Everton suffered their first defeat of the Clausura tournament against O’Higgins on Saturday evening. Defeat dealt a significant blow to Everton’s title hopes with five games remaining. A win would have seen Everton go second.
The opening stages were cagey as both sides were conservative in their approach. Everton did have some half chances but nothing that really troubled the home side. The stalemate continued into the second half with both goalkeepers merely spectators.
Everton opted for a more direct approach as the second half wore on. Nicolás Orellana and Maxi Cerato were looking dangerous on the flanks for Everton, but O’Higgins were able to exploit the space vacated by the Everton wingers.
O’Higgins striker Pablo Calandria went close on 77 minutes as a stark warning for the away side. But sadly, Everton did not heed their warning, and Calandria popped up with a header late on to give his side the three points, just when it seemed like the game would end goalless.
A sucker punch for Pablo Sanchez’s side who were looking to keep the pressure on Deportes Iquique and Colo Colo.
Everton drop one place to fourth, four points adrift of new leaders Colo Colo while O’Higgins move level on points with Everton in fifth.
Five games remain for Everton, starting with sixth-placed Audax Italiano at home on Saturday, followed by a trip to Union Española, before hosting Colo Colo and Huachpiato at the Sausalito. Everton will round up the tournament with a trip to bottom side Palestino.
Manager Pablo Sanchez will see the next two games as pivotal for his side as they go in search of more success.
Highlights of the defeat to O’Higgins can be found at the following link.