Universidad Católica 1-1 São Paulo – Lasarte second half changes keep UC in the tie

This time last year everyone knew who Universidad de Chile were, even those who did not follow South American football. 12 months on and Universidad Católica are 90 minutes, and one fine performance, away from reaching the Copa Sudamericana final. But, unlike their Santiago rivals, they have done so under the radar.

São Paulo are all that stand in the way of Católica making the final, with all to play for after a 1-1 draw in the semi-final first-leg.

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Deportes Iquique and Universidad Católica continue Chile’s good start in the Copa Sudamericana

Ereros and Diaz celebrate the former’s opener against Nacional (img: copa-sudamericana.info)

The 2012 Copa Sudamericana has started well for the Chilean clubs with a record of four games unbeaten.

Last week saw Cobreloa and O’Higgins record a win and draw respectively and this week it was the turn of Deportes Iquique and Universidad Católica; the duo followed suit with a win and a draw.

Iquique received arguably the toughest draws of the four Chilean clubs, paired with Nacional but Fernando Vergara’s side put in Chile’s finest performance with a comfortable 2-0 victory; giving the side a solid lead as they head into the second-leg.

Católica had to make the toughest trip, to Bolivia. Cato are still to find their feet under new boss Martín Lasarte, displaying their quality in sporadic bursts so far. In terms of performance they disappointed against Blooming but can be satisfied taking a 1-1 draw back to the Estadio San Carlos.

Deportes Iquique 2-0 Nacional

Iquique kicked things of on Tuesday as they welcomed Uruguayan giants Nacional to the Tierra de Campeones stadium. Despite a nervy start against the three-time Copa Libertadores champions Los Dragones Celestes emerged as the stronger side as the game progressed, going ahead through Sebastián Ereros. Enganche Rodrigo Díaz was in fine form and Iquique could have been further in front before the half-time whistle.

On the previous Friday evening Iquique conceded five to Rangers, but were defensively sound, keeping the experienced talents and his wand of a left-foot quite throughout the match.

A second goal was added was through a well-taken volley from Misael Dávila to give the Chileans a commanding position going into the second-leg in Uruguay.

Blooming 1-1 Universidad Católica

Católica made their way to Bolivia to take on Club Blooming in Santa Cruz. Cato were coming into the game on the back of a 2-2 draw in Antofagasta where they were left frustrated by the concession of a late equaliser.

It appeared they were still suffering from the disappointment of the weekend’s result as they started slowly with the first-half a non-event.

It was no surprise that the opening goal scored by Álvaro Ramos came only minutes after the arrival of Michael Ríos onto the field of play. Ríos has been Los Cruzados’ most influential out field player since the Clausura begun and provided the assist for Ramos.

However Cato’s defensive problems resurfaced as Blooming equalised only a minute later, and for once this season the excellent Cristopher Toselli has to take a large proportion of the blame. The ‘keeper, so impressive of late, came for a cross but showed little conviction as Limbert Méndez was first to the corner and headed into the vacant net.

Despite their inability to hold onto the lead Católica and manager Lasarte will be content with the result, knowing that they are favourites to prevail over the two-legs.

Clausura 2012 Week 3 – Cobresal make history, Española produce a fine performance and Católica scrape three points

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.

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Bolívar 3-0 Universidad Católica/Junior 2-1 Unión Española – Cato slump out while Española await Argentine giants

Cato players left dejected (image: yahoo)

History could not be made for Chilean teams in the Copa Libertadores as Universidad Católica slumped out of the group stage, finishing in last place to leave Universidad de Chile and Unión Española to flying the flag for Chile.

Cato travelled to Bolivia needing a victory over Bolívar to finish second behind fellow Chileans Unión Española in group three. However they were up against a Bolivian side who themselves were trying to become the first Bolivian side to reach the knock-out stages since 2000. And in the end were beaten by the better side.

Disaster struck for Católica with little under two minutes on the clock as they fell asleep at a short corner routine, allowing Rudy Cardozo to steal into the box and at the second attempt hook a shot across the six-yard box where the ball bounced off Pablo Frontini, eventually being bundled into his own net by the unfortunate Enzo Andía.

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Peñarol 1-1 Universidad de Chile – La U survive early aerial bombardment to secure vital away point (plus Unión Española and Universidad Católica also draw 1-1)

Francisco Castro evades two challenges

Loss, win, draw. Not the start to the Copa Libertadores campaign Universidad de Chile expected but in a tough group and with two away games out of the way after yesterday evening’s 1-1 draw in Uruguay with Peñarol La U are in a position of strength to reach the knock-out stages.

However Jorge Sampaoli felt that their position could have been even stronger if they made the most of their pressure in the second half. The home side may have felt slightly aggrieved at going into the break level as Junior Fernándes cancelled out Nicolás Freitas’ opener. Peñarol had visibly upset El Chuncho’s rhythm in the first half, penning the Chileans midfield in their own half and causing the backline an abundance of problems with their direct play in to ex-Juventus striker Marcelo Zalayeta. Sampaoli changed the flow of the game with the introduction of Gustavo Lorenzetti at half-time and Universidad de Chile looked the more likely team to collect all three points.

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