The last few weeks have been very important for our club, Universidad Católica, as one of the objectives agreed upon at the beginning of the season was to try to improve our efforts in international tournaments.
We set out two pathways. The first, and best pathway, was to get into the Copa Libertadores Round of 16, something the club had not achieved since 2011, a decade ago!
The second pathway was to come third in the group and enter the Copa Sudamericana and from there, try to improve on past performances.
Copa Libertadores Round of 16
Imagine the joy and pride we felt after getting into the Copa Libertadores Round of 16 for the first time in 10 years and having the chance to face the reigning champions Palmeiras. It will be a great knock-out game for all Católica fans and for the whole of Chile as we are the only club from the country left in international tournaments.
For me, the best thing was seeing the players so happy and satisfied with the efforts they put in to get there, they deserved it. They have been wanting this for ages, but for one reason or another they haven’t been able to get across the line. But now we have managed to progress this far, we must plan properly for the round of 16 and throw the kitchen sink at it. But most importantly, we must enjoy it.
The rival: Palmeiras
As well as being the reigning champions, Palmeiras won 5 out of 6 of their group matches and scored 20 goals in doing so.
There are many players to watch out for in their squad, which blends youth with experience. If I had to name one then it would be Viña from Uruguay, he plays on the left and has been called up to the national team. He has all the characteristics of a modern winger, which means he is often on the attack, and his skill set is strengthened by the fact that he can now play left back.