Chilean soccer round up: Católica thrash Cobresal, U de Chile lose and Colo Colo win
SANTIAGO – After a poor performance in the Copa Libertadores and a change in coach, Universidad Católica have returned to their winning ways at thumped Cobresal 5-0 to close round 15 of the 2012 Apertura season. With four of the goals coming in the first half, the “Crusaders” are now guaranteed a place in the playoffs. After ten straight victories, it was time for Universidad de Chile’s unbeaten run to end, going down to Universidad de Concepciòn. This was the first time under the reign of Jorge Sampaoli that “La U” have lost two games in a row. The side will be eager to stay in contention for the Copa Libertadores, but will have a difficult task after losing 4-1 in Ecuador.
Second placed O’Higgins failed to seize the opportunity to close the gap, only managing a draw at home with Rangers. Iquique also guaranteed their place in the playoffs , winning 2-1 at home against Wanderers. The Valparaíso team now heads a traffic jam of teams equal on 20 competition points. They are in seventh place, with Colo Colo next in line.
The “Cacique” returned to contention for the playoffs with a 1-0 victory over Unión San Felipe. The victory could have been much stronger if it had not been for some great saves and as well as some wasted chances, including a missed shot at the open goal by captain Esteban Paredes. Interim coach Luis Pérez made a number of changes after the disastrous superclásico, where Colo Colo suffered their worst defeat against Universidad de Chile, going down 5-0. The first change was at goalkeeper, with Venezuelan Renny Vega replacing Francisco Prieto. With a strong performances, it is likely Vega will stay in the top side until the end of the tournament. The veteran goalkeeper has made 57 appearances for Venezuela. Carlos Muñoz, who was threatened by the fans of the team earlier in the season, scored the only goal of the match.
With the key focus on hosting Boca Juniors on Wednesday, Unión Española failed to account for Antofagasta in the trip north, both sides finishing with one goal apiece. Stars Sebastian Jaime and Emmanuel Herreera both appeared of the bench, with Jaime scoring the equalizer. After going down in the final minute of play against the renowned Argentine team, the “Hispanics” will be hoping for a miracle victory to take them to the quarter finals of the Copa Libertadores.
In the opening match of the round, Audax Italiano and Huachipato drew in La Florida while Cobreloa returned to the equation for the playoffs with a 1-0 victory over Palestino. After leading the table, five straight losses saw them plummet towards the bottom of the table, but they have returned to form recently. Uniòn La Calera accounted for La Serena with an emphatic 3-0 victory.
Round 16 will be highlighted by the clásico universitario between Universidad Católica and Universidad de Chile at San Carlos de Apoquindo. After Sunday night’s match, members of “Los Cruzados”, the Caólica fan group gathered to protest the new changes to stadium security law, and the inability to bring drums. One supporter was run over by a police truck, which can be seen in this video.
The match between “La U” and the “Crusaders will kick off at 12pm on Sunday afternoon at Estadio San Carlos de Apoquindo in the foothills of the Andes. Another game that may further determine places in the playoffs is the clash between Santiago Wanderers and Cobreloa at Play Ancha in Valparaíso.