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.
Kevin Harbottle. Remember the name (I'll make sure you will). (IMG: deportes.terra.cl)
1. Despite not playing Universidad de Chile still Chile’s top dogs
When Eduardo Vargas left for Napoli it was expected he would be the first of many from Universidad de Chile’s Copa Sudamericana squad to depart for Argentina, Brazil and Europe. In the end he was followed through the departure door by central defender Marcos González plus a handful of squad players as a number of new and exciting players arrived. With Universidad de Chile and fellow play-off finalists Cobreloa not playing this weekend it meant that the pretenders, namely Universidad Católica and Colo Colo, had the chance to show that 2012 is not going to be another dominated by Los Azules juggernaut.
Universidad Católica were first up but produced a limp first half ‘at’ Palestino (the game was played at the Estadio Nacional) despite the presence of sufficient attacking quality. The midfield lacking Francisco Silva’s passing range and authority struggled to locate a good tempo. The second half was much improved as Kevin Harbottle saw more of the ball as Nicolás Trecco was introduced and Felipe Gutiérrez pushed further forward. The question will be if the squad can handle both the Apertura and Copa Liberatadores.