With only seven rounds remaining action is heating up at both ends of the table with the match between Unión Española and Cobreloa proving to be a highlight at the top end whilst the clashes between San Marcos de Arica and Colo Colo and Cobresal and Santiago Wanderers have very much a bearing on what takes place at the other end of the table.
The weekend’s action kicks off in the north of the country on Friday night as Antofagasta play host to Huachipato in the Estadio Bicentenario Calvo y Bascuñan. Whilst they come into the match off the back of a 4-3 loss at the hands of Universidad de Chile, Huachipato’s recent form has been good winning three of their last five matches but will also have one eye on their Copa Libertadores match the following week against Gremio where they still have a chance of qualifying for the knockout stage. Antofagasta for their part are very much stuck in a relegation battle at the bottom of the Coeficiente de Rendimiento table currently sitting in second last position. Their recent form has been pretty mixed having won one, draw two and lost two in their last five outings. If recent history is any guide their should be plenty of goals in this one, with twenty-three goals being scored in their last eight encounters with two teams sharing the spoils with a win apiece in their meetings last year.
After seeing off Universidad Católica last weekend it doesn’t get any easier for league leaders Unión Española as they kick off proceedings on Saturday with a clash against Cobreloa. La furia roja go into the match off the back of four consecutive wins and with recent signing Gustavo Canales getting back on the scoresheet last week they look chock full of confidence with both the league’s best attacking and defensive record. Cobreloa for their part come into this match off the back of their first loss of the season at the hands of Ñublense and haven’t won a match in their last three outings. Last year Unión Española won both of their matches against Cobreloa and have won four of their last seven meetings. If their recent matches are any guide their should be plenty of goals in this one.
Unión Española’s clásico de colonia rivals Audax Italiano are involved in the day’s next match as they host Iquique. Both teams had an excellent Clausura season but have struggled somewhat this; Iquique in particular struggling to combine their Copa Libertadores and Primera Division commitments. However those continental commitments are now over after a midweek loss to Peñarol and will be now looking to regain some confidence in the back half of this season. Standing in their way are an Audax Italiano side who have scored six goals in their last two matches, with Argentinean Sebastián Saez scoring all of them. They both shared the spoils with a win apiece when they meet last year with both teams winning away from home by a single goal advantage so expect this to be a tight one, that’s unless Saez continues his hat-trick streak.
Saturday’s next match takes place in Talca with Rangers hosting O’Higgins. Rangers are currently on four match unbeaten run and have consolidated a comfortable mid-table position whilst O’Higgins are sitting in third place, five points behind league leaders, Unión Española. The recent form of la celeste must be of concern to manager Eduardo Berizzo having lost to Everton and drawn with bottom placed Cobresal in their last two matches. If they are to maintain any kind of pressure on the league leaders they will need to pick up three points in this encounter and should be confident of doing just that having picked up two wins over Rangers in their two meetings last year.
The final match of the day sees Colo Colo travel to Chile’s most northern city to take on a struggling San Marcos de Arica. After four weeks without a win, Colo Colo returned to the winners’ list last week with a 3-0 defeat of Everton and will be hoping to make it two in a row against a San Marcos side that haven’t picked up a win since round two and a sitting bottom of the Coeficiente de Rendimiento table. Considering that San Marcos haven’t been in the top flight for 37 years there isn’t much in the way of history to draw on between these two teams. However based on San Marcos’ recent form and off field dramas, which included their president asking fans on Facebook whether they should sack manager Luis Marcoleta, it should be another win for los albos.
Sunday’s action kicks off in Chillian as Ñublense play host to Universidad Católica in the Estadio Bicentenario Nelson Oyarzún. Like Everton, Ñublense have been excellent since their return to the top flight and come into the match of an impressive 2-0 victory over Cobreloa. For Universidad Católica they will be looking to bounce back from their 3-1 loss to Unión Española, which saw them drop six points behind the league leaders. Los cruzados have an impressive record against Ñublense having not lost to the Red Devils in their last nine meetings, winning seven of them.
Sunday’s next match takes place in the Estadio El Cobre as Cobresal play host to Santiago Wanderers. Cobresal, who are currently sitting in third last in the Coeficiente de Rendimiento table, ended a five match losing streak last round when they shared the spoils with O’Higgins. Although Santiago Wanderers are only a spot above their round eleven opponents on the Coeficiente de Rendimiento table they have a nineteen point advantage over Cobresal and shouldn’t be dragged into a relegation battle following their last round win over San Marcos de Arica. Over the past two years the honours have been shared between both teams with two wins apiece but Wanderers’ recent form should be enough for a win.
The round’s last two matches kick off simultaneously with Everton hosting Unión La Calera and Universidad de Chile taking on Palestino.
Everton, despite an impressive return to the Primera Division, have struggled of late losing three out of their last four matches and whilst they sit four places ahead of Unión La Calera only a point separates the two teams. La Calera for their part have drawn their last matches including coming from two goals down against Audax Italiano but their last win came in round six. This should be a close affair if their previous five encounters, that have all taken place in the Copa Chile, are anything to go by with four of them ending in draws and La Calera picking up the solitary win.
Ten places and seven points may separate Universidad de Chile and Palestino but outside of Unión Española these two teams are the form teams of the competition with both of them being unbeaten in their last five matches. La U, who come into the match after being eliminated from the Copa Libertadores at the group stage, have won four of those five matches whilst Palestino has won three of them. Palestino, who are only now recovering from a disastrous start to the season, have a poor recent record against their opponents having not one in their last four meetings and this time will be another difficult task against a La U side keen to maintain the pressure on the league leaders.
Primera Division Torneo Transición 2013 , Round eleven fixtures
Antofagasta vs. Huachipato (Fri 20:00, Bicentenario Calvo y Bascuñan)
U. Española vs. Cobreloa (Sat 12:30, Santa Laura)
A. Italiano vs. Iquique (Sat 17:00, Bicentenario La Florida)
Rangers vs. O’Higgins (Sat 19:30, Fiscal de Talca)
SM Arica vs. Col Colo (Sat 22:00, Bicentenario Carlos Dittborn)
Ñublense vs. U. Católica (Sun 15:30, Bicentenario Nelson Oyarzún)
Cobresal vs. S. Wanderers (Sun 16:00, El Cobre)
Everton vs. U. La Calera (Sun 18:00, Bicentenario Lucio Fariña)
U. de Chile vs. Palestino (Sun 18:00, Santa Laura)