When River descended in 2011, in Argentina the myth ended that the two biggest clubs in the country would always play in the First Division because the leaders would prevent them from losing the category. Now, on the other side of the Andes Mountains, another legend is reeling: Colo-Colo, the only Chilean champion of the Copa Libertadores, is the giant that could descend for the first time if he does not recover in time.
With 25 points and 27 behind the leader, the Catholic University, Colo-Colo is shipwrecked in the last place in the table and has eight final matches ahead, including the classic with Universidad de Chile on January 17. After the loss to Santiago Wanderers (0-3), there will be no margin for error against Everton on Sunday or three days later in their visit to Universidad de Concepción.
In those first two games, precisely, he will continue without his coach on the bench, the Argentine Gustavo Quinteros, who added a new problem when he was sent off in the previous match, the 1-0 victory against Antofagasta, by a rude gesture which was reviewed by the ANFP Disciplinary Court, which decided to extend his sanction and give him the maximum penalty: three dates.
“Mr. Quinteros takes his genitals twice in an offensive, insulting and humiliating way, generating a conflict between both teams, and later he shouts out loud to an opposing player ‘shut your ass’,” the report highlighted.
Gustavo Quinteros lives difficult moments in Colo-Colo. Photo: AFP
“We could have avoided the unpleasant situation that occurred. It is a situation that we do not share at all in the board of directors and we made it known to Gustavo. He is completely sorry. It does not match with the quality of a coach that he is, with his experience. that will not happen again, “declared Aníbal Mosa, the president of the board of the Sociedad Anónima Blanco y Negro, which manages the club.
That episode further complicated Quinteros’ situation, also criticized for setting up the teams and for abandoning him at the worst moment. However, the DT trusts the recovery that will allow Colo-Colo to escape the decline: “Thinking or talking about something bad does not interest us at this time. We have concerns and we have to avoid catching negative comments or situations such as journalists’ opinions or people. I haven’t heard anything for weeks, I haven’t looked, I haven’t heard anything even when we win or lose and the message is that for the players, just focus on the positive, “he said a few weeks ago.
From the criticism -both from the journalism and the fans- at this time not even the Chilean idol Jorge Valdivia escapes, who returned in December to help the club but showed a poor performance in his 64 minutes against Wanderers, in which he averaged a offside and a corner, without shots, spikes or ratings, according to official statistics.
In a team with a low goal average – in 26 games he scored 26 goals and converted 39 -, neither does Pablo Mouche, one of the six Argentines on the squad, along with Julio Barroso, Juan Manuel Insaurralde, Nicolás Blandi, Pablo Solari and Matías Zaldivia . The former Boca scored for the last time on November 19 against Audax Italiano.
In the midst of that drought, Colo-Colo needs goals and triumphs like air to avoid a historic decline, with which he flirted in 1945, when he finished penultimate the championship. However, that year the federation determined that there would be no relegation to increase the number of teams in the competition. In 2009, meanwhile, it was two months without winning and the then group led by Hugo Tocalli was on the edge of the Promotion. But in a shocking final sprint, he made the playoffs and won the title.
Owner of a Copa Libertadores, the one achieved on June 5, 1991 -in the semifinals he left Boca on the road in a series that ended in scandal-, and 32 national tournaments, 12 Chile Cup, 2 Chilean Super Cup, 1 Interamerican Cup and 1 Recopa Sudamericana, if the tournament ended today, Colo-Colo would descend by the 2020 table and Deportes Iquique by the weighted table. Even if he finished penultimate, he would have to play a single match to avoid the First B against the penultimate of the weighted table, which the University of Chile (for now 16th) looks askance and with concern due to the poor performance in the previous season. For now, that match would be played by Coquimbo Unido and Universidad de Concepción, 17th in each of the tables.
Pablo Mouche, one of the Argentines who will seek to avoid the historic decline in Colo-Colo. Photo: AFP
The fixture: 8 finals for Colo-Colo
vs Everton (L): January 10
vs University of Concepción (V): January 13
vs University of Chile (L): January 17
vs Deportes Iquique (V): undefined
vs Cobresal (L): undefined
vs O’Higgins (V): undefined
vs Coquimbo Unido (L): pending
vs Unión La Calera (L): pending