Campeonato Petrobras 2013: Week Sixteen Preview

The competition has reached its penultimate round and five teams are still much in the running for the title but the weekend’s action is very much dominated by the clásico universitario which in itself will go a long way to determining who claims the trophy come the end of next week’s round of football. At the other end of the spectrum the match between San Marcos de Arica and Antofagasta a veritable six pointer as both teams look to maintain their Primera Division status.

Round sixteen gets underway on Friday night in the nation’s capital with Audax Italiano playing host to Everton in the Estadio Bicentenario La Florida. Audax are having a season to forget, currently sitting in fifteenth position and come into this match off consecutive defeats. Meanwhile their opponents have adapted well in their return to the top flight of Chilean football and with two rounds to go are impressively placed in seventh. These two teams last met in 2010 where the home side won both encounters but with Audax’s form of late it is hard to see that form being replicated.

Saturday’s action kicks off with a clásico as Palestino face off with top of the table Unión Española in the clásico de colonias at the Estadio Nacional. After a bit of stumble a few weeks back la furia roja have won their last two matches and are back on top of the table on goal difference. They face a Palestino side that haven’t won in their last three outings but would be keen to put one over their clásico rivals. What will give Unión some confidence is that haven’t lost to their opponents in their last eight outings, winning both of their meetings in 2012.

If Cobreloa are to maintain any hope of a ninth Primera Division title they will need to win their match away to Unión La Calera on Saturday afternoon and hope that the top two teams drop points. They have won three out of their last four outings and face an Unión La Calera, who after a run of three consecutive wins, have lost their last two matches and subsequently dropped out of the title race. Five of the last six meetings between these two sides have only seen a solitary goal scored so expect this to be another tight affair.

This was meant to be the season that Colo Colo would pick up its thirtieth title but in reality it has turned out to be one to forget with los albos currently languishing in twelfth position. Next up for them is a match up against the struggling Cobresal, who are fighting an uphill battle to stay in the Primera Division. Cobresal picked up only their second win of the season last start and will need another if they are to get out of seventeenth position on the coeficiente de rendimiento table, a position would see them playoff against a Primera B side for the right to stay in the top flight of Chilean football. Colo Colo come into the match off the back of consecutive losses with their last start loss to O’Higgins a rather insipid performance. When these two met in the 2012 Clausura, Cobresal ran out 2-1 winners and will be hoping for more of the same come Saturday evening.

Playing at the same time as the previous match is one of the more important matches of the round as Antofagasta take on San Marcos de Arica in the Bicentenario Calvo y Bascuñan. To have any hope of remaining in the Primera Division San Marcos de Arica must win their remaining two matches and hope those teams around them on the coeficiente de rendimiento table drop points. In light of that this match against Antofagasta, who are in sixteenth position on the aforementioned table, provides an excellent opportunity to do just that. However Antofagasta themselves have been in good form of late winning two of their last three matches, including a win over Universidad de Chile. These two met twice last year in the Copa Chile with San Marcos winning their last meeting and the other match ending in a draw but with matches of this ilk the result is anyone’s guess.

Saturday’s final match takes place in the Estadio Bicentenario Lucio Fariña with Santiago Wanderers playing host to Ñublense. The form of these two teams has been very poor of late with their combined points in their last three matches coming to grand total of one and that came in Ñublense’s scoreless draw against Rangers in week fourteen. Ñublense has a good record against Wanderers winning four out of their last six meetings with the two teams last meeting in 2011 with los diablos rojos winning by the solitary goal and one could see that happening once again.

Sunday’s action kicks off with the match of the round as Universidad Católica host Universidad de Chile in the Estadio San Carlos de Apoquimbo. Not only is this a clásico universitario (Chile’s second biggest clásico) but this match could go a long way to determining their chances at claiming the title. Los cruzados are second on the table only behind leaders, Unión Española, on goal difference whilst los azules are two points further back in fourth position and depending on other results anything but a win could spell the end of their title aspirations. These two teams met little over a week ago in the Copa Chile final with La U triumphing 2-1 with an injury time winner courtesy of Juan Ignacio Duma, who has scored in each of his last four outings and one can see another late goal settling this one. Despite Universidad de Chile’s recent dominance of Chilean football, Universidad Católica do have a good record against them in the league winning two of their last three meetings. Like all clásicos this one will be hard to predict but with so much riding on this one expect a cracking encounter and hopefully this time we aren’t talking about the referee following its conclusion.

Whilst somewhat overshadowed by the clásico universitario the match that follows between Iquique and O’Higgins is equally as important especially for the latter as they look to reduce the one point deficit to those leading the competition. O’Higgins are unbeaten in their last six outings and will be hoping that run continues against an Iquique side that after a poor start to the seaston are unbeaten in their last three outings but are still sitting in second last position on the table. What will be of concern to O’Higgins is that they have lost four out of their last six meetings against Iquique although their last encounter in the Estadio Tierra de Campeones resulted in a 2-1 victory. With O’Higgins having more to play for, you wouldn’t put it past them to record another win and carry their hopes of a maiden title into the final week of the competition.

The weekend draws to its conclusion in the Estadio Fiscal de Talca as Rangers take on Huachipato. After a somewhat indifferent start to the season where they struggled to combine the rigours of the Copa Libertadores and a domestic campaign Huachipato have hit some form in the latter part of the season going unbeaten in their last outings and winning their last two. Meanwhile their opponents have only picked up four points in their last five matches and are obviously looking forward to the end of season. What might give Rangers some hope is that they have won five of their last seven matches against Huachipato but recent form suggests that they may not continue come Sunday with Huachipato’s form of late.

Primera Division Torneo Transición 2013 , Round sixteen fixtures

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

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