Campeonato Petrobras 2013: Week Eight Preview

After a week that saw two managers get the sack we return to action on the field this weekend with a number of key matches that include Universidad Católica looking to avoid their third successive loss against Huachipato and Colo Colo starting life without Omar Labruna against Ñublense.

The weekend’s action kicks off on Friday night at the Estadio Lucio Fariña as Santiago Wanderers play host to Antofagasta. Whilst both teams are at the wrong end of the Coeficiente de Rendimiento table their recent form couldn’t be more stark in its difference. Santiago Wanderers are unbeaten in their last four matches, winning three of them including their latest over Universidad Católica. Meanwhile Antofagasta have only picked up one point in their last five matches and a very much entrenched in the bottom three of the Coeficiente de Rendimiento table. This is very much your veritable six pointer or coefficient equivalent.

Another team mired in the relegation battle is San Marco de Arica, who after a good start to the season have struggled in recent weeks only picking up a single point in their last three matches. The task doesn’t get any easier for them in Friday night’s second game as they travel down south to take on an O’Higgins side that is in great form and second on the table only behind leader Unión Española on goal difference. Another loss here for the northerners and it could be pretty much season over.

After stumbling last week against Palestino, Unión La Calera will look to return to their earlier good form in Saturday’s opening match but will find a tough task ahead of them as they play host to Universidad de Chile. La U, who are only one point ahead of their opponents, will be hoping to erase the memory of the midweek loss to Newell’s Old Boys in the Copa Libertadores. Both teams will be keen for a win in order to keep in touch with the league leaders.

Next up on Saturday is one of the matches of the round as Huachipato play host to Universidad Católica in the Estadio CAP. The home side, after a slow start to the season, have won their last two matches whilst for the visitors it has been the opposite as they went down to Cobreloa and Santiago Wanderers in their last two matches. Considering that there has been ten goals scored in Católica’s last two matches one can predict more of the same in what is sure to be an entertaining encounter.

Saturday’s last match takes place in the Estadio Santa Laura as top of the table Unión Española play host to Everton. This is sure to be a tight affair as both teams have miserly defences with Unión only conceding five goals and Everton only six. Everton’s last match was against the free scoring Cobreloa and whilst losing they only conceded one goal in the process so should be confident of containing an equally free scoring los hispanos side.

Three of Sunday’s four matches kick off at 4pm with Cobreloa hosting Audax Italiano, Iquique taking on Rangers, and Cobresal paying a visit to the Estadio La Cisterna to take on Palestino.

It must be a strange feeling for Cobreloa, whose stadium is currently being renovated, to play at almost a different ‘home’ ground every second week. This week sees them play host to Audax Italiano in the Estadio El Cobre, home to their clásico del cobre rivals Cobresal. This constant moving around hasn’t seemed to have affected their form as they sit in third position on the table, only one point behind the top two. What may affect them is the uncertainty surrounding the future of their manger, Marco Antonio Figueroa, who at this stage was in dispute with the club’s owners. As for Audax they will be hoping the distraction will allow them to pick up their second win of the season but they will need to improve their defence, which is the third worst in the league, against the league’s leading scorers.

Last week Rangers’ 1-0 defeat of Colo Colo led to the eventual sacking of their manager Omar Labruna. In a somewhat twiste of fate this week they face of against another team who parted ways with their manager. They travel north to take on Iquique who sacked their manager, Cristián Díaz during the week after a confrontation with a fan after last week’s loss to Universidad de Chile although his team’s poor form in the league probably didn’t help either. Iquique have only scored four goals in seven matches so far this season and will looking to put the issues of last week behind them against an inconsistent Rangers side, who also don’t have a great defensive record. Let’s hope both teams show some of the form that saw the feature in the Clausura playoffs.

Whilst their home ground is being used by their fiercest rivals, Cobresal travel to the nation’s capital to take on Palestino. This is sure to be an intriguing affair with Palestino struggling to find the back of the net but have one of the league’s meanest defences whilst Cobresal have the worst defensive record in the competition but still score more than a goal a game despite having only picked up one point so far this season. Both teams also need the win, Cobresal more so than Palestino as they look to avoid the threat of relegation but if recent form is any guide it might be a difficult task.

The weekend’s last match takes place in the Estadio Monumental as managerless Colo Colo take on Ñublense. After last weekend’s loss to Rangers, the Colo Colo board decided that couldn’t wait until the end of the season and sacked Omar Labruna. There are many candidates in the wings but for this week interim manager Hugo González is in charge against a Ñublense side who are three places ahead of them of the table. Ñublense have made a good fist of their return to the top flight of Chilean football and will be looking to their unbeaten run of five matches against an inconsistent los albos outfit.

Primera Division Torneo Transición 2013 , Round eight fixtures

S. Wanderers vs. Antofagasta (Fri 19:30, Bicentenario Lucio Fariña)
O’Higgins vs. SM Arica (Sat 22:00, Bicentenario La Granje)
U. La Calera vs. U. de Chile (Sat 16:00, Bicentenario Lucio Fariña)
Huachipato vs. U. Católica (Sat 18:30, CAP)
U. Española vs. Everton (Sat 21:00, Santa Laura)
Cobreloa vs. A. Italiano (Sun 16:00, El Cobre)
Iquique vs. Rangers (Sun 16:00, Tierra de Campeones)
Palestino vs. Cobresal (Sun 16:00, La Cisterna)
Colo Colo vs. Ñublense (Sun 18:30, Monumental)

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