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Colo-Colo survive nervy playoff to avoid relegation to Chilean 2nd tier

Tom Gott
Feb 18, 2021, 2:00 PM GMT
Colo-Colo survived what would have been a famous relegation
Colo-Colo survived what would have been a famous relegation | ANDRES PINA/Getty Images

Colo-Colo, the most successful club in the history of Chilean football, continued their 96-year long stay in the top flight after emerging victorious in a nervy relegation battle on Wednesday.

Founded in 1925, Colo-Colo have won no fewer than 32 Primera Division titles, the last of which came in 2017, and they even won the Chilean Super Cup in both 2017 and 2018.

Colo-Colo needed a playoff to avoid relegation
Colo-Colo needed a playoff to avoid relegation | DRAGOMIR YANKOVIC/Getty Images

They finished second in the league in 2019, but things fell off a cliff in the 2020 season. After the first 20 games, they had managed just 17 points, and only two sides in history had ever managed to avoid relegation from the same situation.

Colo-Colo finished the season strongly, losing just twice in their final 14 games, and they looked to have avoided the need for a playoff, only to concede a 96th-minute penalty against O'Higgins which saw them drop into a playoff game against Universidad de Concepcion - a game Colo-Colo described as 'the most important final of all' on Twitter.

Security had to be stepped up for the game after a group of Colo-Colo fans paraded around the stadium with a banner reading 'win or we kill you', although they did receive more positive messages of support from former players like Inter's Arturo Vidal.

The game saw just one goal, courtesy of 19-year-old Argentinian Pablo Solari, who fired home what could well end up being the most important strike of his career in the 19th minute of the game.

Players and staff celebrated like they had never celebrated before after the final whistle, allowing them to wash their hands of this nightmare of a season in the hope of getting back to their former glory next time around.

South American football has seen an alarming trend of once-great sides slipping into relegation battles recently.

River Plate were stunningly relegated from the Argentinian first division in 2011, before Brazil's Cruzeiro and Peru's Alianza Lima dropped down in 2019 and 2020 respectively, but Colo-Colo have managed to avoid adding their names to that list.

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