UNIVERSIDAD DE CHILE 0-1 RANGERS
Universidad de Chile’s start to the season took an even bigger downturn following a shock opening day defeat at home to Rangers.
La U manager Marco Antonio Figueroa fielded 2 of his new recruits for their league debut – Juan Ignacio Sills and Bryan Cortés – with fellow new recruits Juan Rodrigo Rojas and Rubén Farfán on the bench. The influence of Marcelo Bielsa could be seen in the way both teams set up – a back 3 system although Rangers’, at times, looked more like a back 5.
The first half really set the tone for the game as Universidad de Chile kept the ball with Rangers content to let them do so, keeping at least 8 men behind the ball. Every time Rangers did get the ball they stuggled to hold it for any length of time due to the excellent pressing game from La U. However, it took a long time for either team to fashion a real chance on goal but when it did happen, it fell to Universidad.
Debutant Cortés got down the right hand side and delivered a low cross into the box which striker Isaac Díaz couldn’t get any real contact on but Rangers defender Garrido got a touch on it and turned it towards the goal. Fortunately for Rangers it was straight at keeper Nicolás Peric. Rangers were a little more cautious following that scare but their game plan of long balls to the front men was getting them nowhere and they couldn’t stop Universidad all the time.
A long ball was raced onto by winger Luciano Civelli who took the shot early but could only flash the ball wide at the near post. And it almost proved costly as Rangers went up the other end where a ball from the right wasn’t dealt with and Jorge Valenzuela headed over from 6 yards when he should really have scored. It was a big let off for the Universidad defence.
Just before half time, that scare was almost erased from the memory. Aránguiz chipped a delightful little pass over the defence into the path of Civelli, whose low shot was saved by the onrushing Peric and hacked clear before Díaz could pounce on the rebound.
The introduction of Farfán at half time for Cortés pinned Rangers back further right from the beginning of the second half and Universidad almost profited. The constant pressure led to the ball finding its way to Aránguiz nearly 30 yards out. The impressive midfielder struck it cleanly and, much to Peric and Rangers’ relief, it cannoned back off the post.
Farfán’s presence on the right negated any attacking intent Rangers had and their first attempt on goal didn’t arrive until there was 18 minutes to go and even then it was a hopeful first time effort from range by Pablo Vegetti. For all of Universidad’s pressure, they were struggling to make the breakthrough until the 75th minute.
Farfán managed to get some space on the edge of the area and forced Peric into a save with his left foot. The ball rebounded to last seasons top scorer Díaz who was centre of goal with an open goal and he somehow hit it straight at a prone Peric who could not believe his luck. That miss would prove costly as well.
Hugo Díaz picked the ball up outside the area and sent a hopeful ball into the area. Ezequiel Videla missed his defensive header and waiting behind him was substitute and debutant Esteban Ciaccheri, who proceeded to smash the ball across goal on the half volley and past the helpless Johnny Herrera. It was a sickening blow for Universidad but Rangers were jubilant.
Their jubilation was almost short lived as Universidad nearly nicked a point in the final minute of normal time. That man Farfán dinked a hopeful ball into the area and it inexplicably went past at least 4 bodies until Díaz latched onto it. He smashed a powerful shot into the near post but could hardly believe it when it hit the post and went out. There was a sense that it just was not Universidad’s day.
Rangers held on for a huge victory and they certainly celebrated it as one. For Universidad, it was a case of lots of pressure and shots but they were too wasteful as well as not creative enough. Positives for them will be the performances of Farfán and Aránguiz but their finishing is a concern. For Rangers, they defended ruggedly and put their game plan into practice perfectly.
Universidad de Chile: Herrera, J.Rojas (c), Magalhaes, Sills, B.Cortés (Farfán 45), Lorenzetti, Civelli (R. Rojas 69), Videla, Aránguiz, Díaz, Fernández (C. Cortés 80)
Subs: Cereceda, Huerta, Ibacache, Martinez
Rangers: Peric, Garrido, A.Rojas, Gonzalez, Diaz, Scatolaro, Valenzuela, Sciorilli (Baeza 81), Gomez (Ciaccheri 71), Luna, Vegetti (Lopez 89)
Subs: Bustamante, Fuentes, A.Rojas, Vargas
Goal: Ciaccheri 86
Yellow: Garrido, Diaz, Vegetti
MAN OF THE MATCH: RUBÉN FARFÁN (UNIVERSIDAD DE CHILE)