After eight years in the second rank league called «Primera B» in Spanish (B Premier), Curicó Unido could get back to the Premier League today. Here is how it happened.
(Photo: The eleven members of the team about to start the match against Cobreloa, and defeat it 5 to 2. February 11, 2017. Curicó Albirrojo/Gonzalo Basualto)
Curicó Unido (a name that can be translated Curicó United) is just one step away from Chile Premier League. The team, coached by Luis Marcoleta, could get into the Major League for the second time in its history this Sunday. For this to happen, the white-red team must earn, at least, one more point in the following three matches left of the championshp, something very likely to happen today.
But nothing has been exactly easy for Curicó Unido. After a very good 2015-16 season, when it was the best team in the second round, and the only one able to worry the leader, Deportes Temuco, Curicó Unido lost in playoffs to Iberia, causing a great deal of desillusion in the fans.
This season, the first matches were very hard: Three draws and only one triumph had some people asking for the removal of the coach. Draws with weak teams, such as Rangers, Valdivia, and Santiago Morning, blurred the victory (2-0) over Unión La Calera, in Quillota, match played in August 8, 2016.
But the team gradually became strong, defeating its rivals with the power of its spine: footballers such as Nelson Rebolledo and Francisco Silva, and the best of the B League in the year 2016, Alfredo Ábalos.
Ábalos became vital for the team success, as proved by his scores in front of La Calera, Magallanes, Copiapó, and Iberia, hand in hand with his excellent performance.
Curicó got six victories in a row during the first round, in the second half of the year 2016: Iberia (3-2), Puerto Montt, (2-0), San Felipe (1-0), Coquimbo (4-3), San Marcos (2-0), and Ñublense (2-0). With this, the white-red team went to the recess with 34 poins, 4 more than its closest pursuer, Arica.
A traditional rival, the neighbor-city-based Rangers, was defeated at that time, too, 5-2. Javier Elizondo , Gary Tello, and Mikel Arguinarena scored for Curicó.
The second round started in 2017 with two draws, sowing concerns on the team and the fans. But two following victories with 9 scores raised the spirits agains. Against Cobreloa, after having 2 scores against, Curicó United was able to score 5 times, turning what seemed a defeat into an incredible victory. Sebastián Rivera, Fabián Hormazábal, Nelson Rebolledo, Eric Godoy, and Javier Elizondo scored for the white-red squad.
Then came what at the time was perhaps the most important match: The top two on the leaderboard, Curicó Unido and Arica, clashed. A 4-1 victory made things clears about how the future would come. Curicó took distance of Arica then, leaving it as the sole leader.
Two draws (Ñublense, and Unión San Felipe) and one defeat (Coquimbo Unido on March 13) ensued, after 21 matches undefeated.
After that March defeat, Curicó has won 4 games in a row, defeating Santiago Morning, Magallanes, Iberia, and Unión La Calera.
And today, a simple draw would take Curicó Unido into the Premier League again. The numbers speak by themselves: 56 points in the last 25 matches, 16 victories, 1 defeat, 74% of performance, and 43 goals for!
Now, a rare and exciting step is left: One point more, and Curicó Unido will be part of Chile Premier League. And it could happen today in the northern city of El Salvador. The match is scheduled at 2:30 pm.