It was a very happy return for Charles Aranguiz to his old stomping ground as Internacional thrashed Universidad de Chile 4-0 at the Estadio Nacional and eliminated them from the Copa Libertadores in the process.
This was the first time ‘El Principe’ had returned to his former club since swapping Santiago for Porto Alegre at the beginning of 2014.
After The Strongest’s 1-0 win over Emelec two nights earlier, los azules knew they needed two wins from their remaining two games to progress to the round of 16.
The hosts got off to the worst possible start and were behind after just 10 minutes. Goalkeeper Johnny Herrera mis-controlled a routine back pass from Osvaldo Gonzalez to allow Nilmar to steal inand poke the ball home, an error Chilean commentator Claudio Palma described as infantile and monumental.
And just three minutes later, La U found themselves two behind. Eduardo Sasha made his way frominside his own half and into the Universidad de Chile penalty area without being picked up, before Nilmar found him with a pass and the former coolly slotted the ball under Herrera to double his side’s lead.
The match and Universidad de Chile’s elimination were sealed just after the half hour mark as Nilmar got his brace and the Brazilians team’s third. It was yet more comical defending from the home side as they allowed Nilmar to carry the ball unopposed from almost his own half and into the box. The Brazilian comfortably got around Guzman Pereira’s feeble attempt at a body check to squeeze the ball into the bottom corner.
By the second half the match was over as a contest and even Herrera’s penalty save from Andres D’Alessandro in the 52nd minute paled into insignificance as a second error of the night from Chile’s number two allowed Valdivia to get Internacional’s fourth. Sasha’s long ball picked out Valdivia on the edge of the area, before he waltzed around a seemingly leaden-booted Paulo Magalhaes and saw his tame left-footed shot squeeze through Herrera’s legs.
The win sees Aranguiz and co. jump to the top of Group 4 and put themselves in a commanding position to qualify with one game to go, while it consigns Universidad de Chile to a bottom-place finish.
Earlier that night, Palestino went to La Bombonera to take on Boca Juniors and needed to equal or better Montevideo Wanderers’ result against Zamora to qualify.
Wanderers took the look after 34 minutes and sealed the win with two second half goals, which meant Palestino needed to create history and do what no Chilean team had done in the past: beat Boca Juniors in an international competition.
Los Arabes had by far the better of the game but as so often happens with Chilean teams, failed to capitalise and eventually lost 2-0. The results saw Palestino eliminated in third, agonisingly close to the round of 16.
A night previously, Colo-Colo needed just a point to secure qualification to the next round as they took on Colombian’s Club Independiente Santa Fe, but instead contrived to lose 3-0 at home. The defeat means Los Albos now need to travel to Brazil next week and take at least a point when they visit 2013 Copa Libertadores winners Atletico Mineiro.