Despite a valiant effort in Argentina Universidad Católica could not replicate the performance of Universidad de Chile the previous night and overturn the 2-0 deficit they suffered to Vélez Sásfield in Santiago two weeks previously to progress to the quarter-finals of the Copa Sudamericana.
A positive first half in Buenos Aires saw UC go into the break with a one goal advantage and the promise of more goals. However the second half turned into a struggle as Vélez took over proceedings and duly finished the tie with little more than 15 minutes left on the clock.
It was a tentative opening to the game at the Estadio JoséAmalfitani but for the matter of inches Católica could have taken a lead through Sunday’s hero Milovan Mirosevic. Unlike the first leg UC’s large spells of patient play, Francisco Silva knocked a long ball over the top for the perfectly timed run of Francisco Pizarro who got away from Sársfield’s high line, but his low cross was just out of the reach of the sliding Mirosevic.
It was hoped that for Universidad Católica salvation would come in the shape of progression to the quarter-finals of the Copa Sudamericana having lost their previous four games in the league, slipping out of the Primera Division’s play-offs in the process. But a testing and frustrating 90 minutes against Vélez Sársfield at their San Carlos de Apoquindo stadium sees Católica’s season unravelling at pace – and a mountain to climb in the second-leg of the last 16 match to be held in Buenos Aires on the 20th of October. Coach Mario Lepe has now called on his players to “strengthen and move forward” to the semi-final of the Copa Chile this coming weekend.
Católica controlled the game from start to finish yet finished on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline as their Argentine opponents stifled them for 90 minutes while demonstrating what it is to be clinical at the other end, something which the Chilean’s have to learn from; not only failing to score with one of the handful of chances that came their way but failing to fully test the capabilities of the Vélez goalkeeper.