Without a defeat in 28 games Universidad de Chile’s visit to Brazilians Vasco da Gama, who sit 2nd in the Brazilian Serie A, was arguably the toughest test this talent-laden La U side has come up against.
From early on it was clear that this was not going to be a stroll in the park, akin to the last time they played Brazil, defeating Flamengo 4-0. Vasco, in front of a partisan home crowd, started positively and deservedly went in front. With one first half substitution however Jorge Sampaoli was able to wing the game back in his teams favour as La U went on to control most of the game; themselves deservedly equalising late on.
Having made nine changes to the side at the weekend Sampaoli fielded the same side, in an unbalanced 3-4-3, which put three past Arsenal dí Sarandi without reply the week previous. Gustavo Canales continued up front with support from Francisco Castro and Eduardo Vargas.
Vasco lined up 4-3-3, Bernardo dropping wide left to torment Osvaldo Gonzalez while Allan and Fágner combined on the right. Ex-Lyon talisman Juninho Pernambucano took up a marauding central position.
The home side set their stall out from the beginning, happy to commit men forward; both full-backs showed no hesitation in supporting play. Although that would not last as right-footed left-back Jumar played a more conservative role, wary of the threat of Eduardo Vargas. A possible ploy from Vasco coach Cristóvão Borges playing a right-footer at the left to combat Vargas’ inside runs from a wide position.
On the other side however Fágner was forthright in his attacking surges, often popping up in and around the final third. It was a fine battle throughout the game between the right-back, linking with the explosive Allan – comfortable going on the outside or coming into central areas – and La U’s left-sided duo Eugenio Mena and Jose Rojas.