Whilst there are nine matches taking place in the final week of this season there are only two that really count and they are the last two as Unión Española and Universidad Católica both look to claim this season’s crown in matches against Colo Colo and San Marcos de Arica respectively.
The weekend’s action kicks off in the Estadio Nacional on Friday night with Universidad de Chile taking on Rangers de Talca. After suffering a humiliating 3-0 loss to fierce rivals Universidad Católica last weekend and being knocked out of the title race in the process los azules will be looking to finish the season on a high. Their manager Dario Franco is coming under increasing pressure and will be hoping for a good performance against a Rangers side who in their last outing put five goals past Huachipato. These two teams met twice last year with Luciano Civelli grabbing a stoppage time equaliser for La U in a two-all draw whilst their Apertura meeting resulted in a 2-0 victory to Universidad de Chile.
Saturday’s opening match takes place in the Bicentenario Nelson Oyarzún as Ñublense play host to Audax Italiano. Both teams have poor form coming into this encounter with Audax Italiano having lost their last their last three matches whilst Ñublense, who initially made an impressive return to the Primera Division have only picked up a solitary point in their last four matches. Audax has won two out of the last four meetings between the two teams with Ñublense’s only triumph coming in an eleven goal thriller in the 2010 Apertura season.
Three matches kick off at four o’clock with two of those matches featuring two teams whose title aspirations came to an end last weekend. O’Higgins will look to bounce back from their disappointing loss to Iquique last weekend which ended their hopes of a first ever Primera Division title when they face Unión La Calera in the Estadio Monumental. The loss ended a six match unbeaten run for the team from Rancagua and they face an Unión La Calera, who after briefly having title aspirations of their own, have lost their last three matches. Both teams will be looking to end the season on a high and with La Calera only picking up only one win in their last six meetings with their opponents so if history is any guide it should be another win for O’Higgins.
Despite picking up a win last weekend Cobreloa were also knocked out of the title race and they conclude their Torneo de Transición duties with a match against Santiago Wanderers. Cobreloa come into their final match of the season off the back of a six match unbeaten which includes four wins. Meanwhile Santiago Wanderers ended a run of three consecutive losses with a 3-1 victory over Ñublense in their last outing. These two teams shared the spoils with a win apiece in their two meetings with ten goals scored so whatever the outcome is come Saturday afternoon there is sure to be a few goals scored.
The final match to kick off at four o’clock sees Cobresal play host to Antofagasta in the Estadio El Cobre. Results last weekend meant that Cobresal already know that they will face off against the loser of the Primera B Promotion playoff to see of they can maintain their Primera Division status. Therefore you would expect them to rest a number of key players against an Antofagasta side that secured their place in the top flight of Chilean football with a win over San Marcos de Arica. The honours were shared when these two teams met in 2012 with a win apiece but with Cobresal having one on their upcoming playoff one would expect Antofagasta to finish the season with consecutive wins.
Saturday’s penultimate match sees Huachipato play host to Palestino in the Estadio CAP. Both teams have had seasons to forget after impressive Clausura campaigns although Huachipato have finished the season stronger than they started most notably after their Copa Libertadores came to an end. However they will be smarting after conceding five goals against Rangers in their last outing whilst Palestino have gone four matches without a win and for them the end of the season can’t come soon enough. Encounters between these two teams tend to be tight affairs with three out of their last five matches ending in draws but with Huachipato having much better form of late that shouldn’t be the case this time around.
Saturday’s action comes to an end in the Estadio Bicentenario Lucio Fariña as Everton take on Iquique. Everton has had an impressive return to the Primera Division and currently sit in sixth position with one round remaining and come into this match having won three out of last four matches with their only loss in those four matches coming against Universidad Católica. Whilst they may be sitting in sixteenth position on the table Iquique’s form of late hasn’t been too bad of late going unbeaten in their last four matches including a last start win over O’Higgins which brought that team’s title aspirations to an end. In terms of recent history there isn’t much to draw on between these two teams as they haven’t played each other since 2009.
After sixteen rounds of the season it comes to the last two games of the seventeenth round on Sunday afternoon to determine who will be crowned champion. Both Unión Española and Universidad Católica are on 35 points with the former ahead of their titles on goal difference only. Both teams kick off at the same time on Sunday afternoon with Unión Española facing off against Colo Colo in the Estadio Santa Laura whilst Universidad Católica travel to the far north of the country to take on the already relegated San Marcos de Arica.
After stumbling with losses to Unión La Calera and O’Higgins, Unión Española have returned to form of late by winning their last three matches and they face a Colo Colo side who have only won one of their last five matches at that came in their last match against Cobresal. These two teams met four times last year with Unión Española winning three of those encounters and la furia roja will be hoping that that form continues into this all important match. Goal difference is also going to be a factor at the end of Sunday and Unión Española do have a three goal buffer but with their rivals taking on the lowly San Marcos de Arica a win by a few goals wouldn’t go astray.
In the latter half of the season Universidad Católica have been one of the form teams of the competition and come into the final match of the season on the back of an unbeaten run of six matches, with five of those being wins. Last start they saw off fierce rivals Universidad de Chile with a comprehensive display that saw them run out 3-0 winners. They face a San Marcos side whose brief stay in the Primera Division was unofficially brought to an end last weekend but will be looking to go out on a high.
Los cruzados manager Martin Lasarte has selected an attacking squad for this match as his team looks to overcome Unión Española’s goal difference advantage. There is no recent history between these two teams as they last met way back in 1985 but with the league’s second best attack playing the league’s second worst defence a los cruzados win is definitely on the cards, but by just how much is anyone’s guess.
Primera Division Torneo Transición 2013 , Round seventeen fixtures
U. de Chile vs. Rangers (Fri 20:00, Nacional)
Ñublense vs. A. Italiano (Sat 12:30, Bicentenario Nelson Oyarzún)
O’Higgins vs. U. La Calera (Sat 16:00, Monumental)
Cobreloa vs. S. Wanderers (Sat 16:00, Bicentenario Calvo y Bascuñan)
Cobresal vs. Antofagasta (Sat 16:00, El Cobre)
Huachipato vs. Palestino (Sat 18:15, CAP)
Everton vs. Iquique (Sat 20:30, Bicentenario Lucio Fariña)
U. Española vs. Colo Colo (Sun 15:30, Santa Laura)
SM Arica vs. U. Católica (Sun 15:30, Bicentenario Carlos Dittborn)