Chile Primera Division Wrap: Union Espanola win title
By Football News
Union Espanola have claimed a hard-fought 1-0 win over Colo Colo to clinch the Primera Division title ahead of Universidad Catolica.
Patricio Rubio scored the critical goal for Union Espanola as they won their first league title since 2005, while Catolica triumphed 2-1 over San Marcos only to miss out on the championship on goal difference.
In a tense final day of the season, Union Espanola hosted fellow capital club Colo Colo, while their title-challengers Catolica were away to San Marcos.
Both title-challenging clubs started Sunday's games on 35 points, with Union Espanola three goals ahead on goal difference, but Catolica suffered an early blow when Renato Ramos scored on the stroke of half-time for San Marcos.
With Ramos' goal, Espanola knew a draw would be enough against 10th-placed Colo Colo but when San Marcos defender Fernando Lopez put the ball in his own net to make their game 1-1 against Catolica, Chile's league leaders felt a bit more pressure.
Rubio sparked an enormous cheer of delight and relief in the 73rd minute at Espanola's Estadio Santa Laura.
Following a Colo Colo attack, Espanola burst from their defensive penalty area with the ball ending on their left flank at the feet of Sebastian Jaime.
The Argentine forward's cross found Dagoberto Currimilla at the far post, who took a touch before smashing his shot back across goal, allowing Rubio to side-foot the ball into the net.
Rubio's goal ensured Espanola head coach Jose Luis Sierra had nothing to worry about when Catolica substitute Matias Mier slotted a penalty in second-half injury time.
Despite Catolica's victory, Espanola topped the table on 38 points and a goal difference of plus 20 to win the shortened championship, as Chile's Primera Division is set to adopt a European-style calendar with their new season scheduled to begin on July 25.
Cobreloa clinched Chile's second spot in the Copa Sudamericana with a 2-0 win over Santiago Wanderers.
The win took Cobreloa to 34 points and into third position on the ladder, leapfrogging O'Higgins (31 points), who lost their final game of the season 1-0 to Union La Calera.
Audax Italiano finished their season on a high with a 4-2 win away to Nublense, while Cobresal edged a tight contest 3-2 against Antofagasta.
In other Primera Division games, Rangers defeated Universidad Chile 2-1, Palestino overcame Huachipato 2-0 and Everton won 2-1 against Deportes Iquique.