Published on February 24th, 2014 | by John Lyons


Colo Colo’s early blows put Palestino on the deck

Colo Colo strengthened their grip at the top of the Clausura with a solid 2-1 win at Palestino on Sunday night.

Independencia – The albos were lacking the injured Emiliano Vecchio and Felipe Flores, but they quickly put those absences behind them at Estadio Santa Laura.

Jaime Valdés took on a more advanced role in the absence of Vecchio and it was the experienced midfielder who set up striker Juan Delgado, taking Flores´s place, to coolly tuck home the opener in the third minute.

And the points were virtually in the bag with just 18 minutes on the clock as Colo Colo took advantage of more sloppy defending from the árabes.  José Pedro Fuenzalida had all the time in the world to pick out unmarked striker Esteban Paredes, who planted his header firmly into the back of the net.

Palestino showed more urgency in the second half, but only had Sergio López´s 89th minute penalty to show for their efforts. The victory allowed Colo Colo to move four points clear at the top of the table.

Manager Héctor Tapia said: “We would have liked to have scored another goal when we were 2-0 up, but the important thing is that we´ve got the three points.

“We are happy and satisfied, but we have to keep on working if we want to achieve our objective to be champions. We know that we haven´t won anything yet.”

Colo Colo´s closest challengers are now champions O´Higgins, who beat Universidad Católica 2-0 in the rematch of the Apertura Super Final. Pablo Calandria´s superbly taken goal just after the half hour set O´Higgins on their way at the Estadio Monumental  and the 78th minute dismissal of Católica´s Milovan Mirosevic for applauding referee Enrique Osses made the final stages more comfortable.

Yerson Opazo´s stoppage time second added further salt into Católica´s wounds.

Católica have slipped to third place, six points behind the leaders. Iquique moved level with the Cruzados on points with their dramatic 3-2 win against Antofagasta at Tierra de Campeones.

The visitors looked well on their way when Esteban González and Cristían Canío gave them a 2-0 lead at the break. However, the 53rd-minute dismissal of Daniel González turned the tide in Iquique´s favour and it was his former Huachipato team-mate Manuel Villalobos who took full advantage.

After pulling one back in the 66th minute, he netted two penalties in the 78th and 89th minutes to turn the match on his head. While Villalobos celebrated his hat-trick, Antofagasta were left fuming at a series of controversial refereeing decisions that went against them.

Another player in goalscoring mood at the weekend was Everton´s Matías Donoso, who helped himself to a hat-trick in his side´s surprise 3-1 win at Unión Española.

Carlos Salom gave Unión the lead in the ninth minute, but their hopes were hit when Matías Navarrete was dismissed on 38 minutes for bringing down Donoso.

Unión were relieved when Donoso´s resulting penalty struck the crossbar, but he made amends in the second half with his treble that earned Everton three precious points in their relegation fight.

Meanwhile, Everton´s arch-rivals Santiago Wanderers also warmed up for next weekend´s derby clash with a victory. Gastón Cellerino notched the only goal in the 27th minute of their match against Unión La Calera, giving the caturros victory in the first competive match at the new Bicentenario Elías Figueroa.

Cobresal were comfortable 3-0 winners against Cobreloa thanks to second half goals from Mariano Torres, Victor Hugo Sarabia and Patricio Jerez, while Rangers and Universidad de Concepción played out a tame 0-0 draw.

In Friday night´s matches, Audax Italiano drew 3-3 with Universidad de Chile and Huachipato beat Ñublense 1-0.

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