Campeonato Apertura 2013: Week Seventeen Review

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The final weekend of the Apertura season saw plenty of drama, most notably on Saturday afternoon as both Universidad Católica and O’Higgins both won their respective matches, albeit in completely different manners thus meaning the two will face off in a playoff midweek to see who will be crowned champion. Meanwhile Sunday’s action saw Universidad de Chile, Iquique and Palestino secure the chance of featuring in continental action next year although none of them were convincing in their performances.

The weekend’s action kicked off on Friday night with Huachipato ending a disastrous season on a bright note with a 3-2 victory over Everton in the Estadio Bicentenario Lucio Fariña. Getting on the scoresheet for Huachipato were Gabriel Sandoval (11′), David Llanos (48′) and Martin Rodriguez (65′) whilst Everton were the beneficiaries of a Nery Veloso own goal in the 56th minute before Emiliano Romero got their second goal of the afternoon seventeen minutes later. The win wasn’t enough to drag the 2012 Clausura champions off the bottom of the table whilst their opponents finished three places and three points ahead of them in fifteenth position.

On Saturday we had the somewhat rare occasion of only two matches taking place as the ANFP scheduled the two matches involving Universidad Católica and O’Higgins, who were equal on points at the top of the table going into the round, at the same time. Both teams were on the road with O’Higgins travelling to Talca to take on Rangers whilst Universidad Católica visited Unión La Calera in the Estadio Bicentenario Lucio Fariña. What transpired was a dramatic afternoon of action where nine goals were scored across the two games.

The goals started to flow in Talca with Mauricio Gomez putting Rangers ahead in the fifteenth minute but the lead was short lived as Julio Barroso equalised three minutes later. By half time O’Higgins were leading 2-1 courtesy of a Pablo Calandria goal in the 42nd minute. Meanwhile in Quillota try as they might Universidad Católica were unable to break down a resolute Unión La Calera defence and the scores were tied at zero apiece at the half time break.

Ten minutes after the break Rangers, who were looking to spoil the O’Higgins party, were back on level terms as Rodolfo González equalised before Esteban Cicaccheri put them ahead twelve minutes later. This was a disastrous minute for O’Higgins as over in Quillota, Universidad Católica took the lead courtesy of a great solo goal by substitute José Luis Muñoz, who had come on as a substitute only eleven minutes earlier meaning that los celestes had gone from potential champions to runners up in the space of sixty seconds. Muñoz was one of three key substitutes by los cruzados manager Martin Lasarte as took off key players Milovan Mirosevic, Nicolas Castillo and Fernando Meneses all in the space of five minutes in the lead up to the goal.

But the drama didn’t end there as O’Higgins weren’t going give up the chance of their first ever title without a fight and they were back on level terms in the 78th minute courtesy of Osman Huerta. Two minutes later Rangers were reduced to ten men as Sebastian Luna picked up his second yellow card of the afternoon. Nine minutes later they were down to nine men as goalkeeper Nicolas Peric gave away a penalty, picking up his second yellow as well in the process. Pablo Calandria then duly stepped up to the penalty spot to give O’Higgins a dramatic winner and give his side hope of a first ever Primera Division title. Meanwhile Universidad Católica had avoided much of the drama that had beset O’Higgins and Ismael Sosa secured the win with a second goal in the 91st minute.

With the two teams finishing the season on equal points they will now have to face off in a one-off playoff to determine who will be crowned Apertura champion. The match will take place on Tuesday night Chilean time.

Sunday saw six matches place with five taking place at the same time as if involved five teams vying for the three spots available for the end of season liguilla that will determine who secures Chile’s third spot in next year’s Copa Libertadores and Chile’s fourth spot in next year’s Copa Sudamericana.

The first match which had no bearing on the end of season liguilla and thus had the earlier kickoff was between Santiago Wanderers and Antofagasta in the Estadio Bicentenario Lucio Fariña, which was seeing its third match of the weekend. The match ended with the honours shared at a goal apiece with both goals coming in the second half. Marco Sebastian Pol opened the scoring for Santiago Wanderers in the 53rd minute before Luis Cabrera equalised thirteen minutes before full time for Antofagasta.

The first of the five matches kicking off simultaneously was the match between Colo Colo and Ñublense and surprisingly it was the latter who was vying for a playoff spot after the former’s somewhat disastrous season. Los rojos diablos needed a win to have any chance but found themselves behind after only two minutes after Emiliano Vecchio gave Colo Colo the lead from the penalty spot before Felipe Flores made it two thirteen minutes later. These proved to be the only goals of the game and thus ended Ñublense’s playoff hopes.

Universidad de Chile had all but secured their spot in the liguilla before their encounter with Cobreloa in the Estadio Bicentenario Calvo y Bascuñán but their position wasn’t finalised. In the end the match finished in a two-all draw with all of the game’s four goals coming in the second half. Cristian Gaitan opened the scoring for Cobreloa in the 61st minute before Igor Lichnovsky scored two goals in the 68th and 72nd minutes respectively to put La U ahead. Ignacio Herrera then grabbed a late for the northerners in the 85th minute meaning Universidad de Chile finished the season in fourth position.

La U found themselves in fourth position after Palestino, who were ahead of them going into the final round, lost 2-1 to Audax Italiano in the clásico de colonias held in the Estadio La Cisterna but still qualified for some end of season action. Audax Italiano, who have had a season to forget, triumphed in the clásico courtesy of goals to Marco Medel and Nelson Saavedra in the 61st and 82nd minutes after Roberto Gutierrez had given Palestino the lead in the 49th minute.

Meanwhile Iquique also secured their spot in the playoffs with a 1-all draw with Universidad de Concepción in the Estadio Municipal de Yumbel with both teams finishing the match with nine men. Diego Ruiz opened the scoring for the home side in the 30th minute before Manuel Villalobos equalised in the 70th minute. Whilst Iquique may have qualified for some end of season action but will be without the services of Leandro Delgado and Jonathan Rebolledo who both picked up red cards.

Like Ñublense, Cobresal needed to defeat Unión Española to have any chance of seeing any liguilla action. However it wasn’t to be for the northerners after Unión Española, who have already qualified for next year’s Copa Libertadores following their championship last season, finished the season off in style with 4-1 victory. La furia roja’s goals came courtesy of Diego Scotti, Sebastian Jaime, Lorenzo Faravelli and Franscisco Castro whilst Mariano Torres, who also missed a penalty, scored Cobresal’s only goal of the game.

Primera Division Torneo Apertura 2013 , Round seventeen fixtures

Everton 2-3 Huachipato (G. Sandoval (HU) 11′, D. Llanos (HU) 48′, N. Veloso (HU) (og) 56′, M. Rodríguez (HU) 65′, E. Romero (EVE) 73′)
Rangers 3-4 O’Higgins (M. Gómez (RAN) 15′, J. Barroso (OHI) 18′, P. Calandria (OHI) 42′ & 90′, R. González (RAN) 55′, E. Ciaccheri (RAN) 67′, O. Huerta (OHI) 78′)
U. La Calera 0-2 U. Católica (J.L. Muñoz (OHI) 67′, I. Sosa (UC) 90 +1′)
S. Wanderers 1-1 Antofagasta (M.S. Pol (SW) 53′, L. Cabrera (ANT) 77′)
Colo Colo 2-0 Ñublense (E. Vecchio (CC) 2′, F. Flores (CC) 15′)
Cobreloa 2-2 U. de Chile (C. Gaitán (CBA) 61′, I. Lichnovsky 68′ & 72′, I. Herrera (CBA) 85′)
Palestino 1-2 A. Italiano (R. Gutiérrez (PAL) 49′, M. Medel (AI) 61′, N. Saavedra (AI) 82′)
U. Concepción 1-1 Iquique (D. Ruiz (UDC) 30′, M. Villalobos (IQQ) 70′)
U. Española 4-1 Cobresal (D. Scotti (UE) 19′, M. Torres (CBS) 56′, S. Jaime (UE) 66′, L. Faravelli (UE) 71′, F. Castro (UE) 76′)

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