La U began the game well enough. Playmaker Gustavo Lorenzetti picked out an unmarked Matías Rodríguez with a beautiful cross-field ball, and the in-form wingback fired home a left-footed effort to open the scoring 18 minutes in.
Española striker Sebastián Jaime leveled the score when he headed home a corner 24 minutes in, though he would score the goal of the game ten minutes later. A brilliantly fluid move that started with a keeper’s throw saw Española bring the ball up field with a series of six clean and rapid passes. The final ball was a curling cross to Jaime in La U’s box, and the Española forward controlled with his chest before belting in a wonder volley.
A rare headed goal from La U’s Lorenzetti restored parity just before the break, and all indicators pointed toward Universidad de Chile continuing its unbeaten run in the Clausura. Perhaps it was complacency that lead to the beating the Apertura champions would receive in the second half.
Española forward Patricio Rubio capped off a team breakaway with a strike 52 minutes in, though the goal was as much due to his fine finish as it was to some embarrassing La U defending. The back line was all over the place as Española’s frontmen bore down on goal, and Sampaoli fumed on the touchline at such amateurish disorganization.
Emilio Hernández, Mauro Díaz, and Emiliano Vecchio were the architects of the fourth goal. The Española midfielders came up with some classy passing and close control in front of La U’s box, and Vecchio finished off the final through ball with a deft chip over keeper Johnny Herrera.
Vecchio would contribute further in the 82nd minute. La U, in search of goals, played a dangerously high line, and Vecchio capitalized on this, booting a long ball downfield to release Hernández who finished coolly to end the rout.
Española is now sixth in the Clausura rankings, with La U one spot above them having played two games less.
Colo Colo 3-1 Cobreloa
Colo Colo ended a winless six-game run with a home victory over Cobreloa on Saturday. New coach Omar Labruna’s technical acumen is finally being expressed through the men on the field, as a team that has at times looked directionless this season played with assertive efficiency.
The last time Colo Colo won during a losing game week for Universidad de Chile was way back in May. Labruna will hope for this trend to continue as he strives to close the gulf between Chilean soccer’s biggest rivals.
“This is what we want, an offensive Colo Colo,” Labruna said after the match. “The win will do, but I also liked the way we played. Except for the first ten minutes of the game where we lost the ball, we were strong. We owed a victory to the fans and to ourselves to gain confidence.”
Perhaps Colo Colo lacked intensity in the first ten minutes of the match because the team went ahead so early. Fans had barely taken their seats when midfielder Gonzalo Fierro curled a freekick over the wall and into the top right corner.
Colo Colo ill-advisedly sat back, and needed both keeper Francisco Prieto and the crossbar to maintain advantage, as Cobreloa midfielder Leandro Gracián and defender Sebastián Roco both threatened.
Such close calls acted as a shot in the arm for the home side, and the lead was doubled on 29 minutes. Midfielder Matías Vidangossy, one of the best performers on the day, used a deft change of pace to lose his marker in the box before turning a delicate chip over Cobreloa keeper Sebastián Contreras.
Cobreloa pulled one back five minutes later when striker Cristián Canío headed in a pacey freekick delivery, though the margin was widened again just after the half.
Vidangossy added an assist to his credentials, after sprinting at full tilt down the flank and whipping in a near-perfect cross that found the head of forward Felipe Flores.
Colo Colo could have had three more by the final whistle, and fans and coaching staff alike will be heartened to see a respectable goal haul that wasn’t reliant on the attacking heroics of a certain Carlos Muñoz.
Rangers 1-0 Audax Italiano
Halfway through the regular season, Rangers continue their improbable spell at the top of the Clausura rankings after a narrow win over Italiano on Sunday.
Brought in to steady the ship in March, Rangers manager Dalcio Giovagnoli has done much more than that, turning a team that finished five points off the bottom of the Apertura into (whisper it) a genuine title contender.
Rangers rode their luck before scoring the game’s only goal. Italiano had a goal incorrectly called offside and also hit the woodwork, before frontman David Llanos banged in a long-ranger on 59 minutes to give the homeside the win.
Universidad de Concepción 3-1 La Serena
Following the resignation of Yuri Fernández, new Concepción manager Fernando Díaz got off to a dream start by steering his ailing team to its first win of the Clausura on Friday.
A seventh minute goal from Concepción striker Renato Ramos opened the scoring, before La Serena leveled through midfielder Francisco Arrué twenty minutes later.
Midfielder Pedro Muñoz restored Concepción’s lead after the break, and striker Gabriel Vargas’ 30-yard screamer on the 79 minute mark confused spectators momentarily as it went through a hole in the netting.
Antofagasta 3-0 Huachipato
There was little contest on Saturday as Antofagasta tore through fellow playoff hopeful Huachipato.
Luis Valenzuela headed home in the 10th minute, before fellow midfielder Eric Pino added to the tally from the penalty spot before the break. Striker Diego Ruiz made it three in the 81st minute, tapping in a ball deflected off the crossbar.
San Felipe 1-0 Santiago Wanderers
San Felipe clawed its way off the bottom of the annual rankings with a home win against Santiago Wanderers on Saturday.
The last time San Felipe registered back-to-back wins was way back in April 2011. Midfielder Joan Muñoz’s half-volley from outside the box on 51 minutes was enough to win it and leave Wanderers at the bottom of the Clausura in the process.
Universidad Cátolica 1-1 Unión La Calera
Cátolica remains second in the Clausura rankings, despite dropping points in a less-than-thrilling home draw with La Calera on Saturday.
Defender Francisco Silva turned a headed clearance into his own net to give La Calera the lead 71 minutes in, and anxious Cátolica fans had to wait until injury time for the equalizer from striker Daúd Gazale.
Cobresal 0-1 Palestino
Chilean soccer’s Cinderella story continues as Palestino is third in the rankings after nabbing an away win at Cobresal on Saturday.
The Santiago club continues to punch above its weight, needing only a seventh minute goal from Diego Cháves to secure the win.
O’Higgins 0-1 Iquique
O’Higgins will feel hard done-by after slumping to defeat to Iquique on Saturday.
The home team came close time and time again, though fine goalkeeping and the woodwork meant that defender Boris Riellof’s headed goal on the 71 minute mark gave Iquique the win.
Wednesday 29/08, 8:00 p.m. – Universidad de Chile vs. O’Higgins
Friday 31/08, 8:00 p.m. – Audax Italiano vs. Cobresal
Saturday 01/09, 12:30 p.m. – Santiago Wanderers vs. Universidad de Concepción
Saturday 01/09, 4:00 p.m. – Iquique vs. Universidad Católica
Saturday 01/09, 4:00 p.m. – Cobreloa vs. Antofagasta
Saturday 01/09, 6:15 p.m. – Huachipato vs. Rangers
Saturday 01/09, 6:15 p.m. – Universidad de Chile vs. Unión San Felipe
Saturday 01/09, 8:30 p.m. – La Serena vs. Unión Española
Sunday 02/09, 4:00 p.m. – Unión La Calera vs. O’Higgins
Sunday 02/09, 6:30 p.m. – Palestino vs. Colo Colo
By Angus McNeice (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Copyright 2012- The Santiago Times
British born, Angus grew up in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. He studied English at Stanford University, and graduated in 2007 before going on to work as a political speechwriter in the UK Parliament. He completed post graduate study in journalism at the London School of Journalism in 2011 and moved to Chile in March 2012 because he'd never been to South America. Angus supports the Aston Villa football club and claims he "bleeds claret and blue.”