After a weekend off for the international break action returned to the Chilean Primera Division and the title race hotted up once again with two rounds remaining after Universidad Católica slumped to a shock defeat at the hands of Antofagasta which allowed O’Higgins once again to draw level on points after they came from behind to defeat Unión La Calera.
In the weekend’s opening fixture in the Estadio Municipal de Yumbel on Friday night, Unión Española continued their recent resurgence and stretched their unbeaten run to six matches with a 1-0 victory over Universidad de Concepción. The only goal of the game came in the 53rd minute courtesy of Dagoberto Currimilla who got on the end of a Matías Abelairas cross. The win saw los hispanos move to fourth on the table whilst their opponents finished the round in twelfth position.
Friday night also saw action in the Bicentenario Fiscal de Talca with Rangers sharing the spoils with Iquique in a scoreless draw with both teams feeling the absence of a number of key players.
Saturday’s action kicked off with a bang and a glut of goals in the Estadio La Cisterna as Ñublense defeated Palestino 6-3. The hero of the afternoon was Luciano Vásquez who scored four of Ñublense’s six goals in the space of twenty minutes from the 26th to the 46th minutes and in the process became the first player from his club to achieve such a feat in the Primera Division. Also getting on the scoresheet for los rojos diablos were Emanuel Croce and Arial Bogado whilst Roberto Gutíerrez, César Valenzuela and Felipe Campos got on the scoresheet for the home side.
Antofagasta caused the upset of the round in Saturday’s next match as they defeated Universidad Católica 2-0 in the Estadio Calvo y Bascuñan in the process reigniting the title race. Doing the damage for the los pumas were former Católica player Kevin Harbottle and Javier Elizondo who found the back of the net in the 47th and 71st minutes respectively. Both teams finished with ten men as firstly Francisco Sepúlveda picked up his second yellow card in the 85th minute whilst Tomás Costa was given a straight red two minutes later.
In Saturday’s final match, O’Higgins took advantage of Universidad Católica’s earlier loss with a 2-1 victory over over Unión La Calera in the Estadio Nicolás Chahuán to draw level with them on points at the top of the table. For a large part of the game it looked like los celestes would pass up on the opportunity after Leando Benegas had opened the scoring for La Calera in the seventeenth minute. It took until the 70th minute for O’Higgins to draw level courtesy of Pablo Calandria before Pablo Hernandez scored the winner in the 86th minute.
Sunday saw three games kick off at 4pm with Santiago Wanderers hosting Colo Colo whilst Cobresal and Cobreloa hosted Audax Italiano and Everton respectively. The match held between Wanderers and Colo Colo in the Estadio Bicentenario Lucio Fariña became the second scoreless draw of the weekend although the home side’s Mauricio Vianna was the busier of the two goalkeepers.
Meanwhile in the Estadio El Cobre, two goals in the dying moments allowed Cobresal to pick up their seventh win of the season with a 3-1 victory over Audax Italiano. Hans Salinas opened the scoring for the home side in the twelfth minute before Marco Medel equalised for Audax shortly after the half time break. Goals to Michael Contreras and Alvaro Navarro in the 86th and 93rd minutes respectively ensured that Cobresal would finish the round in seventh position, a stark contrast to their performance of recent seasons.
Cobreloa’s recent run of poor form continued in the Estadio La Madriguera as they slumped to their sixth loss in seven matches with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Everton. All the game’s goals came in the second half with Luis Vila opening the scoring for Everton in the 55th minute before his effort was cancelled by Ivan Ledezma in the 67th minute. Angel Rojas then secured all three points for los viñamarinos in the 84th minute from the penalty spot.
In the weekend’s last match Universidad de Chile continued Huachipato’s dismal season with 1-0 victory in the Estadio Nacional. The win which was La U’s eighth consecutive win over their rivals came courtesy of a solitary Ruben Farfan goal in the thirteenth minute.
Primera Division Torneo Apertura 2013 , Round fifteen fixtures
U. Concepción 0-1 U. Española (D. Currimilla (UE) 53′)
Rangers 0-0 Iquique
Palestino 3-6 Ñublense (R. Gutiérrez (PAL) 8′, L. Vásquez (NUB) 26′, 34, 45’+1 & 46′, F. Campos (PAL) 39′, N. Croce (NUB) 52, C. Valenzuela (PAL) 90’+1, A. Bogado (NUB) 90’+2)
Antofagasta 2-0 U. Católica (K. Harbottle (ANT) 47′, J. Elizondo (ANT) 71′)
U. La Calera 1-2 O’Higgins (L. Benegas (ULC) 17′, P. Calandria (OHI) 70′, P. Hernández (OHI) 86′)
S. Wanderers 0-0 Colo Colo
Cobresal 3-1 A. Italiano (H. Salinas (CBS) 12′, M. Medel (AI) 48′, M. Contreras (CBS) 86′, Á. Navarro (CBS) 90’+3)
Cobreloa 1-2 Everton (L. Vila (EVE) 55′, I. Ledezma (CBA) 67′, Á. Rojas (EVE) 84′)
U. de Chile 1-0 Huachipato (R. Farfán (UDC) 13′)