Campeonato Petrobras 2013: Week Fifteen Preview

As we head towards the conclusion of the Torneo de Transición and with five teams still harbouring hopes of claiming the title the pressure is very much on at the top of the table. The five teams in the form of Unión Española, Universidad Católica, O’Higgins, Universidad de Chile and Cobreloa, all have very winnable matches this weekend so in all likelihood this absorbing title race will continue into the final two rounds. However as we know Chilean football is very much on the unpredictable side so how this title race will finish is anything but certain.

The weekend’s action kicks off on Friday night in the south of the country as Huachipato play host to Santiago Wanderers in the Estadio CAP. The Clausura champions will be hoping to make it two wins in a row after defeating Unión La Calera in last week’s final match whilst Santiago Wanderers come into the match off the back of consecutive losses. In recent times Huachipato have a good record against their opponents having lost only once in their last nine meetings and if recent form is any guide this trend should continue this weekend.

Last weekend Unión Española returned to both the winners’s list and to the top of the table with a win over the aforementioned Santiago Wanderers and will be looking to continue their winning ways at home as they host Antofagasta in the Estadio Santa Laura in Saturday’s opening match. Antofagasta for their part come into the match off the back of good wins over Universidad de Chile and Audax Italiano and despite their position on the coeficiente de rendimiento table should provide stiff opposition to their more fancied rivals. What will give la furia roja some confidence is that they are unbeaten in their last seven meetings against los pumas.

Saturday’s next match sees the clásico de norte grande take place as San Marcos de Arica host Iquique in the Estadio Bicentenario Carlos Dittborn. San Marcos, despite being unbeaten in their last two matches go into the match with the threat of relegation very much on their minds as they sit bottom of the coeficiente de rendimiento table, and will be desperate for three points against an Iquique side who have had a season to forget after an impressive 2012. Their most recent meetings have taken place in 2010 where they met three times and where we had the full gamut of results as both won a match each and there also being a draw. If those matches are any guide there should be plenty of goals in this one as there were fifteen goals scores in those three matches including a nine goal thriller in their lst meeting.

The penultimate match of the day takes place in the Estadio Bicentenario La Florida as Audax Italiano play host to second placed Universidad Católica. Los cruzados will be looking to bounce back from their midweek loss to arch rivals Universidad de Chile in the Copa Chile final and will have no greater incentive that keeping the pressure on Unión Española, who are only ahead of them only on goal difference. They face an Audax side that are on a run of winning one game, losing one game that has lasted the last four weeks but on the whole are having a season to forget and sit fourth from bottom on the table. Universidad Católica have won their last three encounters against los italicos and overall have an impressive record against their rivals and one can see it continuing this weekend.

Everton and Rangers bring the day’s action to its conclusion in the Estadio Bicentenario Lucio Fariña. Everton’s form of late has been rather poor of late having lost four of their last five matches whilst the form of their opponents has been rather mixed. Everton has a good recent record over Rangers, going unbeaten in their last six meetings but these two teams haven’t met since 2011 when both teams were in the Primera B.

The last week has been a good one for Universidad de Chile having defeated both Colo Colo and Universidad Católica with last minute winners with the latter result resulting in their fourth Copa Chile title. In Sunday’s opening match they travel to Chillián to take on seventh placed Ñublense at the Estadio Bicentenario Nelson Oyarzún. Los diablos rojos have had an impressive return to the top flight of Chilean football but face a difficult task in the form of La U, who despite being in fourth position are only two points behind the top two. Also working against Ñublense is their poor record against their opponents having lost their last seven meetings against the Santiago giants, so one would expect another win for a La U side that is gathering some momentum under Dario Franco.

The day’s next two matches in the north of the country as Cobresal host Unión La Calera and Cobreloa look to maintain their title hopes against Palestino. La Calera’s slim hopes of their first ever Primera Division title all but dissipated last weekend after a somewhat shock loss to Huachipato in the weekend’s final match. They will be looking to return to winning ways against a Cobresal side, who are sitting in the bottom three of the coeficiente de rendimiento table and have only won one match all season and have the competition’s worst defensive record. The two meetings between these two sides last year saw La Calera win the corresponding match in the Estadio El Cobre whilst their Clausura encounter finished with the honours being shared and with recent form being any indication one would assume the visitors will take the points once again.

To maintain any hope of securing their ninth Primera Division title Cobreloa will need all three points against a struggling Palestino side when they meet in the Estadio Bicentenario Calvo y Bascuñan. Cobreloa are currently four points behind the league leaders and are unbeaten in their last four matches whilst Palestino have had rather mixed fortunes of late. Despite winning their last meeting in the 2012 Clausura season, Palestino has a poor record against the team from Calama having won only three times in their last twenty meetings and with the hope of another title still beckoning one would expect that trend to continue this weekend.

The weekend’s final match sees Colo Colo return to the Estadio Monumental after their superclásico defeat and the task doesn’t get any easier as they face O’Higgins. The team from Rancagua dropped from top position after a draw with Cobreloa last weekend but remain unbeaten in their last five matches and are only a point behind the top two. They face a Colo Colo who not only have to bounce back from a last minute loss but who will also be missing their leading scorer Carlos Muñoz and captain Luis Mena, who both picked up red cards in the superclásico so should be confident of maintaining that unbeaten run. The two teams met four times last year and it was los albos who had the better of their southern rivals winning two of those encounters but with more at stake for O’Higgins this time around los celestes should maintain their push for the title.

Primera Division Torneo Transición 2013 , Round fifteen fixtures

Huachipato vs. S. Wanderers (Fri 20:00, CAP)
U. Española vs. Antofagasta (Sat 12:30, Santa Laura)
SM Arica vs. Iquique (Sat 15:00, Bicentenario Carlos Dittborn)
A. Italiano vs. U. Católica (Sat 17:00, Bicentenario La Florida)
Everton vs. Rangers (Sat 19:30, Bicentenario Lucio Fariña)
Ñublense vs. U. de Chile (Sun 15:30, Bicentenario Nelson Oyarzún)
Cobresal vs. U. La Calera (Sun 16:00, El Cobre)
Cobreloa vs. Palestino (Sun 16:00, Bicentenario Calvo y Bascuñan)
Colo Colo vs. O’Higgins (Sun 18:00, Monumental)

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