Campeonato Petrobras 2013: Week Fourteen Preview

This season is one of the closest in recent memory with the top six being covered by four points with four rounds remaining so every match this weekend is some importance. However the weekend is well and truly dominated by one match and one match only, Sunday’s superclásico between Universidad de Chile and Colo Colo.

For the second weekend in a row O’Higgins kick off the action with one of the matches of the round as they host fifth placed Cobreloa in the Estadio Bicentenario La Granja in Friday’s only match. After seeing off Unión Española last week which saw them move to the top of the table, O’Higgins will be looking to maintain that position against a Cobreloa side are only three points behind them on the table. Naturally considering their relative positions on the table they come into this encounter off the back of some good form with O’Higgins unbeaten in their last four whilst Cobreloa are unbeaten in their last three. Including their earlier meeting in the Copa Chile this year, O’Higgins have only lost once to Cobreloa in their last eight meetings with that win coming in the aforementioned Copa Chile tournament. Both teams have good scoring records as well as good defensive records so expect an extremely tight affair to kick off week fourteen.

Saturday is a monster of a day of football in Chile with six matches taking place over ten hours or so. Kicking off the day’s feast of football are Palestino and and San Marcos de Arica, who meet in the Estadio La Cisterna. After a run of recent good form, Palestino suffered a somewhat shock loss to Audax Italiano in the clásico de colonias and will be looking to get back to winning ways against a San Marcos de Arica side who come into the match off their first win since week two. The team from Arica will need maintain that winning formula if they are to stand any chance of staying in the Primera Division. These two teams last met in 2009 in a promotion/relegation playoff with Palestino maintaining their top flight status in a penalty shootout after the tie was tied at 2-all. Even taking into consideration that that match took place almost four years ago this should be another tight encounter with very few goals.

After three weeks without a win and having surrendered a five point lead at the top of the table, Unión Española will be hoping they can return to the type of form that saw them win four matches in a row earlier in the season when they travel to the Estadio Lucio Fariña to take on Santiago Wanderers. They face a Wanderers side whose run of three wins in a row came to an end in 3-0 loss to their arch rivals Everton in the clásico porteño last weekend. What will be of concern to la furia roja manager, José Luis Sierra, is that his team seem to have lost their goal scoring ways having only scored once in their last four and a half hours of football. What will give him some solace is that his charges haven’t lost to their opponents since 2007, although many of those meetings have finished with the honours even, something which Unión Española will be hoping to avoid this time around.

Next up we see a battle involving two teams at the bottom of the table as Iquique host Cobresal in the Estadio Tierra de Campeones in a northern clásico of sorts. Although both teams sit towards the bottom of  the regular season table, the fact that Cobresal sit second last on the coeficiente de rendimiento table is of more importance as they face the very real threat of relegation come the end of the season. Iquique ended their three match losing streak last weekend with an impressive draw with Universidad Católica whilst Cobresal suffered yet another loss to Cobreloa in the clásico del cobre. Iquique have not lost to their rivals in their last six meetings, winning their two meetings last year 3-2 and 4-0 respectively, and will be hoping that that record is a pointer to a return to the winners’ list.

One of the teams at the log jam at the top of the table is Universidad Católica, who sit one point behind league leaders O’Higgins in third place, and they host Everton in the Estadio San Carlos de Apoquimbo. Los cruzados would have been left ruing an opportunity lost last week to go top themselves after they drew against lowly Iquique and they face an Everton, who managed to break their recent duck against clásico porteño rivals Santiago Wanderers with an impressive 3-0 victory. Universidad Católica have not lost to Everton since the 2008 Apertura season, with their last meeting meeting being a 5-0 win back in the 2010 Clausura, the season where Everton were relegated. Los cruzados will be hoping for more of the same come Saturday.

Saturday’s penultimate match takes place in the Estadio Bicentenario Calvo y Bascuñan as Antofagasta play host to Audax Italiano. Both teams come into the match off wins, with Antofagasta pulling an impressive 4-2 victory over Universidad de Chile whilst Audax Italiano defeated Palestino in the clásico de colonias by the solitary goal. Antofagasta currently sit in third last position in the coeficiente de rendimiento table and will be hoping to pick up three more points to improve their position against an Audax Italiano side, who are sitting in the bottom half of the table. Antofagasta will need to be wary of Audax’s Argentinean striker Sebastián Sáez, who will be looking score in his sixth consecutive match. Both teams picked up a win apiece when they met last year with both of them winning 2-1 away from home, so based on those results expect another tight encounter.

The final match of a mammoth Saturday sees Ñublense travel to Talca to take on Rangers in the Estadio Fiscal de Talca. Unfortunately for both teams week thirteen was unlucky for them as they both suffered losses with Ñublense having two penalties saved in their 2-0 defeat at the hands of Unión La Calera whilst Rangers lost by a single goal to the struggling San Marcos de Arica. There isn’t much recent form to draw on when looking at these two teams as they last met in the Primera Division in 2009 but with Ñublense going on a win-loss-win-loss run and showing some decent form of late they should go in as slight favourites in this one.

Sunday’s action kicks off with the match that everyone is talking about as Chile’s two biggest teams, Universidad de Chile and Colo Colo, face off in the superclásico in the Estadio Nacional. Universidad de Chile come into this match off the back of a shock 4-2 loss to Antofagasta whilst Colo Colo gave up a two goal lead to draw with Huachipato. During the week los azules fans have been reminding their rivals of the 5-0 thrashing that took place in the corresponding match last year and will be keen on getting the three points once again to maintain their chances of another title and more importantly to maintain bragging rights over their arch rivals. In the last four meetings the home side in this fixture has won and kept their opponent scoreless but due to it being a superclásico looking at history as a guide is somewhat frort with danger, so all we can say is to expect goals and a red card or two.

The weekend’s final match sees one of the surprise packets of the season, Unión La Calera play host to Huachipato in the Estadio Nicolás Chahuán. Unión La Calera currently sit in sixth position but are still in the hunt for their first Primera Division title as they only sit four points behind O’Higgins. They are also in excellent form having won their last three matches and should be able to make it four against a Huachipato side that hasn’t won since week nine. When they met last year both teams picked up away from home but with La Calera keeping the dream alive they should prevail again.

 Primera Division Torneo Transición 2013 , Round fourteen fixtures

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

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