Without trying to upset fans of other teams there was only one game that stood out this weekend in the Clausura: El Superclásico. Colo Colo v Universidad de Chile.
The previous three games had finished with an aggregate of 9-2 in La U’s favour but as Colo Colo’s Felipe Flores point out their rivals have regressed since winning the Copa Sudamericana and reaching the Copa Libertadores semi-finals whilst Los Albos have improved immeasurably under Omar Labruna; unbeaten in 10 leagues games going into the game.
There was also the small matter of Universidad de Chile’s wretched record at the Estadio Monumental having not won in over 11 years.
In terms of quality it shaped up to be the tightest match between the two sides in 18 months or so.
What transpired didn’t surprise many with incidents, controversies, red cards, missed chances but not as many goals as one would come to have expected. And La U still can’t win in Macul . . .
Colo Colo’s Felipe Flores battles with Carlos Lopez
After the 13th round of fixtures three teams share the lead at the top with 26 points; Palestino in first place due to their greater number of wins. Tucked in behind are Universidad de Chile and Rangers.
La U finally got back to winning ways in a sun-baked Antofagasta while the game of the weekend saw Rangers travel to the soaking Estadio Monumental and share four goals with Colo Colo.
Friday night’s match once again saw goals and there was even a Monday night game which produced, yes you guessed it, goals.
In between the two games Universidad Católica got back to winning ways in the league while there was a Clásico in the Atacama.
Munoz continued his fine goal scoring form (not a picture from Sunday)
Any passer-by, with a semblance of world football knowledge, looking at the Clausura table would be surprised to see the traditional trio of Chilean giants placed 4th, 5th and 6th.
And as the old adage goes ‘the league table never lies’; in first place we have Deportes Iquique, followed by Rangers and then Palestino. Collectively they have won 21 games of the 36 they’ve played in the Clausura compared to the 17 victories Colo Colo, Universidad Católica and Universidad de Chile have amassed in the same number of games.
But they will have to continue their fine form to hold off the challenge of Colo Colo who currently rampant as they look to Continental competition for the first time in two years.
Down at the bottom the fight continues to avoid the bottom four places in the annual table; bottom two are automatically relegated while 3rd and 4th bottom contest a play-off with sides from the Primera B.
However on paper there was only one contender for game of the week, the Clausura’s first el clásico as Universidad Católica entertained Colo Colo at the Estadio San Carlos. And that is the focus of this week’s round-up:
The Red One finally returns after a six week hiatus. And what a weekend to return to!
Flores celebrates his goal
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.
Meneses returned for Cato but couldn’t prevent the draw
With Universidad de Chile heading to Japan via Australia to take part in the Suruga Bank Championship against Kashima Antlers it was another week for those at the top of the Clausura to extend their lead over the winners of the last three Campeonato’s.
Audax Italiano, Cobresal and Rangers done just that as the trio remain beaten having each won two and drawn two. Audax and Rangers in particular recorded emphatic victories; the latter’s defeat of Iquique especially impressive.
On the back of signing exciting forward players both Colo Colo and Universidad Católica looked good value to pick up wins at Unión La Calera and Anotfagasta respectively. But despite both playing to their fans’ expectations in sizeable periods of their matches they were both left disappointed due to conceding to a 90th and 93rd minute equalisers.
Down at the bottom of the table Unión San Felipe edge closer to the drop having picked up one win in 17, while on current form it will be Santiago Wanderers who will be joining them in Primera B.
Espanola celebrate Diego Scotti’s Golazo! (img: Lanacion)
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.
What surprise feat did Eduardo Lobos achieve? (img: elgraficochile)
After last week’s shortened playing calender week two of the 2012 Clausura had the full filling of nine games, taking advantage of the holiday weekend in Chile to spread the games over four days.
There were seven goals in the two games on the Friday night as Audax Italiano continue to search for defensive solidity while Antofagasta slipped nearer to the automatic relegation places in the Annual Standings.
On Saturday there was a surprise scorer for Unión Española as La Furia Roja fell to Cobresal who are a level at the top of the Clausura standings with four other teams, including Colo Colo who took on O’Higgins in our featured game of the weekend.
Perhaps the best game was saved until Monday as we caught our first glance of a slightly different Universidad de Chile in a game that produced seven goals against Deportes La Serena.
Carlos Munoz celebrates in typical fashion (img: Goal.com)
Barely 100 hours had passed after Jhonny Herrea’s third penalty save clinched Universidad de Chile their third successive Campeonato that the Chilean season was back under way as Deportes La Serena and Rangers contested the first game of the 2012 Clausura tournament.
With La U and their final conquests O’Higgins given the weekend off it was a shortened week one calendar with only seven games and at one point it looked as if there would be seven draws until Carlos Muñoz scored a controversial late winner to give Colo Colo three points in the penultimate game of the weekend.
There was also a win for Palestino at Universidad Católica while Cobresal performed admirably to open with a draw despite playing with eight men at one point. However there was only one winner in the game of the weekend; the clásico de colonias where Unión Española and Audax Italiano shared six goals.
Mauro Diaz evades the challenge of Luis Mena as Union Espanola prevail in a classic (image: unionespanola.cl)
A quiet week in Chile? No not really. So what is in store for Week 11. Unión Española and Colo Colo took part in arguably the game of the year so far and one of the best games anywhere The Red One has witnessed this season. High-tempo football? Check. Goals? Check. Unreliable defences? Check.
Elsewhere Cobreloa suffered a Nelson Acosta hangover in Santiago while Santiago Wanderers of Valparaíso were brought back down to Earth with a bump in Santiago, blue is colour in the top places of Apertura and there was varying degrees of success for new (and relatively new) managers.
Off the field there is a worrying situation developing at Colo Colo between certain players and fans while we look ahead to the first big Santiago derby and share some transfer news surrounding two of Chile’s most promising defenders.
Carlos Munoz celebrates his opener in Colo Colo's vital 2-0 win against Cobreloa (image: Elgrafico)
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.