Football

Published on February 21st, 2014 | by John Lyons

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Católica seek revenge against O’Higgins

Universidad Católica have the chance to lay the ghost of last season’s Super Final defeat against O’Higgins when the two sides meet tomorrow evening (6.30pm).

Macul – The two sides were locked together at the top of the Apertura table and it took a deciding match to settle the championship. O’Higgins beat the Cruzados 1-0 at the Estadio Nacional to win the league for the first time in their history – and leave Católica empty-handed again.

This time around, Católica go into the game in second place in the Clausura, while O’Higgins lie third. While a slice of revenge will be on Católica’s mind, the more important matter is trying to keep pace with Colo Colo at the top of the table.

The albos go into the eighth round of fixtures with a three-point lead at the top of the table and will probably be hoping for a draw between their two closest challengers.

They don’t have an easy fixture themselves, as they host fourth-placed Palestino. Colo Colo have already suffered one blow with the news that midfielder Emiliano Vecchio will be sidelined for a couple of weeks through injury.

One plus for Héctor Tapia’s men is that they return to a stadium where they recently enjoyed success. Palestino’s home match will be played at Estadio Santa Laura on Sunday evening (7pm), the venue where Colo Colo thrashed Unión Española 4-1 just two weeks ago.

Another match that will attract attention this weekend is Santiago Wanderers vs Unión La Calera (Sunday, 4.30pm). It’s not only because it will be the first competitive match at the new Estadio Elías Figueroa Brander in Valparaíso, but also because it´s hoped there will be no repeat of the violent scenes between fans and police that marred the opening night at the stadium.

The latest round of fixtures kicks off with two matches this evening. Audax Italiano seek to build on their surprise 1-0 victory at Antofagasta last weekend when they host Universidad de Chile (7pm). Sixth-placed U de Chile need to win if they are to stay within touching distances of the leaders.

Meanwhile, Huachipato need points for a different reason when they entertain Ñublense (9.30pm). The acereros are bottom of the combined Apertura and Clausura table and desperately need points to stave off the threat of relegation.

There are two all-northern match-ups to look forward to this weekend. Iquique get the ball rolling when they host Antofagasta at the Tierra de Campeones on Saturday (10pm), while Cobresal host Cobreloa on Sunday (4pm).

Cobreloa go into the game under new management following the strange sacking of Jorge García. There was a clause in García’s contract stipulating that he would be dismissed if Cobreloa weren’t in the top seven after seven fixtures. In the event, they lie eighth, one point behind seventh-placed Universidad de Concepción.

García said: “Unfortunately the board decided on a ridiculous clause of contract, although equally we accepted it because it was imposed at the last moment when we were already training.

“Solely by one point we didn’t comply with the objective. It’s not very dignified to evaluate things in this manner.”

Cobreloa will be led by interim bosses César Bravo and Roberto Spicto against Cobresal.

Unión Española return to league action after their Copa Libertadores duties when they entertain Everton on Saturday (9pm), while Rangers host Universidad de Concepción, also on Saturday (4pm).

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