Monday, July 21, 2008

Everton Leads In Chilean First Division

Blackburn Rovers Hires Midfielder Carlos Villanueva

The Chilean First Division season is divided into two competitions: the “Opening Championship” begins in the second week of February and ends in the last week of June followed by the “Closing Championship” that is held from Mid July until a few days before Christmas. The winner of this year’s “Opening Championship” was Everton from the city of Viña del Mar, Chile´s main seaside resort located 130 kilometres to the west of Santiago. Everton had last been Chilean champions in 1976 and so after five rounds the local fans are obviously very pleased with their team´s current situation. This last weekend, Everton played host to Palestino at the Sausalito Stadium and despite losing by 1-0 at are still at the top of the table with 12 points. The Sausalito Stadium was built specially for the 1962 World Cup and its most important event in history has been the quarterfinal match where Brazil defeated England by 3-1. Nineteen teams are taking part in this year’s Closing Championship after the desertion of Deportes Concepcion, a club that went broke in the first days of July. This weekend had a especially high goal average with a total of 35 goals being scored. The shock result of the fixture was the 2-3 home defeat of Chile´s most popular club Colo Colo at the hands of Rangers, from the southern town of Talca. Colo Colo´s archrival, Universidad de Chile recovered form after beating Union Espanola by 4-1 at the National Stadium in Santiago. Marcelo Salas, probably Chile´s greatest player of all time, scored Universidad de Chile´s second goal. Local fans revere Salas for his great performances with the Chilean national team such as Chile´s 1998 victory over England at Wembley Stadium, when the striker scored both goals. Carlos Villanueva, a left-footed free kick specialist recently hired by Blackburn Rovers, may have played his last match for Audax Italiano during the club’s 2-1 win over Cobresal. Villanueva is a skilful midfielder that has won a regular place in Chile´s national team but recently had an unlucky incident in Spain. Last month Villanueva travelled to join Real Sociedad of the Spanish first division, but two weeks later had to return to Chile after Sociedad went broke. Until now the Chilean press has reported that Blackburn Rovers agreed to a one-year loan for Villanueva with a salary of US$900,000 and the deal seems to have definitely been sealed. The results from the other matches and top of points table are as follows:

Osorno 2 - Universidad Catolica 4
La Serena 6 - Cobreloa 2
Meilipilla 1 - Nublense 1
Santiago Morning 2 - Antofagasta 1
Huachipato 1- Universidad Concepcion 1

1) Everton 12 pts.
2) O´Higgins 10 pts.
3) Colo Colo 10 pts.
4) Rangers 10 pts.
5) Universidad de Chile 9 pts
6) La Serena 8 pts
7) Palestino 8 pts
8) Santiago Morning 8 pts
9) Universidad Catolica 7 pts.
10) Osorno 6
11) Audax Italiano

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