-bang in the middle of the box with the goal and with the form Flores is in he easily sent Eduardo Lobos the wrong way for his 5th in four games.
Colo Colo are much-improved since The Red One took its break. In the middle of the park Fernando de la Fuente is finding the form which convinced Los Albos to pick him up from Deportes La Serena.
There were still signs of the old Colo Colo; the team that lacked confidence. In the second half they dropped of Española, allowing La Furia Roja to control the ball. But despite a scare when Sebastián Jaime fluffed a glorious chance (replays showed he was offside) there was a solidity that has been missing in the past.
The game was well and truly wrapped up five minutes from time by a wonderful counter-attacking move involving a great piece of Vidangossy skill to release Domínguez to get to the by-line and cut the ball back for Mauro Olivi to score.
On Friday night Deportes La Serena threw a two goal lead to top of the table Deportes Iquique with Victor Sarabia scoring the winning goal in the 90th minute. Leandro Monje notched his first goal for Iquique since joining in the summer (the Chilean summer is winter in Britain) transfer window while Cristian Bogado was also on the score sheet only days after being arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Iquique closed the gap to Universidad de Chile in the annual table to five points as La U scraped a draw against struggling Santiago Wanderers. Jefferson Castillo and Michael Silva had Wanderers two ahead with only ten minutes remaining. But an Enzo Gutiérrez header and a bundled effort from Francisco Castro rescued a point. La U faces Santos in the second-leg of the Recopa Sudamericana on Wednesday 26th (tonight). The first-leg in Santiago finished 0-0.
It should be noted that Jhonny Herrera travels with the squad after playing on Saturday. Herrera has been in the news again while I’ve been away. He was caught drink driving and not for the first time.
Palestino moved into 4th in the Clausura with a 1-0 victory over bottom placed Universidad de Concepción who remain in the relegation play-offs in the annual table.
It is tight at the bottom of the annual table with only three points separating six teams. Cobresal still prop up the table after a 1-1 draw away at Huachipato. Unión San Felipe who looked dead-certs for the drop are now second bottom and only two points outside the Clausura play-offs after a run one defeat in five including Saturday’s draw with O’Higgins.
Antofagasta pulled away from the bottom six with a 2-1 away win at La Florida against Audax Italiano who are still in danger. A double from Javier Elizondo sets up las pumas with a real chance of making the end of season play-offs.
And finally a Milton Caraglio brace rescued Rangers a point against Unión La Calera who were in front through a Gastó Cellerino double.
The Clausura and Annual table can be viewed here.
The weekend’s goal can be seen here.