The clausura was a championship about two Argentinian coaches in the thick of it and two Uruguayan trainers on the fringes.
Jose Basualdo, who played for Argentina at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, impressed by steering modest Santiago Morning to their first apertura knockout phase in the first half of the year and earn himself a job with Universidad de Chile.
His predecessor, Uruguayan coach Sergio Markarian, had decided before the end of the opening championship that he was going to quit when it was over due to differences with the club’s board. His team won the title, but he stuck to his guns and left.
Basualdo, 46, stepped in and began well, but things were to turn bad for him mid-championship.
Meanwhile, former Argentina Under-20s coach Hugo Tocalli took charge at Colo Colo.
His promising start of two wins and a draw was short-lived as his team picked up a mere 13 points in their opening 11 matches. Despite fan unrest, the board backed Tocalli until the end of the year and he began to turn the Chieftain’s fortunes around.
The turning point came in early October when Tocalli’s Colo Colo beat Basualdo’s Universidad de Chile, their arch-rivals, 1-0 in the Santiago derby, with a goal from Esteban Paredes, whose cross aimed at fellow striker Ezequiel Miralles curled into the net.
Colo Colo, Chile’s most successful club, went on to complete a five-match winning streak and qualify for the play-offs. In the Final they beat Universidad Catolica 6-4 on aggregate after a 4-2 away victory.
It was their 29th league title and third clausura in a row, while apertura champions Universidad de Chile missed out on the play-offs for the first time.
“The U” failed to win any of their last eight league matches and the board accepted Basualdo’s resignation four months after his appointment.
Basualdo could have bought some time if he had been successful in the Sudamericana Cup, but Universidad de Chile lost to Brazil’s Fluminense in the quarter-finals during the same dip in their league form.
Player of the season
The Argentinian striker finished the championship as his club’s top scorer with 11 goals. Signed from Everton of Chile in July, he ably filled the gap left by compatriot Lucas Barrios, who moved to Borussia Dortmund.
Coach of the season
Hugo Tocalli (Colo Colo)
The 61-year-old former goalkeeper joined from Velez Sarsfield in May and made a shaky start before finishing strongly and lifting the clausura title. Made his name coaching Argentina’s national junior teams, steering his country to victory in the
2007 World Youth Cup.