Chile spoiled us last week with its glut of goals. We were made to suffer this week, and it’s hoped that this won’t become a familiar theme with a handful of teams playing reactive rather than proactive football.
The two teams who play attacking and winning foottbal – Unión Española and O’Higgins – were not shown on TV this week as they reached summit of the Primera, so our attention turned to the bottom of the table as Palestino recorded thier first win of the season, while Cobresal still wait for that illusive three points.
Then there are the tres grandes – Universidad de Chile are now the team look more likely to make a challenge. That’s right one of the ‘big three’ ‘making a challenge’.
New manager but same old story for Cobresal as that mythical ‘new manager effect’ was nowhere to be seen. Which is unsurprising considering it doesn’t exist.
After the 90 minutes in Chillan José Cantillana will have realised he has much to do in all areas of the park having replaced Oscar del Solar.
Cobresal survived an onslaught in the first half to take the lead through a howitzer of a shot from Hans Salinas just under 10 minutes before half-time.
But as the game opened up in the second half as they so often do in Chile, to resemble a basketball match as the play breathlessly went back and forth, Ñublense increased the speed and frequency of their attacks to go into the lead with two quick fire goals.
Cobresal pushed for a desired point but minus long range shots at goal they only mustered the one real chance inside the box, which Jean Paul Pineda blazed over the bar after Lucas Giovini had made a smart block.
Los Legionarios matched Ñublense’s 4-2-3-1 formation, but were much more static leading to a split team of four forward players and six defensive players. Despite the presence of two holding midfield players Ñublense were able to carve the away side open on a regular basis.
Wladimir Herrera, who would later be sent off, made two timely blocks, goalkeeper Sebastián Cuerdo was alert of his line to prevent the home side taking the lead, while right-back Jerez made a stupendous goal-line clearance.
Cobresal’s inability to handle the speed of Ñublense’s passing and dribbling became more evident in the second half. Eduardo Farías and Johan Fuentes did little to break-up play as Emnauel Croce and Juan Gutiérrez almost got a free reign in the final third.
Having sat back in the first half Fuentes tried to link up defence and attack but was often too ambitious with his passing. There seemed a lack of confidence throughout the team to work the ball into the penalty box or belief from Pineda and his team mates to really beat their opposition one-versus-one. Their counter attacks frequently broke down due to either poor decision making or a simple lack of quality.
Ever Cantero showed his movement in and around the box with a fine header which beat Giovini but was ruled offside despite replays showing he was clearly onside. But he was starved of service.
Much to ponder for Cantillana with Cobresal the only team without a win.
Palestino’s key duo
Palestino picked up their first win of the season with a formation that is not widely used in Chile, but has traditional British football fans excited – the 4-4-effing (contains a sweary)-2.
Last seasonthey played a more Italian 4-3-1-2 with Robert Flores providing the creative flair with two attacking full-backs. They still possess the strong and mobile duo of Lucas Simón and Diego Chaves, but they are now supported by two wide midfielders, conservative full-backs and two central midfielders who don’t have ‘breaking into the box’ high on their to do list.
However, Unión La Calera – the only team in the league without a draw – were put off by the sheer physical force of the front line pairing and their directness.
On their day Simón and Chaves are at times unplayable – especially the former. Simón is gangly, rangy, yet strong and powerful. He can look clumsy and unorthodox but that can make him look even better as defenders seem unsure as to how best to deal with him. He netted a tap-in before doing that sentimental apology celebration which seems to be all the rage these days as he used to play for La Calera.
Chaves is more technical but between them that was the first goal they had scored this season. They could have tripled that figure by the end of the match. They should add more goals, and once they do they should have little problem staying clear of the bottom of the
They will be helped if Jason Silva continues his performances of drifting in off the wing and varying his position to good effect.
La U’s young guns
In midweek Universidad de Chile blitzed Newell’s Old Boys in the first half hour at the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa with a performance that could easily have been orchestrated by the great man himself. There was intense pressing and rapid passing as La U constantly moved forward.
Having gone 2-0 up in those first 30 minutes La U hung on to a 2-1 and after the match Darío Franco stated that those first 30 minutes is how he wants his team to play. He was delighted with the result but still seeks a consistent La U.
Saturday’s game against Deportes Iquique afforded him the chance to rest a number of players for the upcoming visit of Newell’s Old Boys in their fourth Copa Libertadores group game. In came younger players Michael Contreras, Juan Ignacio Duma, Rodrigo Ureña, Valber Huerta and Nicolas Maturana.
There was not the same cohesion as there was against Newell’s, but individually the youngsters impressed to suggest La U still possess the best squad with the most talented youngsters in the country as los azules won 2-0
One player more than most stood out: Maturana. He began by coming in off the right-hand side to slice open the Iquique defence with a glorious piercing through ball for Cesár Cortés to open the scoring.
He was always lively, especially in possession as he dribbles and jinks with pace and the odd trick up his sleeve to leave opposition defenders bamboozled. He could have added a goal for himself but saw a shot come back off the post. Performances such as this will confirm his place at the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey.
Ureña played as the holding midfielder in what transpired to be a 3-3-1-3 formation for La U. He was a steady influence in the centre of midfielder. Always on the move, if he did not take the ball from the defence he was opening space for someone else to. He also contributed in the stifling of La U old boy Edson Puch.
In defence Valber Huerta continued his progression with a confident and solid performance to the left of the back three.
For Iquique their 2013 goes from bad to worse as they languish in 17th and are highly unlikely to qualify for the Copa Libertaodres knock-out stages. Reports even surfaced that Cristian Diaz hit an Iquique fan that confronted him after the game. Iquique so far have refuted the claims as a misunderstanding.
Will he stay or will he go?
This was meant to be it. The tournament where they ended their dry spell. They had spent the money to progress on the back of the improvement witnessed in the 2012 Clausura.
Colo Colo were primed to win their 30th title and third star.
Well that’s how it looked on the field, but off it the club have looked more like a team scrapping for stability. Omar Labruna, in the last few months, has been at odds with the authorities after claiming his wife was driving the car he crashed; the club’s board of directors over signings; and ex-players. (That in itself deserves an article on its own.)
Now it is only a matter of time before those same directors either replace him or give him the dreaded vote of confidence.
This is on the back of a 1-0 defeat to Rangers on Sunday evening. Colo Colo have not won in Talca since 2004 and never looked like doing anything to change that despite enjoying large amounts of possession around the box but very little inside it.
Out of the seven league games so far in the Torneo 2013 (three wins, three defeats and one draw) there have been five different starting line-ups across different formations; from starting with a 4-2-1-3 to the current 3-4-1-2.
Labruna clearly does not know his best eleven and it has got to the point where he is just guessing hoping to strike the right balance. Jose Fuenzalida, arguably the best player of the season so far and who has excelled as a right wing-back, was shunted to the left on Sunday where he admitted he was uncomfortable.
Both of the big transfer window signings have been more hit than miss – Emiliano Vecchio has still been one of the better players – as Labruna’s still searching for the ideal replacement for Rodrigo Millar with late signing Mathías Cardaccio still yet to start.
With Labruna’s contract up in June, the likes of Claudio Borghi and Fernando Vergara were both linked to take over in the media yesterday, while it was speculated that if they do decide to relieve him of his duties now they will promote from within until the end of the season.
After the match los albos captain Eduaro Lobos said: “We are closer than ever and we remain confident in the coaching staff.” But do the directors feel the same?
If anyone saw Wigan go 3-0 up at Everton on Saturday and watched Universidad Católica against Santiago Wanderers you may have got a feeling of déjà vu. Eighteen minutes were on the clock when Carlos Bueno swung his foot at a Wanderers corner, ending up in the back of his own net and leaving UC trailing three goals to none in front of a stunned San Carlos de Apoquindo.
For many in the 12,000 strong crowd thoughts would have turned to the 6-1 defeat to Unión Española in the Copa Chile last year – UC went into the half-time break 6-0 down.
In fact a lot of memories of last year would have came flooding back when you did not know what los Cruzados were going to show up and Martín Lasarte’s job was called into question. In the first half it was the team riddled with defensive errors which turned up. That Enzo Andía returned, unable to deal with a spinning ball off the turf for the first and then let Matías Donoso nip in ahead of him for the second.
Marko Biskupovic was not much better on the right-hand side of the back three; a performance akin to a husband being sent to get the shopping for the first time on his own – permanently lost.
More than the three points, the biggest loss against Cobreloa last week may have been Cristián Álvarez and Claudio Sepúlveda to injury. Hans Martínez is the better defender but Álvarez has the ability and presence to increase the performance of those around him. Sepúlveda had struck up a fine partnership with Tomás Costa in midfield. The chemistry with Milovan Mirosevic was missing.
On Twitter, before el decano stormed Estadio San Carlos, I called Ivo Basay’s team uninteresting. They have now defeated both Católica and La U. They, along with Ñublense, lead the way in terms of reactive teams.
Two of their goals may have been down to a shade of luck but their second was simplistic yet beautiful. They targeted the right side of Católica and the space in behind Meneses; Sandoval powered forward from left-back and crossed for Donoso who steered in a lovely volley.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That’s how it goes right?
Also . . .
Joint top of the league are Unión Española and O’Higgins. Yet, we didn’t get to see it as neither side had their game shown. That’s two of the most watchable sides in Chile.