Monday, 03 December 2012 10:26
Española comfortably defeats Colo Colo, Huachipato holds off Rangers.
After a long and dramatic road, the final match for Chile’ 2012 Clausura championship is set. For the first time in seven years, none of Chile’s traditionally dominant top three teams – Universidad de Chile, Colo Colo and Universidad Católica – will be competing.Colo Colo 0-2 Unión Española
Unión Española continued their excellent form in the Clausura playoffs Sunday evening with a deserved 5-1 aggregate victory over Colo Colo that saw them progress to the finals of the competition. Two goals in the second half ensured Española’s victory, and while Colo Colo strained to find a way back into the match, the visitors deserved their win.
Despite scraping into the playoffs with a last-minute victory against Cobreloa in the last round of matches in the regular season, Española has been the in-form team in the playoffs, and will be the favorites going forward after knocking out both Colo Colo and Universidad de Chile.
Colo Colo showed early intent with their opening display and attacking, knowing an early goal would put them right back into contention in this game. After the early signs of urgency from the home team, Española grew into the game and looked dangerous on the break.
Backed up against the wall, the home team caught a huge break in the 28th minute as goalkeeper Francisco Prieto clearly brought down Emiliano Vecchio in the area. The decision went the way of the home team, however, as the referee booked the Española frontman for diving when the penalty looked nailed on.
Colo Colo still looked like a threat in the closing moments of the half, mainly through the sheer number of players that they committed forward, but still Española looked comfortable and dangerous on the break.
Colo Colo was handed an opportunity to get back into the game in first half injury time when the team was awarded an indirect free kick in the area. The Española wall did its job, however, and Diego Scotti cleared a shot off the line to ensure the visitors maintained their 3-1 aggregate lead.
Española started the second half well, with Vecchio once again providing the creative spark for his team.
With Colo Colo beginning to find some attacking rhythm in their play, Española, again on the break, had a huge opportunity to kill off the tie ten minutes into the half but Sebastián Jaime inexplicably missed the target from three yards.
Española continued to threaten the Colo Colo goal as the half wore on and a devastating six-minute passage of sealed the team’s fate as Española notched twice.
Man of the match Vecchio played an instrumental part in the first goal, setting up substitute Braulio Leal to fire Española into the lead on the night, before Rodolfo Madrid curled an emphatic free kick over the wall and into the net to end Colo Colo’s Clausura aspirations.Rangers 1-1 Huachipato
Despite a late rally from Rangers, Huachipato held on for the draw in their second leg semifinal match to progress to the final with a 2-1 aggregate victory. Both teams sought to score goals in an entertaining match but the visitors were good value for their aggregate victory and will face Unión Española in the Clausura final.
Both teams started the match brightly, with Rangers needing to score to get themselves back into the match, while Huachipato clearly wanted to take the match out of sight with some early goals.
Rangers had the best chances of the opening stages, going close a number of times and would have taken the lead on the night but for the goalkeeping of Nery Veloso.
The match was proving very end-to-end, as Rangers poured forward in search of a route back into the game while Huachipato seemed content to soak up pressure and rely on the counterattack. Rangers had the better of the first half but never could get past Veloso.
The match continued at the same pace after the break, and Huachipato scored the all-important first goal of the game ten minutes into the second half with Braian Rodríguez providing the breakthrough.
Huachipato continued to threaten the Rangers goal while the home side again forced Veloso into a string of saves to keep his team ahead.
David Llanos pulled a goal back for Rangers in injury time to ensure a nervy final few minutes for Huachipato, but they held on to their aggregate lead to progress to the final.
By Tom Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Copyright 2012 - The Santiago Times