Week 6 Round-Up – O’Higgins lead the way beside La U, Colo Colo continue to misfire, the first managerial casualty and Audax finally win.

Universidad de Concepcion v O'Higgins (image: purofutbol.cl)

Universidad de Chile followed up their midweek win against Cobreloa with a 3-1 triumph against Cobresal to join O’Higgins at the summit of the Apertura. The Rancagua outfit have been going strong under new manager Eduardo Berizzo, unbeaten in four to place ahead of La U on goal difference with 13 points each.

Colo Colo continued their miserly form in front of goal escaping from Valparaíso with a point after Santiago Wanderers missed two penalties. There were wins for Santiago rivals Unión Española and Universidad Católica who consolidate their positions in the play-offs.

Audax Italiano finally broke their duck away at Deportes Iquique with a 2-1 win, leaving Cobresal as the only side yet to collect a first win of the season which cost Luis Musrri his job.

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Clausura Play-off Quarter-final second-leg’s: Santiago giants ease through and are joined by Cobreloa who squeezed through

Kevin Harbottle (right) IMG: ANFP

The closing stages of the Primera División are well and truly underway as four teams were eliminated over the weekend, setting up a Clásico Universitario semi-final and potential ‘El Clásico’ final, while Cobreloa – the only non-Santiago team in the last four – will be happy to just be there after an almighty scare at home to Unión La Calera, leaving it late to confirm their place.

Universidad de Chile won. Again. Colo Colo took care of an elementary second-leg and Audax Italiano floundered when it mattered.

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ANFP confirm a new division is to be entered into the league system

Chilean domestic football is to see a new division added to the league system in 2012 with the creation of a professional third division; the ‘Segunda División’, below the Primera División and Primera B.

The move was approved by the ANFP (Asociación Nacional de Fútbol Profesional) when the Presidents Council met yesterday (22 November).

Currently Tercera (Third) A and B are directly below the Primera Divisións and are amateur leagues. However the new ‘Segunda División’ would be under the control of ANFP, the country’s professional association.

The new league will consist of six ‘subsidiaries’ from the Primera División, i.e. reserve teams – similar to that in Spain and Germany – and six others teams that can comply with the guidelines imposed by the ANFP. Copiapó and Melipilla are two teams expected to take a place in the new league while the remaining four places will be given to clubs who can meet conditions set out by the ANFP, set around finance and infrastructure.

A ‘quirk’ to the league is that all players registered must be under the age of 25.

The winners of the division will be promoted to Primera B and the bottom team relegated to Tercera A.

Week 12 Round-up

The shape of the Clausura continues to alter – with the exception of the top spot which Universidad de Chile have all but sewn up – after another tumultuous and enthralling weekend in the Chilean Primera Division.

There were 27 goals scored in the nine games which kicked off on Thursday (01:00 GMT) due to La U’s impending involvement in the Copa Sudamericana. They travel to Brazil to face Ronaldinho’s Flamengo in good spirits having secured their place in the play-offs defeating Union La Calera late on to end their run of draws and increase their lead at the top to 10 points. La Calera, like Unión Española who were beaten 2-1 by Huachipato, fell out the play-offs to be replaced by Universidad Católica (more about them soon) and Ñublense while Deportes La Serena, Audax Italiano and Cobreloa all strengthened their positions in the play-offs with wins. Palestino moved off the bottom of the Clausura table with a 3-1 win victory in Iquique and Santiago Morning hit bottom of the general table with a 1-1 draw at home to Unión San Felipe.

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Audax Italiano 1-1 Huachipato

Huachipato came away from the Municipal de La Florida with an unexpected and deserved point as Audax Italiano failed to fully take advantage of second place Colo Colo’s slip-up away to La Serena.

Similar to the game between Unión Española and O’Higgins the previous evening the game was played at a frantic pace, helped by the artificial surface at La Florida as the ball zipped about. With both teams set up in a 3-4-1-2/3-4-3 formation and content at playing on the counter-attack with plenty of quick, sharp, vertical passes the game was primed for end to end action and it’s exactly how the first goal of the game came about.

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Unión Española 3-1 O’Higgins

Leonardo Monje

It was a night of celebration in the Estadio Santa-Laura Universidad SEK as Unión Española consolidated their place in the play-off positions, – bringing them into the reckoning for the race to qualify for the Copa Libatadroes – defeating O’Higgins 3-1 in an exciting encounter, which saw Leonardo Monje score his 100th career goal and then follow it up with a second to begin his quest for the next 100.

Both teams were happy to take risks and pass from the back, but when the moment appeared explode into an attacking force with quick, sharp passing. In the end the difference between the two teams their defending. With Uruguayan Diego Scotti sitting in front of a back three that included Ecuadorian internationalist, and ex-Birmingham defender, Giovanny Espinoza, Unión Española had the necessary defensive experience and solidity to complement their attacking verve.

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Santiago Wanderers 1-1 Universidad de Chile

Picture: Marcelo Segura/Agenciauno

Nelly Furtado was right when she ‘sang’ All Good Things Come to an End. Barely three days after making history by winning nine consecutive league matches Universidad de Chile’s run had come to an end, just when it was looking like they would be unstoppable.

Travelling to joint bottom of the league Santiago Wanderers, a tenth consecutive win was almost a given. But it wasn’t to be and could have been much worse after the home side took the lead early on and then Universidad were reduced to 10 men when Marcos González was sent-off in the second half after Francisco Castro had equalised in injury time of half-time. But neither team threatened to take all three points while Santiago goal scorer Orué saw red late on.

There was only four minutes on the clock when Santiago Wanderers took the lead. A free-kick was won just inside La U’s half; Sebastián Rusculleda’s inswinging left-footed delivery caused Los Azules defence to drop deep into their box and La U midfielder Albert Acevedo glanced a header against his own post with Herrera scrambling across to keep it out. The ball fell invitingly for Ángel Orué to knock home the rebound into the empty net from inside the six yard box as Herrera lay helpless on the ground.

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