Week fifteen saw the top five teams all win ensuring that the race for the title remains a closely fought affair with only two rounds remaining with Unión Española top of the table, ahead of Universidad Católica on goal difference with O’Higgins a further point back.
In the weekend’s opening match Huachipato continued their recent dominance of Santiago Wanderers with a 3-1 victory in the Estadio CAP on Friday night. All of the game’s four goals came in the second half with José Contreras opening the scoring in the 58th minute before Ariel Cólzera equalised for the visitors ten minutes later. Goals to Braian Rodríguez and Nicolás Núñez in the 73rd and 74th minutes ensured that Huachipato would secure all three points and move into tenth position on the table. For their part Santiago Wanderers dropped to eighth.
A Gustavo Canales hat-trick saw Unión Española defeat Antofagasta 3-1 in Saturday’s opening match in the Estadio Santa Laura. Canales’ first came in the 28th minute before Erick Pulgar levelled things up for Antofagasta in 50th minute. Canales then completed his hat-trick with goals in the 67th and 77th minutes, with the latter being from the penalty spot. La furia roja’s extended their unbeaten run against Antofagasta to eight matches and ensured that they would remain at the top of the table. For Antofagasta their continued existence in the Primera Division is still on a knife edge being only marginally ahead of Cobresal, who currently sit in the playoff spot, on the coeficiente de rendimiento table.
Saturday’s next match saw the first time in twenty-eight years that the clásico de norte grande had taken place in the Primera Division as San Marcos de Arica hosted Iquique in the Estadio Bicentenario Carlos Dittborn. A late Manuel Villalobos goal saw Iquique snatch a draw against a San Marcos side who went into their shell after opening the scoring shortly after the break courtesy of Renato Ramos. San Marcos still remain ahead of their clásico rivals on the regular season table but still remain last on the coeficiente de rendimiento table and will need to win their last two remaining matches to have any chance of not being automatically relegated from the Primera Division.
In the penultimate match of the day Universidad Católica maintained the pressure on Unión Española as they came from a goal down to defeat Audax Italiano 2-1 in the Estadio Bicentenario La Florida. Sebastián Sáez scored his thirteenth goal of the season to open the scoring for the home side in the 35th minute before second half goals to Milovan Mirosevic and Carlos Villaneuva grabbed all three points for los cruzados. Universidad Católica remain in second behind the league leaders on goal difference whilst Audax Italiano are in fifteenth position.
Everton returned to the winners’ list in Saturday’s final match overcoming conceding an early goal to defeat Rangers 2-1 in the Estadio Lucio Fariña. Carlos Garrido opened the scoring for Rangers in the first minute before José Luis Muñoz equalised from the penalty spot in the 26th minute. A 79th minute goal to Francisco Bahamondes proved to be the difference between the two teams and sees Everton move to seventh on the table. Meanwhile Rangers remain in twelfth position on eighteen points.
Universidad de Chile followed on from their midweek winning of the Copa Chile with a 3-1 win away to Ñublense to keep in touch with the league leaders. Benjamin Ruíz caught the La U defence napping in the ninth minute to open the scoring before Isaac Díaz levelled things up in the 23rd minute. Charles Aránguiz scored for the second successive week with a 28th minute free kick ensured that los azules would go into the break with a goal advantage. Shortly after the break Juan Ignacio Duma gave the visitors a two goal buffer as the nineteen year old Argentinean scored in his fourth consecutive match and would surely be attracting attention outside of Chile. Universidad de Chile’s win sees them remain in fourth position, still two points behind Unión Española whilst Ñublense are unmoved in ninth.
Cobresal kept their dreams of staying in the Primera Division alive in Sunday’s next fixture as they pulled off a somewhat surprising 2-1 victory over Unión La Calera. Álvaro Navarro opened the scoring in the 51st minute for Cobresal before a Leandro Benegas header saw Unión La Calera draw level. Ten minutes before full time Ever Cantero grabbed what could be an all important winner for Cobresal consigning Unión La Calera to their second consecutive defeat. Cobresal remain in second last position on the coeficiente de rendimiento table and face the possibility of an end of season playoff to remain in the top flight of Chilean football. Despite the loss Unión La Calera remain in sixth position but are now five points behind fifth placed Cobreloa.
The aforementioned Cobreloa remained in the hunt for their ninth Primera Division title after they defeated Palestino 1-0 in the Estadio Bicentenario Calvo y Bascuñan. A 52nd minute goal to Cristian Suárez proved to be the difference between the two teams and ensure that they remain four points behind the leaders in fifth position. Palestino for their part have had a season to forget and currently sit in thirteenth position with two rounds remaining in the season.
The round came to its conclusion in the Estadio Monumental with Colo Colo losing their second successive match as they went down 2-1 to O’Higgins. Los celestes got off to flying start and were two goals to the good after eighteen minutes courtesy of goals to Gonzalo Barriga and Juan Rodrigo Rojas. That advantage remained to the dying moments of the encounter which O’Higgins dominated, when Esteban Pavez grabbed a consolation goal in the 88th minute only minutes after hitting the crossbar with a long range effort. With all the other title contenders winning as well O’Higgins remain in third position, a point behind the leaders, and still have a hope of their first ever Primera Division title. Colo Colo drop to the bottom half of the table and has some begin to label it their worst season ever.
Primera Division Torneo Transición 2013 , Round fifteen fixtures
Huachipato 3-1 S. Wanderers (J. Contreras (HUA) 58′, A. Cólzera (SW) 68′, B. Rodríguez (HUA) 73′, N. Núñez (HUA) 74′)
U. Española 3-1 Antofagasta (G. Canales (UE) 28′, 67′ & 77′, E. Pulgar (ANT) 50′)
SM Arica 1-1 Iquique (R. Ramos (SMA) 46′, M. Villalobos (IQQ) 87′)
A. Italiano 1-2 U. Católica (S. Sáez (AI) 35′, M. Mirosevic (UC) 50′, C. Villanueva (UC) 64′)
Everton 2-1 Rangers (C. Garrido (RAN) 1′, J.L. Muñoz (EVE) 26′, F. Bahamondes (EVE) 79′)
Ñublense 1-3 U. de Chile (B. Ruíz (NUB) 9′, I. Díaz (UDC) 23′, C. Aránguiz (UDC) 28′, J.I. Duma (UDC) 48′)
Cobresal 2-1 U. La Calera (Á. Navarro (CBS) 51′, L. Benegas (ULC) 59′, E. Cantero (CBS) 79′)
Cobreloa 1-0 Palestino (C. Suárez (CBA) 52′)
Colo Colo 2-1 O’Higgins (G. Barriga (OHI) 11′, J.R. Rojas (OHI) 18′, E. Pavez (CC) 88′)
Photo taken from elgrafico.cl