Campeonato Petrobras 2013: Week Twelve Preview

This week is dominated by one match and that is the clásico between Colo Colo and Universidad Católica which takes place on Sunday but that is a little unfair on the match between second versus third encounter that is  O’Higgins versus Universidad de Chile which should also be a cracker.

The weekend’s action kicks off in the Bicentenario Lucio Fariña with Santiago Wanderers playing host to Audax Italiano. Wanderers are having their best season of late, currently sitting in seventh position on the table face an Audax Italiano side who after an excellent Clausura season are struggling somewhat in twelfth position. Both teams are in good recent form with Wanderers having won two of their last three matches whilst Audax have gone unbeaten in their last four matches, winning two of those matches. Wanderers will need to maintain their run of recent form in order to avoid being dragged into the bottom three of the Coeficiente de Rendimiento table. Over the last two years they have shared the spoils in their four meetings, with two wins apiece and seventeen goals being scored so expect a free flowing affair.

Palestino and Everton are first off the mark on Saturday as they face each other at the Estadio La Cisterna in the early kick off. Both teams come into the match off the back of last start losses but Palestino’s recent form has been much better winning three of their last five matches whilst Everton have won one and lost four in their last five matches. The team from Viña del Mar will need to arrest that recent form slump as they don’t want to fall into the relegation zone as they have a limited amount of matches to draw upon on the Coeficiente de Rendimiento table. Recent encounters between the two teams have been relatively low scoring affairs with their last two meetings in the 2010 season finishing in draws.

Saturday’s next match is one of the matches of the round as third placed O’Higgins host second placed Universidad de Chile in what is meant to be an O’Higgins home game but is being played in the Estadio Santa Laura, which is La U’s quasi-home ground. Both teams sit three points behind league leaders Unión Española and will be keen for a win to maintain the pressure. After a somewhat lacklustre start to the season Universidad de Chile have been in good form of late domestically having won their last three matches and come into the match off a midweek win on penalties over the aforementioned Unión Española in the semi-finals of the Copa Chile. O’Higgins have had mixed form of late have won three of their last five matches but in their last three matches have won one, lost one and draw one. These two teams have history for close encounters having faced each other in the 2012 Apertura final playoff where O’Higgins were only minutes away from claiming their first Primera Division title before conceding a late goal and then losing on penalties. This is sure to be an enthralling affair.

It’s a tale of two teams with much differing fortunes in the third match taking place on Saturday as Iquique host Ñublense in the Estadio Tierra de Campeones. Iquique, who are after having an excellent 2012 are having a diabolical 2013 so far sitting in second last with only one win to their name after eleven rounds. Meanwhile Ñublense have made an impressive return to the top flight of Chilean football, looking very comfortable mid-table. They come into the match off the back of a loss to Universidad Católica but before that encounter they had won two of their last four matches. Iquique for their part have only picked up a single point in their last five Primera Division encounters. What may give Iquique some hope is that they have a good recent record against their opponents having won their last three encounters but if recent form is anything to go by one would think Ñublense should start favourites.

After dropping points for the first time in four matches last week and with teams nearby having difficult matches this week, Unión Española will be keen to return to the winner’s list when they take on Unión La Calera in the Estadio Nicolás Chahuán. La Calera’s recent form has been decent and they are unbeaten in their last matches, including a last start win over Everton. What will also give them confidence is that they have an excellent recent record over la furia roja having not lost to them since the 2011 Apertura season with most of their encounters being low scoring affairs. Another factor to consider is that Unión Española were in action midweek in their Copa Chile semi-final loss to Universidad de Chile so this match is very much looming as a danger game for the league leaders.

Saturday’s final match sees Rangers play host to relegation threatened Antofagasta in the Estadio Bicentenario Fiscal de Talca. Four points separate the two teams on the table but what is of more importance is that Antofagasta sit in third last on the Coeficiente de Rendimiento table and need as many as they can muster in the run to the end of the season. Rangers lost last start at the hands of O’Higgins but before then they were unbeaten in four matches and will be confident of maintaining that kind of form at home against an Antofagasta side, who have drawn their last two matches. Los pumas have a good recent record against Rangers having won four out of their last five meetings so should have some confidence of their own.

All the talk in the lead up to this round has been about Sunday’s first match, the clásico between Colo Colo and Universidad Católica at the Estadio Monumental. Five points and two positions separate these two teams on the table but that as they say can be thrown out of the window when it comes to a clásico. Both teams come into the match off the back of consecutive wins but los cruzados, who currently sit in fourth position, have much more riding on this as they look to keep in touch with the three teams above them in the race for the title. Colo Colo for their part have all but given up hope of securing their thirtieth league title. Los albos won their last meeting in the Clausura, when Católica’s attention was very much on their Copa Sudamericana campaign. That result aside the the honours have very much in the favour of los cruzados, having won four out of their previous six meetings before that match with the other two being draws. With Enrique Osses in charge expect there to be plenty of drama and some goals as well. If you only watch one match this weekend, watch this one.

Overshadowed somewhat by the clásico that starts half an hour earlier is the match between Cobreloa and San Marcos de Arica, which in its way is a northern clásico of sorts. After an excellent start to the season, Cobreloa have fallen off the title pace in recent weeks having not picked up a win since round seven, where they defeated Everton by a solitary goal. They will feel they have a chance to get back to winning ways against a San Marcos de Arica side who are sitting in last position on the Coeficiente de Rendimiento table and haven’t picked up a win since round two and have lost their last matches. These teams have met most recently in the Copa Chile, where they played each other four times over two campaigns last year. The record from those meetings sees Cobreloa with two wins, San Marcos with one win and a draw with goals being at a premium. Not sure it will be as close this time around.

The round’s final match takes place in the Estadio CAP with Huachipato playing host to Cobresal. After their elimination from the Copa Libertadores midweek Huachipato wouldn’t have hoped for a better side to come across than the struggling northerners who are very much fighting for their survival in the Primera Division. Cobresal, who are without a win this season, sit bottom of the regular season table and second last in the Coeficiente de Rendimiento table and should be easy pickings for Huachipato. The Clausura champions have struggled to combine continental duties with local duties but with their Libertadores campaign done and dusted they can now concentrate on improving their position on the table. Huachipato have four out of their last seven encounters against Cobresal with their last meeting in their championship winning season being a rare draw between the two sides.

Primera Division Torneo Transición 2013 , Round twelve fixtures

S. Wanderers vs. A. Italiano (Fri 20:00, Bicentenario Lucio Fariña)
Palestino vs. Everton (Sat 12:30, La Cisterna)
O’Higgins vs. U. de Chile (Sat 15:30, Santa Laura)
Iquique vs. Ñublense (Sat 16:00, Tierra de Campeones)
U. La Calera vs. U. Española (Sat 18:00, Nicolás Chahuán)
Rangers vs. Antofagasta (Sat 20:30, Bicentenario Fiscal de Talca)
Colo Colo vs. U. Católica (Sun 15:30, Monumental)
Cobreloa vs. SM Arica (Sun 16:00, Bicentenario Calvo y Bascuñan)
Huachipato vs. Cobresal (Sun 18:30, CAP)

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