We are now heading into the home straight of this shortened season and in round 10 we have plenty of highlights, none more so than Saturday night’s first versus second clash between Unión Española and Universidad Católica which should be one of the matches of the season all going to plan. It is also a crucial weekend for those at the wrong end of the table with important matches for Cobresal, San Marcos de Arica and Antofagasta.
The weekend’s action kicks off in the Estadio Nicolás Chahuán on Friday night as Unión La Calera play host to Audax Italiano. After an impressive start to the season Unión La Calera have struggled in recent weeks only picking up a single point in their last three matches, and that came last weekend against the struggling San Marcos de Arica. Meanwhile Audax are unbeaten in their last two matches including their last start win over Colo Colo where they were leading 3-1 when the match was abandoned due to crowd violence. In their last four encounters, Audax have won two, Unión have won one and there has been one draw with the games tending to be low scoring affairs.
Saturday’s action kicks off in Santiago with Rangers travelling to the Estadio La Cisterna to take on Palestino. Palestino go into the match off the back of a three match winning streak that has seen them make amends for a rather poor start to the season. They come up against a Rangers side that is also in a bit of good form going three matches unbeaten and that includes two wins. Recent history between these two teams suggests that this could either way as the honours are fairly even but what may tip things in Palestino’s favour is the absence of Ranger’s inspirational/controversial goalkeeper, Nicolás Peric.
In Saturday’s next match we have one of those veritable six pointers as Santiago Wanderers host San Marcos de Arica. Both teams are at the wrong end of the Coeficiente de Rendimiento table with Wanderers in fourth last position whilst San Marcos sit dead last. Many San Marcos fans will see this as a must win match as a loss would pretty put an end to their chances of staying in the Primera Division. Their recent form hasn’t been great having only picked up three points out of a possible twenty-one in their last seven matches whilst for Wanderers they have only lost one match in their last five. What may give San Marcos some confidence is that they have not been beaten by their opponents in their last eight encounters but those matches took place when both teams were in the Primera B in 2008 and 2009.
Next up is a northern derby of sorts as Iquique play host to Antofagasta in the Estadio Tierra de Campeones. Both teams have been somewhat underwhelming this season none more so than Iquique who are currently on a six match losing streak and that’s not including their efforts in the Copa Libertadores. Antofagasta currently sit in second last position in the Coeficiente de Rendimiento table sandwiched in between San Marcos de Arica and Cobresal and will see this as an opportunity to get one over their northern rivals. Their form isn’t that crash hot either having only picked up four points in their last five outings. Recent history would suggest that this is going to be a close encounter with their recent meetings, Copa Chile aside, have been decided by a single goal margin.
Saturday’s penultimate match is very much the match of the round as top of the table Unión Española travel down the road to the Estadio San Carlos de Apoquimbo to take on second placed Universidad Católica. Both teams come into the match in good form with la furia roja on a three match winning streak and los cruzados winning their last two. Over the last three years or so these two teams have developed an intense rivalry playing each other an amazing thirteen times since the start of 2011, which is helped by the fact that they were paired in the same group in the Copa Libertadores for consecutive years. Unión Española possess the meanest defence in the Primera Divsion having only conceded five goals in nine matches and they will need to maintain their form against an Universidad Católica side that possess the goalscoring threats of Carlos Bueno and Ismael Sosa who have combined for eleven of their sides 21 goals so far this season. Expect there to be plenty of fire in this one.
The final match of the day sees action take place in the south of the country as O’Higgins play host to Cobresal. Having slipped up last week against Everton, O’Higgins will be confident of bouncing back against a Cobresal side that has lost its last five matches and conceded a whopping twenty-one goals in nine matches, three goals worse than the nearest team. That being said Cobresal do have a good recent record against O’Higgins having won their last three meetings and four out of their last five but this is a los mineros side very low on confidence and ripe for their sixth successive loss.
Sunday’s first match sees a match up between the last two Primera Division champions as Huachipato take on Universidad de Chile in the Estadio CAP. After a poor start to the season Huachipato’s form has picked up of late winning two of their last three matches and will be buoyed by an impressive 4-0 win away to Caracas in the Copa Libertadores during the week. Universidad de Chile are also in good form winning three out of the last four matches but are coming off a poor result in the Copa Libertadores which saw them all but eliminated. Like Cobreloa last week, Huachipato has a poor recent record against La U having lost their last six matches including a 4-0 and a 3-0 loss in their last two meetings in last year’s Apertura and Clausura seasons. This may be a much closer affair with both teams coming off midweek action but if previous meetings are any indication there should be plenty of goals in this one.
Cobreloa are the only team after nine rounds to have a zero in their loss column and will be hoping that is still the same after round 10 as they host Ñublense in Antofagasta’s Estadio Bicentenario Regional. Up until their last loss to Huachipato, Ñublense had been putting together an impressive run in their return to the Primera Division having gone six matches without a loss, including three wins. This is their first meeting since 2011 where in their two meetings the honours were shared with a win apiece but Cobreloa will be confident of a win having won their last three home games against Ñublense, although technically this is a home game in name only. The key for Ñublense will be keeping Marco Sebastián Pol quiet, with the Argentinean topping the goalscoring charts with seven goals so far this season.
The weekend’s last match takes place in the Estadio Monumental as Colo Colo play host to Everton. Like Ñublense, Everton have made an impressive return to the Primera Divsion and currently sit in sixth position after nine rounds and come into this match off the back of an 2-0 victory over O’Higgins. To label Colo Colo’s season a disaster may be a little harsh but after topping the Clausura table at the end of the regular season last year it wouldn’t be far off the mark. They currently lie in 12th position having not won a game in their last four outings. These two teams last met in the 2010 season with los albos winning both matches by a margin of 2-0 but they are currently are a team lacking confidence and Everton will see this as a chance to maintain their good run.
Primera Division Torneo Transición 2013 , Round ten fixtures
U. La Calera vs. A. Italiano (Fri 20:00, Nicolás Chahuán)
Palestino vs. Rangers (Sat 12:30, La Cisterna)
S. Wanderers vs. SM Arica (Sat 15:30, Bicentenario Lucio Fariña)
Iquique vs. Antofagasta (Sat 16:00, Tierra de Campeones)
U. Católica vs. U. Española (Sat 18:00, San Carlos)
O’Higgins vs. Cobresal (Sat 20:30, Bicentenario La Granja)
Huachipato vs. U. de Chile (Sun 15:30, CAP)
Cobreloa vs. Ñublense (Sun 16:00, Bicentenario Regional)
Colo Colo vs. Everton (Sun 18:00, Monumental)