That’s more like it. A spread of goals, shocks, golazos and some fine, fine midfield and forward play as all 18 teams were in action.
This week under the microscope is the perpetual quality of Universidad de Chile’s midfield veteran, the fine work of the Primera División’s bald Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonator in Calama, the adjustment of the promoted sides, crowd trouble in Rancagua and penalties in the Estadio Santa Laura.
Marino the Marvellous
Cinco Cosas could have exclusively been done on Universidad de Chile and their first league encounter of the Torneo Transicíon – a 1-0 defeat of Audax Italiano. The potential consequences of Eugenio Mena’s injury; Matías Rodríguez’s departure and Michael Contreras’s ability in filling his quite considerable boots; and 3-4-3 v 4-2-3-1. However, as an unwritten rule (which will no doubt be broken), one has to be chosen. Therefore, it’s the undying quality of Guillermo Marino.
When you first see him you would think he is possibly two or three years older than the 32 his birth certificate states. But then the ball arrives at his feet with an opponent charging at him; he never seems rushed as if he’s waiting to be tackled, but then in an instant he glides past the opponent with a move straight from the Andrés Iniesta handbook before dropping a shoulder and dashing past another challenge, then another before unselfishly laying in a team mate for a shot, or moving the ball onto Gustavo Lorenzetti to pierce the opposition with a sumptuous through ball.
Marino is an ungainly figure, but he is the most controlled man in the stadium; long pass or short pass, both are delivered with precision from his quite exquisite right foot. And at 32 he knows how to play the game – especially the darker arts. Against Audax he controlled the game. Juan Pablo Passaglia’s conservative play allowed him to roam around the pitch hunting for the ball when out of possession and then caring for it when in possession. Everything went through Lorenzetti and Marino – an Argentine double act which rivals Porcel and Olmedo.
Los azules have an abundance of young talent ready to break down the fence and storm the first team, and on the wrong side of 30 Marino could have felt in danger – especially when a transfer was being mooted in the close season. Yet, like the resplendent Connie Britton he seems to be getting better with age. What better player to have as a guiding light to help bring on young talent than the nonplussed veteran Argentine. JS
Copper proves the strongest
Shamefully Cobreloa against Deportes Iquique was one of two games not chosen to be shown by CDF. Especially as it is Cobreloa’s last home game for 18 months as their stadium in Calama is renovated. Following up from the previous weekend’s hammering of Colo Colo, the zorros del desierto thumped Copa Libertadores representatives 4-1.
Nine goals in two games plus qualification to the Copa Chile semi-finals, Marcos Antonio Figueroa could not have asked for a better start to his second stint in charge of Cobreloa.
As was highlighted last week Cobreloa have a wonderful flexibility to their squad; selfless players able to carry out a number of roles. It is very early in the season but they look like a team that is a jack of all trades and master of all.
Just as important as the team’s tactical flexibility, the recruitment policy has been imperative to their progress. Francisco Pizarro and Pablo González played intermittently at Universidad Católica, but are now regulars and their confidence has blossomed as a consequence, while Miguel Ángel Cuellar has made the progression from reliable goal scorer averaging almost a goal every other game at Cobresal to an expert marksman with four goals in two games.
They are still to welcome back suspended defender Sebastián Roco who, for all his over eagerness and aggression, is a solid Primera División defender.
With Huachipato out of sorts, Deportes Iquique playing in the Libertadores and neither Católica or Colo Colo showing long-term signs of recovery, could the title head from the south to the north? JS
Two out of three ain’t so bad
The automatic relegation place will be decided by the coeficiente de redemiento – the point average per game over the last seven championships. At the moment Antofagasta are propping up the table with a 1.111 average, while La U are at the top with 2.007. Sitting in second and third place however are newly promoted Everton and San Marcos de Arica with a score of exactly 2.000. Because it has been so long since they were in the league their average only started this championship.
Fellow newcomers Ñublense, going into their third championship of points, languish in 16th after a poor home defeat to Antofagasta – worrying times for the men from Chillán.
But what about Everton and San Marcos de Arica? Both recorded competent away draws in the first round of fixtures before excelling at home in the weekend’s round of games.
On Friday evening Everton welcomed champions Huachipato. The first half was an even affair with Maximiliano Ceratto impressive for the new boys. What came in the second half was unexpected, especially as Ceratto had departed injured. Everton, in 45 minutes, left everyone questioning how Huachipato are quite in the Copa Libertadores let alone defending champions. Emiliano Romero scored two of Everton’s three goals – the second a quite outstanding strike.
The following night San Marcos de Arica defeated experienced relegation firefighters Cobresal 3-1 – their first top division win since 22 December1985 (I wasn’t even born then) . Their second half performance in particular was impressive according to our man at the ground – Adam Brandon. Well worked moves brought goals two and three, while signing of the season Nicolás Trecco’s individualistic magic opened the scoring.
Home form is in imperative in any team’s survival hopes. Everton and San Marcos have made the ideal start. JS
Wandering into trouble
A week after having their match against Universidad de Chile relocated postponed rescheduled due to the ANFP deeming that their home ground for the season Everton’s Estadio Sausalito was unfit for use in the Primera Division (see last week’s Cinco Cosas), Santiago Wanders fans obviously decided to vent their frustrations on the team’s away trip to Rancagua to take on O’Higgins on Saturday afternoon.
During the halftime break, with the scores locked at nil-all, the visiting Wanderers fans decided that they would help out the home fans by getting started early on the renovations to the stadium that were set to take place following the conclusion of the match. Their “help” involved them ripping up the timber seating of the Estadio Teniente and then throwing it at either the home fans or outside the stadium itself. This obviously drew the ire of the local constabulary who promptly put an end to the impromptu construction work.
Whilst all this was going on the players returned to the field for the start of the second half but referee Claudio Puga clearly wasn’t keen on restarting the match until the situation was properly sorted as it was quite obvious that the visiting fans were still a bit agitated. Another five to ten minutes went by and with the threat of the match being abandoned Wanderers’ captain and club legend, Moisés Villaroel, went over and pleaded for the fans to pull their heads in and abandon their misguided destruction of the stadium. It seemed to have the desired effect as the match soon got back underway although Villaroel, in hindsight, may have had second thoughts on the match restarting as goals to Pablo Calandria and Juan Rodrigo Rojas saw O’Higgins run out comfortable 2-0 winners. NZ
A tale of two penalties
Saturday’s match between Unión Española and Rangers de Talca provided an interesting study into the art of taking a penalty and more interestingly the attempts by the respective goalkeepers psychologically outwit their opponents.
First up we saw Ranger’s Juan Silva step up to the penalty spot in the 29th minute after Jorge Ampuero was adjudged to have fouled Gervasio Núñez in the area. Silva was up against new Unión Española goalkeeper, Diego Sánchez, who joined la furia roja from Unión San Felipe in the summer following the departure of Eduardo Lobos to Colo Colo.
In the lead up to the penalty Sánchez did the whole “in your face” routine as he made sure that the ball was correctly placed on the penalty spot. Then whilst waiting for referee Jorge Osorio to blow his whistle he turned his body diagonally and faced the stands giving the impression that he was going to resort to some Jedi mind trick and save the penalty without even looking at the ball. It all made for entertaining viewing but in the end all the bravado came to nought as Silva calmly sent Sánchez the wrong way to make it 1-nil to Rangers.
Fast forward to the 85th minute and with the score at 2-1 to the visitors Jorge Osorio awarded a penalty to the home side after Sebastián Jaime was brought down in the area. The Argentinean striker, then promptly stepped up to take the penalty and it was with much nervousness as an unashamed la furia roja fan as I awaited the outcome.
The reason for the nervousness was Jaime’s penalty taking record, especially in critical situations. Added to this was the imposing presence of Nicolás “el loco” Peric, who had quite clearly got in Jaime’s ear and whose intimidation was much more palpable when compared to Sánchez’s earlier efforts. Needless to say Jaime smashed his penalty pretty much up the middle at and easy saving height and Unión’s chance to grab an equaliser disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. NZ
Photos taken from ferplei.com and terra.cl