Tuesday, 05 March 2013 11:26
Universidad de Chile, Iquique and Huachipato all face difficult away trips in an effort to kick-start their so-far underwhelming Copa Libertadores campaigns.Newell’s Old Boys vs. Universidad de Chile (March 5, 7:45 p.m.)
La U currently lies at the bottom of Group 7, but with all four teams claiming one win after their first two games, their Copa Libertadores fortunes remain far from decided. As such, manager Darío Franco told La Tercera that “this game is not vital. All the remaining games in the Cup are important.”
However, a number of historical links between the two clubs make this a fascinating encounter. Franco spent the first four years of his career at the Argentine side, playing 100 games. His time there was also partly under the management of Marcelo Bielsa, the former coach of the Chilean national team and mentor of Franco’s predecessor at Universidad de Chile, Jorge Sampaoli. Bielsa made such an impact in his brief spell at Newell’s that their stadium was named after him in 2009.
Universidad de Chile seems to be suffering from the departure of former boss Jorge Sampaoli so far this season, who has since filled the vacancy left by Claudio Borghi as coach of the Chilean national team. The struggling team will face a tough task against a Newell’s side that finished second in last year’s Torneo Inicial in Argentina.
Emelec vs. Iquique (March 5, 11:45 p.m.)
Meanwhile, Deportes Iquique travels to Ecuador to face Emelec, the side they beat 2-0 at home last Wednesday. However, the away match promises to be a far more challenging proposition, as the team from Guayaquil won their last nine home games in their domestic league.
A defeat here would leave Iquique in a precarious position at the bottom of Group 4, which also contains Vélez Sársfield, the winners of last year’s Torneo Inicial in
Argentina and Peñarol of Uruguay, who have claimed Copa Libertadores silverware no less than five times.
Manager Cristian Díaz confirmed that Iquique will have to cope without their top scorer in the competition, Rodrigo “Rengo” Díaz, who is out with an injury. Fluminense vs. Huachipato (March 6, 10:00 p.m.)
Last year’s Clausura champions Huachipato seek to channel their confidence-building win against Iquique last weekend and cause an upset against Brazilian side Fluminense, who claimed runner-up spot in the Copa Libertadores in 2008. The Chilean team made a poor first impression in a testing Group 8, which also contains Grêmio and Caracas, with a win and two losses in their first three matches.
“The victory has made us think positively and travel [to Brazil] with all the energy to have a good game,” Huachipato goalkeeper Nery Velososaid to La tercera after the win over Iquique.
They will face a Fluminense team with a multitude of famous names, such as Deco, Fred and Thiago Neves, but the side from Rio de Janeiro hasn’t won at home in four games and Huachipato go to Brazil with justified hopes of a positive result.
By George Forrester (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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