Capping off a spectacular campaign, Chilean soccer club Universidad de Chile has defeated Ecuador’s Liga Deportiva Universitaria, becoming the first Chilean team to take out the Copa Sudamericana regional club championship.
“Los Azules” – or “La U” – were invincible throughout the transcontinental tournament, with an impressive 10 wins and two draws in their 12 games. And while the team managed to amass 21 goals, they conceded just two.
The standout in La U’s line-up was striker Eduardo Vargas, who was named player of the tournament after scoring 11 goals, asserting his role as one of the leading names of South American soccer.
Following his stellar Copa Sudamericana performance, the rising star is now being pursued by some of Europe’s most successful teams, including Italy’s AC Milan and Chelsea from England’s Premier League.
La Universidad de Chile’s remarkable campaign began back in August when they edged out Uruguayan club Fenix, 1-0 in Santiago, following a trademark goal from Vargas. The team then travelled to Montevideo for the return leg where they played out a scoreless tie.
Next up, Los Azules played another Uruguayan team, Nacional, winning 1-0 at home courtesy of another Vargas goal. They then achieved a 2-0 victory (Vargas and Rodriguez) in a thrilling match that was called off at the 47-minute mark when a referee was assaulted.
The best form of La U’s campaign was displayed on October 19 when the team made history, defeating Brazilian giants Flamengo in Rio de Janeiro, 4-0. The goals were shared between team captain José Rojas, Eduardo Vargas (2) and Gustavo Lorenzetti. Back home in Santiago for the second match, Marcelo Díaz scored to give the team a 1-0 victory.
In the quarter finals, La Universidad faced Argentine team Arsenal de Sarandi in Buenos Aires, winning 2-1 with goals from Vargas and Gustavo Canales. The team then went on to a comfortable victory in the return leg at Chile’s National Stadium with Vargas, Francisco Castro and Canales contributing to the 3-0 score card.
The semi-final was played against Brazil’s Vasco Da Gama with the first match played in Rio de Janeiro. La U emerged unshaken from a tense 1-1 draw (Osvaldo González) before pulling off a decisive 2-0 victory (Canales and Vargas) at Santiago’s Santa Laura Stadium the following week.
The first leg of the final against Ecuador’s Liga Deportiva Universitaria was played in Quito, where La U claimed a thrilling 1-0 victory thanks to yet another Vargas goal. In the return leg, the team confidently disposed of the Ecuadorian team 3-0 with two goals to Vargas and one more to Lorenzetti.
Raising the championship trophy in front of an ecstatic crowd at the packed National Stadium, the 2011 La Universidad de Chile team sealed its place in the history of Chilean soccer.