Thursday, 14 February 2013 20:43
After a 38 year absence, the Chilean club logs a 2-1 victory over Gremio.
Reigning Chilean soccer champ Huachipato chalked up an upset win Thursday in its first Copa Libertadores match since 1975. The 2-1 victory carries the team to the top of its group.
The win came in hostile territory over the heavily-favored Brazilian side Gremio at its home stadium in Porto Alegre. The Brazilian team, a perennial Libertadores contender and one of this year’s favorites, included Chilean Eduardo Vargas as well as Arsenal defender André Santos, both with the club on loan from their European teams.
Huachipato began the first half aggressive, managing to keep the majority of play near center field despite losing the possession battle from early on. The Chilean side managing a few quick chances on offense in the first few minutes. It wasn’t until the 16th minute that the scoring began, though, when Frederico Falcone tapped in a strong waist-high cross from fellow forward Braian Rodríguez.
After the opening goal, Huachipato continued to pressure the Brazilian side in the midfield. Near the end of the first 45 minutes, Rodríguez almost logged a second goal for his team after escaping the battle in centerfield on a breakaway. His shot came just a breath too late, though, and was deflected away by Gremio keeper Marcelo Grohe.
Though Huachipato led their opponents early on in scoring chances, they were no match for the Brazilian side’s crisp passing and ball control. However, despite continuing to fall behind in time of possession and two open-field yellow cards from Rodríguez and midfielder Nocolás Crovetto, the Chileans managed to escape the first half ahead 1-0.
The first minutes of the second half looked much the same and a crisp header from Rodríguez in the 50th minute deflected a long centering pass from a teammate easily past Grohe and into the back of Gremio’s net. This time, though, the Brazilian’s answer came quickly, as they earned a free kick close to the Huachipato penalty box just minutes later.
Though the first shot was blocked by a wall of defenders, a handball from Huachipato defender José Raúl Conteras earned him a yellow card and gave up a penalty kick in the 54th minute. Gremio forward Hernán Barcos was given the chance, which he blasted cleanly past Huachipato keeper Nery Veloso.
The goal seemed to energize Gremio’s offense and the team quickly leveled the shot tally, eventually surpassing Huachipato’s nine shots and raising their own count to 11. The final one was perhaps the Brazilian team’s best chance at a leveling goal as a long shot in stoppage time required a diving save from Veloso. The extra effort was not enough, though, as the Chilean side held onto their lead for the 2-1 win.
Huachipato’s next Copa Libertadores match will be against Carácas de Venezula on Feb 20.
By Jay Balagna (email@example.com)
Copyright 2012 - The Santiago Times