UNIVERSIDAD DE CHILE 1-0 HUACHIPATO (CAMPEONATO PETROBRAS)
Universidad de Chile moved up into third place in the Campeonato Petrobras with a 1-0 victory over a poor Huachipato side in Santiago but it wasn’t one for the highlight reels.
La U boss Marco Antonio Figueroa made five changes from the agonising derby defeat at Colo Colo before the international break with Luis Marin, Pablo Magalhaes, Roberto Cereceda, Charles Aránguiz and Isaac Díaz being replaced by Johnny Herrera, Osvaldo González, Sebastian Martínez, Marcelo Jorquera and Ruben Farfan. Jorge Pellicer made just one change to the Huachipato side that beat Deportes Temuco in the Copa Chile with Felipe Reynero being replaced in the starting line up by Federico Falcone.
With Universidad needing the win to stay in the play-offs, they needed to start quickly and they almost did. With just 45 seconds gone, Ruben Farfan got the ball on the right and cut inside on to his weaker left foot before firing a shot right at Huachipato goalkeeper Nery Veloso. It was a real signal of intent from the home team and really set the tone for the game.
Just minutes later, Veloso was called into action again. Marcelo Jorquera received the ball on the left and played a short pass inside to Sebastian Ubilla. The Chilean forward was some 30 yards from goal but since no defender decided to challenge him, he went for goal. It was an excellent strike that was going just inside the post until Veloso spectacularly dived to his right and tipped it behind for a corner. Veloso was keeping the away side in the game but even his resistance was broken down after 13 minutes.
Farfan got the ball in the inside right channel and played it to Patricio Rubio on the edge of the box. The striker had his back to goal but managed to swivel and get a low shot in on goal. Veloso saved it but spilled it out in front of him when he should have held it allowing Ubila to slide in. His contact with the ball was enough to knock it past Veloso and the defence and Farfan gratefully smashed the ball in from a yard out. It was scrappy for Universidad but they didn’t care as they now had the lead and Huachipato on the ropes.
The minutes following the goal were a barrage of pressure from the home side. Gustavo Lorenzetti was allowed too much space 25 yards out and wasn’t too far away with his strike. Ubilla was put through by the excellent Rodrigo Rojas but his shot across goal was a yard wide of the far post. Huachipato were allowing La U too much time and space and gifted them another chance just after the 20 minute mark.
Rodrigo Rojas was chopped down by Omar Merlo on the right corner of the box which gave Universidad a great free kick position and Merlo a yellow card. With four players around the ball, the decision was eventually made to give it to Jorquera whose left footed shot was just inches past the post. The left midfielder claimed a corner furiously which was not given but replays showed he could feel hard done by as Veloso got some crucial fingertips to the shot.
And it was Veloso again who kept Huachipato in the game ten minutes before the break. A rare Huachipato attack broke down in the Universidad half and Farfan was released down the right. La U had the numbers pouring forward and eventually Farfan played an excellent cross to the penalty spot for Ubilla. The forward powered his header at goal and could only wonder how Veloso was able to tip it behind for a corner. Farfan and Ubilla almost combined mere minutes later as the latter set up the former but Farfan’s low cross-shot fizzed right across the box without anyone getting a touch.
On the stroke of half time, though, Universidad had the ball in the net again. Lorenzetti got the ball 25 yards from goal and played a lovely reversed through ball to Rubio. The striker calmly slotted the ball past the onrushing Veloso but his effort was correctly ruled out for offside. This also proved to be the final action of a first half that was utterly dominated by Universidad with Huachipato only having one very tame effort on goal that is barely worth mentioning.
The teams returned for the second half with three new faces on the pitch – Carlos Labrin and Daniel González replaced Lucas Simón and Hiroki Uchida for Huachipato while Ramon Fernández replaced Rodrigo Rojas for Universidad. The changes brought some more life into Huachipato but they were still struggling to cope with the home side. Fernández almost scored with his first touch just four minutes after coming on when his 25 yard free kick from the left corner of the box was well tipped over by Veloso.
That was the only real chance for Universidad in the second half as Huachipato tightened up and even began to show a little promise going forward. Their one big chance came just before the hour mark though. Central midfielder Francisco Arrué was allowed time and space 35 yards from goal and curled a lovely pass to the right side of the box for David Llanos. The winger hit the ball first time on the volley but could only guide it half a yard wide of Johnny Herrera’s far post.
La U continued to keep possession and were always looking dangerous when attacking but never really created too many opportunities. Rubio and Farfan were getting joy down the right hand side and delivered lovely crosses but no Universidad player could get on the end of one. And there was concern on the hour mark as Ubilla was forced off with a shoulder problem. The game was becoming a bit scrappy and disjointed which suited the visitors who have been involved in tight games all season but every promising counter they had was ended by a lack of support to the front players or a lack of creativity. There was a shout from the visitors for a red card as well when Igor Lichnovsky – excellent all day – appeared to elbow Federico Falcone as he tried to run through onto a pass. It looked bad and perhaps the young defender was lucky to get away with it.
Referee Cristian Anduar brought the game to an end after a poor second half but it was a crucial three points for Universidad de Chile as they look to secure their play-off place as well as resting a number of key players for some tough games in the run-in. Huachipato on the other hand will just be thankful for Nery Veloso who kept the score down with a number of good saves and are just looking to get to the end of the Apertura with some pride left.
Universidad de Chile: Herrera, González, J.Rojas (c), Lichnovsky, R.Rojas (Fernández 46), Martínez, Jorquera, Rubio (C. Cortés 76), Ubilla (Díaz 62), Farfan
Subs: Espinoza, Huerta, Magalhaes, Cereceda
Huachipato: Veloso, Merlo, Contreras, Muñoz, Yedro, Arrué, Sagal (Reynero 72), Simón (Gonzalez 46), Llanos, Falcone, Uchida (Labrin 46)
Subs: Rodríguez, Jiménez, Vejar, Gatica
Yellow: Merlo, Arrué, Labrin
MAN OF THE MATCH: NERY VELOSO (HUACHIPATO)