Chilean Primera División 2021 Season Preview:This season sees 17 teams battle it out in the top flight of Chilean football. The ANFP are looking to reduce the league back down to 16 teams again, so three teams will be relegated once again this season with just two promoted from Primera B, as was the case last year.
The season got underway today (Saturday) with an 11 am kick-off local time between Curicó Unido and newly promoted Deportes Melipilla. Curicó ran out 2-0 winners after two early goals.
It is worth noting that many sides might be without some key players on the opening weekend of the season. This is mainly due to the fact Chile played Bolivia (Chile won 2-1) on Friday night in a friendly with many domestic stars in action.
A 2-1 win over La Serena on the last day of last season ensured Audax kept their top division status for another year. After a decent start to the campaign last season they gradually slid down the table and were left sweating on the final day.
A change in management, the pandemic (looked like they were getting momentum just before it struck) and a drink-driving tragedy caused by star striker Rodrigo Holgado during lockdown didn’t help – the Argentine striker got off with a light sentence and will controversially lead the line again this season.
Colombian-Chilean Joaquin Montecinos was their key men for much of last season, producing moments of magic drifting in from the right and will be one to watch this year.
They will look to challenge for the Sudamericana spots, but the squad does not look any stronger than last season and another season finishing in the bottom half possibly awaits under manager Pablo Sanchez.
Key Players: Joaquin Muñoz (GK), Joaquin Montecinos (RW), Rodrigo Holgado (CF)
U23 Talent: Nicolas Fernandez (RB), Massami Gutiérrez (RW/LW)
Cobresal head into the new campaign hoping the sale of influential playmaker Marcelo Cañete won’t be too hard to overcome. There were signs against Palestino in the Sudamericana last week that they will remain very competitive at home.
Manager Gustavo Huerta likes this Cobresal side to keep possession in most matches and few sides can match them for passes completed and the way they quickly rotate the ball.
The worry is that without the quality of players such as Marcelo Cañete and Juan Carlos Gaete that they will lack quality in the final third, but they should have enough to stay up. Tall Venezuelan, goal-scoring winger Brayan Hurtado has been signed to help compensate the loss of Gaete it seems.Much will depend on how new signings Carlos Maidana, Ivan Smith and Matias Donoso settle, Donoso won the title with Cobresal back in 2015. Meanwhile 16-year-old attacking midfielder Yodilan Cruz impressed in his couple of cameos at the end of last season and could be one to keep an eye on.