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Chile did not get a single qualifier for the second round of the Libertadores and Sudamericana Cups, while Colombia's only representative is La Equidad
After the end of the Copa América, the round of 16 of the Copa Libertadores and the Copa Sudamericana will begin. Thirty-two teams (16 in each of the tournaments) are looking to stay with 'half the glory' in the second half of this 2019. Now, there is a theme that can not be overlooked: the absence of Chilean teams, both in the Libertadores and in the Sudamericana, as well as the low representation of Colombia with only one club still in competition (La Equidad, of Bogotá).
The Chilean disaster
Eight teams started this 2019 with the illusion of staying with the title of 'Best of the Continent', either in Copa Libertadores or Sudamericana. The result was completely negative. To the Libertadores, Universidad Católica, Universidad de Concepción, Palestino, and Universidad de Chile arrived, and, from the beginning, the debacle was announced. In the first phase, the Universidad de Chile could not beat Melgar, of Peru, a modest team that in the first game managed to take advantage by a goal, the necessary to qualify after a 0-0 in Chilean lands.
The other three teams did not perform better in the group stage: Universidad Católica was third in their group like Palestino (who settled in Group A, after defeating Medellín, of Colombia, and Talleres de Córdoba, of Argentina, in the two previous phases), while Universidad de Concepción only stroked 6 points that left it in the last position of Group C.
After the disaster in Libertadores, the Copa Sudamericana arrived with six Chilean representatives (Colo Colo, Antofagasta, Unión Española, Union La Calera, Catholic University and Palestinian), classified after reaching the third position of their respective groups.
However, the blow to Chilean soccer was more painful this time. It was expected that, having more options than in the Libertadores, the chances of qualifying more teams to the second round would also increase. With all this, the story is already known, because not one of them will have international participation during the second semester of this 2019.
Thus, according to Goal, "there were, in total, 9 wins, 14 draws and 17 defeats, which sign a 34.16% performance. Of 120 points in dispute, the Chileans added 41". That sums up the very poor 2019 of Chilean clubs abroad.
"It's a problem that has been going on for quite some time, the statistics are there and Chilean soccer is up to it," said Óscar Opazo, Colo Colo's defender, in statements collected by the Dale Albo portal. With all that, although Opazo said that "Chilean soccer is going through a bad international time," he has hope for improvement, because "there is a lot of quality to fight with."
The Colombian "fraud"
For its part, Colombian teams were are not far behind Chile's disappointment. Like the Chilean, Colombian soccer also contributed qith eight teams to international competitions, although, unlike the first, Colombia still has a representative in the round of 16: La Equidad, in the Sudamericana Cup.
Even so, there is no doubt that a single team still alive is not something to be proud of. Along with La Equidad, Deportes Tolima, Atletico Nacional, Medellin, Once Caldas, Rionegro Aguilas, Deportivo Cali and Atletico Junior were the Colombians who sought continental glory this year.
As AS Colombia's headline affirmed, last May 30, "Tolima closes the failure of Colombians in Conmebol", after the elimination of the team at the hands of Argentinos Juniors in the Sudamericana Cup. Before, it had been the turn of Atlético Nacional (2-4 against Fluminense), Deportivo Cali (1-3 against Peñarol) and Rionegro Águilas (3-4 against Independiente de Avellaneda). Months before, the Once Caldas fell, defeated 1-3 in the global against Paraguay's Deportivo Santani.
In Libertadores, the panorama was no different: Medellín was eliminated in the first phase against Palestino of Chile (1-4 in penal, after 2-2 in the global); Atletico Nacional, before going to Sudamericana, was eliminated by Libertad de Paraguay (1-1 in the aggregate and 4-5 in penalties). For its part, Tolima managed to pass to Sudamericana after being relegated to third place in Group G with 8 points.
It is not a secret that the biggest failure of Colombians has its own name: Atlético Junior. The team of Barranquilla was the champion in Colombia and finalist of the Sudamericana in 2018, enough reasons to place it as one of the favorites of his group. However, at the end of the group stage, the result was different: three points and a single goal sentenced it to the last place, without even being entitled to a spot in the Sudamericana Cup. A total failure.
The newspaper Marca summarized perfectly what happened with Junior: the low efficiency, the game elaboration, and the 'infantile' expulsions were decisive in the sad performance of the Colombian club abroad.
So, surprisingly, in the round of 16 of the most important cups of the continent there will be more teams from Venezuela (Caracas FC and Zulia FC), than from Chile and Colombia, data that clearly shows the crisis that both countries are going through in its soccer abroad.
LatinAmerican Post | Christopher Ramirez
Translated from "Así fue el triste 2019 para Chile y Colombia en el fútbol sudamericano"