Opportunity missed

The penalty that wasn't

With scores locked at 2-all as the final whistle blew in their opening Copa Libertadores match both Unión Española and Universidad Católica would have felt that it was an opportunity missed in what was a pulsating encounter. With group favourite Vélez Sarsfield having already picked up three points after defeating Caracas FC the day before both teams would have seen this match as an opportunity to keep pace with the Argentineans.

The match started off at a frenetic pace with los hispanos dominating early as they looked to get an early goal against their fellow Santiaguinos with new signing Sebastian Jaime looking particularly dangerous. After the frenetic opening los cruzados slowly started to impose themselves on the game but it was Unión who had the better opportunities to open the scoring with Martín Ligüera hitting the crossbar in the 29th minute after some brilliant lead up work by the aforementioned Jaime and Raúl Estévez.

Going into the half time break the home side could have felt a little aggrieved after a late penalty call was waived away by referee Claudio Puga after Católica ‘keeper Cristopher Toselli clattered into Leandro Monje as they were both chasing a loose ball in the penalty area.

However Monje had the last laugh as he capitalised on some poor marking to volley home a corner early in the second half. The goal seemed to spark los cruzados into life and they dominated much of the play for the remainder of the half. Key to this domination was the introduction of José Luis Villanueva in the 58th minute for Católica and substitution of Rafael Olarra for Unión not long after. Olarra, who was influential in marshalling the defence had to depart the pitch after breaking his nose in a head clash.

Villaneuva for his part played a key role in both goals for los cruzados as first Lucas Pratto brought the scores back on level terms and then Fernando Meneses put them ahead with a cracking goal all in the matter of six minutes. It was another substitution that again changed the complexion of the game as just as it would look like Católica would take all three points, recent substitute Kevin Harbottle was bundled over in the penalty area in the 90th minute with Bruno Leal calmly putting away the equaliser.

Next up in Copa Libertadores for Universidad Católica is a visit to Buenos Aires to take on Vélez Sarsfield whilst Unión Española will be also on the road as they take on Caracas FC in the Venezuelan capital. Both games are to take place on the 3rd March.

Photo taken from terra.cl
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