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Club Deportivo O'Higgins


Club Deportivo O'Higgins

Full name O'Higgins Fútbol Club
Nickname(s) La Celeste (The Sky Blue)
El Capo de Provincia (The Province's Boss)
O'Hi O'Hi
Founded 7 April 1955 (1955-04-07) (59 years ago)
as Club Deportivo O'Higgins
Ground Estadio Parque El Teniente,
Rancagua, Chile
Ground Capacity 14,500
Owner Ricardo Abumohor
Manager Eduardo Berizzo
League Primera División
Transición 2013 4th
Website Club home page
Home colours
Away colours
Current season

O'Higgins Fútbol Club (Spanish: [oˈxiɣins ˈfutβol ˈkluβ]) also known as O'Higgins de Rancagua, is a Chilean football club based in Rancagua, that is current member of Primera División. The club's home stadium is the Estadio Parque El Teniente, opened in 1945 and re–established for the 1962 FIFA World Cup played in the country.

Founded in 1955, the club was named in honour of the country's founding father and supreme director Bernardo O'Higgins, after the merger of the clubs O'Higgins Braden and América de Rancagua. O'Higgins has won two Primera B titles, and in 2012 they reached the Torneo de Apertura finals against one of the country's most successful club Universidad de Chile, thanks to the head coach Eduardo Berizzo, former assistant manager of the coach Marcelo Bielsa in the Chilean national team. The team also has participated three times in the Copa Libertadores, and once in the Copa Conmebol in 1992. On 15 April 1979, against Venezuelan side Deportivo Galicia, the club achieved its biggest win in an international matchwinnin 6–0 at Rancagua. The top-scorer in the club's history with 114 goals is Aníbal González, who played during the 1980s.

The club emblem is a phoenix standing upon the club's colours. The club has a long-standing rivalry with regional neighbours Rangers de Talca. Despite of the lack of titles, this team is a traditional squad in the Chilean football, due to the massive support of the city, which led to the team be known as El Capo de Provincia and also as La Celeste in reference to the Uruguayan national team.



On 7 April 1955, after the merger of Rancagua's cross–town rival: O'Higgins Braden and América de Rancagua, the club was founded thanks to Carlos Dittborn, the president of the Asociación Central de Football, who offered to put the name of the O'Higgins that represents to the subsidiary and also workers of Codelco in the city, under the name of Braden Copper and also in reference to the country's founding father and also supreme director Bernardo O'Higgins, an important character of the Colonial Chile during the 1810s, identified with the city of Rancagua, after some problems between the former rivals América and Braden.

The colours of the club are originally from the Instituto O'Higgins, and the name was named as Parque El Teniente, before having the name of the company during the 1950s and change to the current name for the 1962 FIFA World Cup, in where played as home team at his group the Argentine football team. It was decided also that the sky blue will the uniform, based in Uruguay's uniform, earning then the nickname of La Celeste.

On 21 April 1955, the Asociación Central de Football decided that the team will play in the Primera División for the next season, being his first president, Nicolás Abumohor and his first head coach was Francisco Hormazábal. In his first league tournament, the club finished in the ninth place of the table under of Magallanes, playing also the promotion playoffs, in where failed to be relegated to the Primera B, ending in the second place of the liguilla under of Santiago Morning.

First seasons and Golden Age

In the 1957 season, still only four points of Universidad de Chile and Colo-Colo, teams champion of Primera División tournament, the club under the orders of the Argentine coach José Salerno, finished in third place alongside Santiago Wanderers, four points lower, making this form one of his most successful campaigns in contests of Primera División, with René Meléndez as the key player.

Seasons later, was relegated to the Segunda División the team after a 1963 Tournament's poor campaign. The next season, with the signings of the defender Federico Vairo and the attacking midfielder Mario Desiderio, both from the Argentine Primera División, the team returned to Primera División. In special, the performances of Vairo consecrated him as the best footballer in the club's history according the supporters of Rancagua, who chose the Rosarian centre back with the honour in 1999. Vairo also discovered Lionel Messi, taking it on trial to River Plate, his former club. In the 1964 season, since the promotion, the club made regular seasons, finishing in mid-table and also suffered the departure of Federico Vairo and Mario Desiderio to the Colombian side Deportivo Cali in 1966.

In the 1973 season, under the orders of the coaches Luis Vera and Jorge Aretio, behind of Unión Española and Colo-Colo, the team and Huachipato finished in the third place, returning to the success of this form. After a notable 1978 tournament, the team reached the qualification to the following edition of the Copa Libertadores, in where achieved his biggest win for an international contest against Deportivo Galicia, beating to the Venezuelan side at Parque El Teniente in the city of Rancagua, and also achieved his most important away win for an international tournament, winning 1–0 at Valencia to the same Galicia. The performances achieved under Luis Santibáñez as head coach was very well, after of be eliminated in by Palestino in the first round, failing to qualify to the semifinal against Paraguayan side Olimpia, because the team of La Cisterna won 1–0 to Rancagua's club with a goal of the historic centre back Elías Figueroa.

The team directed by Luis Santibáñez reached the fifth place in the Primera División, qualifying to the 1980 Copa Libertadores, via the Libertadores Liguilla, after a notable unbeaten of five matches, finishing in the first position over powerhouse clubs Universidad de Chile and Cobreloa and the mid-club also traditional in Chile, Unión Española of the Independencia neighborhood.

Continental appearances

While managing indifferent league form in the early 1980s, the club had its first South American success in the form of the Copa Libertadores. In the 1980 season, O'Higgins reached the semifinals, being eliminated by Uruguay's Club Nacional. The 1984 edition of the Libertadores, the club finished last of his group, in where Universidad Católica, Bolivar and Blooming integrated the group with the team of Rancagua, whilst for the league tournament, the Primera División, making regular campaigns, the last season, the club defeated 6–1 to Colo-Colo with elite footballers in the 1983 season, establishing of this form an unpublished fact.

After the financial problems of Codelco, the company owner of the club, Rancagua's club relegated to the Primera B in the 1985 season, with also possibilities of be relegated to the Tercera División for another controversies related with Codelco. The next season, with the defenders Gabriel Mendoza and Atilio Marchioni as key players, the club returned to the Primera División, after an exiciting final with Lota Schwager at Talca. Years later, the club hired to Manuel Pellegrini as coach for face the 1992 Copa Conmebol, in where was eliminated by Argentine side Gimnasia de La Plata in the quarterfinals, in that occasion with players like Claudio Borghi, who won the 1986 FIFA World Cup celebrated in Mexico, the talented playmaker Jaime Riveros and the striker Gustavo De Luca, one of most prolific goalscorers in the Chilean football during the 1990s.

In the 1994 season, under the orders of Roberto Hernández, O'Higgins reached the Copa Chile finals, after of beat 2–1 at the Estadio Nacional to Universidad de Chile in the semifinals with goals of Moyano and Soto for the sky blues and for the lions scored Marcelo Salas. However, in the final against Colo-Colo, the club lost in the penalties, whilst for the Primera División tournament, Rancagua's side finished in the third place of the table, not achieving its Copa Libertadores' qualification. The next season, O'Higgins failed to qualify in the liguilla for play the Libertadores, ending only in the sixth position of the Primera División tournament, under of Cobreloa, team that reached the playoffs liguilla in the fifth place.

The Instability: 1996–2004

In the 1996 season, the club made a signed great players, having a great team with Clarence Acuña as central midfielder, in the creation the Argentine playmaker Gerardo Martino, the footballer that comes from Argentine Primera División side Newell's Old Boys, whilst were released as strikers: Carlos Poblete and Ariel Cozzoni. However, the team lost the category, relegating to the Primera B, after of finish under of Regional Atacama in the table's bottom. Two years later, under the orders of René Serrano, the team achieved promotion to the Primera División. In 1999, the club of Rancagua finished in the tenth place, in where Mario Núñez and Jaime González also began the most successful goalscorer pair in the Chilean football with 57 goals between both strikers. In the 2001 season, with financial problems and a poor season, the team lost the category, returning to the Primera B with the coach Guillermo Páez in the charge.

In 2002, under Luis Droguett's orders, the club nearly achieved the Primera División return with a successful season of Rodrigo Ramírez, talented player that earned the nickname of Garrincha, making reference to the famous Brazilian footballer that played in the 1962 World Cup. The 2003 season, the club failed via the promotion playoffs to promote to the first tier, after of loss 2–0 with Everton at Parque El Teniente in Rancagua, making a similar season in the 2004 year, again failed his Primera División's promotion after of be defeated by Deportes Melipilla, under the orders of the Paraguayan head coach or manager Sergio Nichiporuk, who was fired then.

Despite of the sports failure, the club crossed hard financial problems, because Codelco not took care of that and also of the irregularities in the board, of several years ago. However, in December 2004, was reported that the ANFP's former president and entrepreneur Ricardo Abumohor would buy the team for fix the situation.

Garcés and Sampaoli era

In 2005, the club was owned by ANFP's former president, Ricardo Abumohor, who bought the team to Codelco, having the Primera B title as principal objective for return to the Primera División, achieving also that objective, defeating 4–3 to Deportes Melipilla in the aggregate for the promotion with Hugo Brizuela and Mario Núñez as the key players of the success. The next season, the club signed Jorge Garcés as coach, qualifying for the playoffs of the Torneo de Clausura, being eliminated by Audax Italiano due to a Rubén Selman's controversial arbitration. In the 2007 season, O'Higgins finished twelfth in the table of the Apertura's table and eliminated by Colo-Colo at the playoffs for the Clausura, after a 5–0 precipitous loss at Rancagua, that sealed the key for the whites with a back tie at Santiago.

In December 2007, after the departure of Jorge Garcés to Deportes Concepción, the club reached an agreement with Jorge Sampaoli of Sporting Cristal, who took over the work for direct from the club's bench. Sampaoli made a successful season during the Apertura 2008, with talented players like Jean Beausejour and Carlos Carmona, still below of Universidad Católica in the 3rd place and being eliminated in the playoffs by Universidad de Chile. In the Clausura, making a similar season, the team was eliminated by Palestino in the quarterfinals. The next year, Sampaoli was fired after a game with Universidad de Concepción, due to a bad results, not qualifying after to the playoffs in the Clausura and being eliminated before during the Apertura, after a 6–1 defeat with Unión Española for the quarterfinals at the Estadio Santa Laura.

After the regular last season, the board again signed to Roberto Hernández as coach for the 2010 Campeonato Petrobras, having a very regular first part, so it was fired and arrived Marco Antonio Figueroa for replace to the last coach during the FIFA World Cup break. The most important achievements of Figueroa in the bench was beat 1–0 to the Universidad de Chile at the Estadio Nacional and 2–1 to Colo-Colo at Parque El Teniente, however the team finished in the 10th place and Figueroa left the club for Mexican side Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz.

The club's board signed up to Ivo Basay for face the 2011 season, making a very well regular phase, with Fernando De la Fuente and Enzo Gutiérrez as key players. In the playoffs stage, O'Higgins beat Palestino, reaching the seminfinals against Universidad de Chile, in where was defeated 8–1 in the aggregate.

Eduardo Berizzo and the fight for the title

For the 2012 season, the year started of abrupt form with Fernando De la Fuente's departure after a strong discussion with Eduardo Berizzo and also with the goalkeeper's coach Roberto Bonano, being confirmed then that the player will be loaned to Deportes La Serena, lossing of this form to one of the best defensive midfielders of the Chilean football for face the Torneo de Apertura.[1] However, the club's board surprised to Rancagua with the signings of the Argentine talented attacking midfielder Ramón Fernández, former footballer of Unión La Calera, who was tempted by country's powerhouse clubs: Colo-Colo and Universidad de Chile, after a very well year,[2] the Paraguayan footballer Rodrigo Rojas, who played for teams like River Plate, and finally to Julio Barroso, defender champion of the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup with Argentina that played for Boca Juniors.

On 27 January 2012, the club achieved his first triumph in the Torneo de Apertura against Antofagasta at the Estadio Parque El Teniente with a goal of Ramón Fernández in the 42nd minute,[3][4] lossing at the capital 1–0 with Colo-Colo, the next match.[5] On 25 February, the team achieved his most important victory against Universidad de Chile at Rancagua, with goals of Enzo Gutiérrez, Guillermo Suárez and Fernández, in where Luis Marín saved a penalty to Marcelo Díaz, earning of this form the first place,[6] that lost when Universidad Católica in March defeated 2–1 to the team at El Teniente,[7] then achieving with Julio Barroso and Rodrigo Rojas as the key players, the team achieved four consecutive wins, that finished when Huachipato defeated 2–1 to the club with goals of the striker Manuel Villalobos and the left back José Contreras,[8] but despite of the defeat at the city of Talcahuano, the team lead by Eduardo Berizzo, after of beat 5–0 to Palestino at Rancagua,[9] on 28 April, more than of one hundred fans traveled for view the qualification of his team to the Copa Sudamericana, after of a 1–0 away victory over Santiago Wanderers with a goal of the midfielder Enzo Gutiérrez at Valparaíso.[10]

On 23 June 2012, after a successful regular phase in the second place under Universidad de Chile at the top of the table,[11] in the playoffs faced to Unión La Calera in the quarterfinals.[12] The first match at La Calera, the team won 1–0 with a free kick goal of Ramón Fernández, who played the last season in that club, not celebrating the goal,[13] in Rancagua for the second match, the club again won, now for a 3–2 victory, thanks to Enzo Gutiérrez, who scored a peace of goal after an incredible bicycle kick that defeated to the keeper Lucas Giovini.[14] The next key, the club faced to Unión Española in the semifinals at Santiago, in where with a goal of the playmaker Emiliano Vecchio the club was defeated at the Estadio Santa Laura,[15] finally winning 2–1 at the second match with goals of Luis Pedro Figueroa and Rodrigo Rojas, whilst for the club of Independencia, scored the striker Sebastián Jaime.[16] The next game, now for the finals against the club Universidad de Chile, O'Higgins beat for the same scored of the last match to the team of the University, with goals of Rojas and the Argentine full back Alejandro López, whilst for the blues scored Guillermo Marino.[17] O'Higgins was the Primera División champion of the Torneo de Apertura, until the 92nd minute of game in the Estadio Nacional, because with annotations of Charles Aránguiz and the same Marino, the club equalized the key, winning 2–0 in the penalties thanks to the blues' keeper Jhonny Herrera, who saved three penalties to Rodrigo Rojas, Yerson Opazo and Enzo Gutiérrez.[18] However, the match was not exempt of polemics, because the referee Enrique Osses conceded a non–existent penalty to Marino, that was scored by Aránguiz, and unfairly red-carded to the centre back Julio Barroso, after an aggression of the right back José Rojas of Universidad de Chile.[19]


Main article: Estadio Parque El Teniente
Estadio Parque El Teniente
Opened 1945
Capacity 14,450
Field dimensions 105 m × 68 m (344 ft × 223 ft)

The home ground of club is the Estadio Parque El Teniente, built in September 1945 and located in Rancagua, being named Braden Copper Company Stadium, because that company was the stadium's owner. The first professional game was during the 1955 Primera División tournament, in a match that O'Higgins won 3–2 to Ferrobádminton.[20]

In 1960, after the 9.5 Earthquake of Valdivia that destroyed the original venues of the 1962 FIFA World Cup, the Chilean delegation designed to the city of Rancagua as venue, after the refusal of Valparaíso and Antofagasta. The first international match was between Argentina and Bulgaria, in where with a goal of Héctor Facundo, the South Americans defeated to the Europeans on 30 May,[21] being the home local stadium of all matches related to the Group D, and one quarterfinal game between West Germany and Yugoslavia.

The Government of Chile, acquired the 51% of shares to United States' Braden Copper Company in 1967, as part of the copper nationalization, that culminated four years later, becoming property of Codelco Chile, being re–named with the current name of Parque El Teniente, in reference to mine ubicated in locality of Machalí.

On 6 May 2011, was reported that would be feature in the 2015 Copa América, with capacity for 16,000 persons, being confirmed that new by the club's owner Ricardo Abumohor, the next year. In the 2013, the old stadium was demolished and start to be remodeling.[22]


Since the club's establishment in April 1955, more than of one thousand of the players on the team have been Chilean. Aníbal González and the former 1990s defender Gabriel Mendoza for example, were very important footballers during club's history.[23] González is the historic top−scorer of the club with more than 100 goals and is current member of the Chilean political party: UDI,[24] and Mendoza, who was part of the 1991 Copa Libertadores winning squad of Colo-Colo.[25] An important fact in the history of Chilean football was selected by the Trinchera Celeste at the 20th century ideal team of the club, and is current linked to show business, specifically on the reality shows of Canal 13.

Foreign players like Federico Vairo and Mario Desiderio of Argentina, have also been important players in the history of club. During the mid–1960s, the first footballer named was a former River Plate player, earning three consecutive Primera División titles, alongside players like the keeper Amadeo Carrizo, the midfielder Omar Sívori, among others, whilst the second at Calcio Catania and Estudiantes de La Plata, he had his most successful spells of his career, added to the club of Rancagua and Deportivo Cali. Another important player of the club is Enzo Gutiérrez, also Argentine, that is Universidad de Chile current player, who was part of the historic squad led by Eduardo Berizzo that earned the Torneo de Apertura runner–up, being the most important player of the team, alongside Ramón Fernández and the left midfielder Luis Pedro Figueroa.

The team has been several Argentine footballers in majority, but also players of Paraguay, Brazil and Venezuela have been in minority. The most recent players of that nationalities are Richard Blanco and Rodrigo Rojas. In 2006, under the orders of the manager Jorge Garcés, arrived Giancarlo Maldonado, striker of the Venezuelan football team, who was the first footballer of that nationality, and Aílton da Silva, seasons later, was the first player of Brazilian nationality in 2008, when the coach Jorge Sampaoli was in the bench.

First-team squad

As July 28, 2013 [26]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Chile GK Roberto González
2 Chile MF Braulio Leal
3 Chile DF Bastián San Juan
4 Chile DF Benjamín Vidal
5 Argentina DF Julio Barroso
6 Chile MF César Fuentes
7 Chile FW Luis Pedro Figueroa
8 Chile DF Yerson Opazo
9 Argentina FW Pablo Calandria
10 Argentina MF Pablo Hernández
11 Chile FW Francisco Pizarro
12 Chile GK Paulo Garcés
13 Chile MF Gonzalo Barriga
14 Chile MF Claudio Meneses
15 Chile MF Iván Pardo
16 Chile FW Osmán Huerta
No. Position Player
18 Argentina MF Fernando Gutiérrez
19 Chile FW Carlos Escobar
20 Chile DF Raúl Osorio
21 Chile MF Francisco Arancibia
22 Argentina DF Mariano Uglessich
23 Chile MF Roberto Órdenes
24 Argentina DF Alejandro López
25 Chile GK Felipe Ochagavía
26 Chile MF Santiago Lizana
27 Chile MF Nicolás Vargas
28 Chile MF Juan Fuentes
29 Chile DF Cristhian Venegas
32 Chile MF Henry Calderón
33 Argentina FW Saúl Flores
34 Chile DF Joaquín Cerezo

Team of The Century

In 1999, the fans of the club chose the team of the 20th Century. Among the players which are in the starting line-up are the Argentina defender Federico Vairo, Miguel Ángel Neira, Mario Núñez, Mario Desiderio and the top scorer of the history of the club, Aníbal González. The manager chose was Luis Santibáñez, which reached two of the three participations in the actually Copa Libertadores, obtaining as best result a semi-final in 1980. [27]


Since the establishment of the club, the board signed to Francisco Hormazábal for the Primera División tournament of 1955, being he the first coach of the team of Rancagua. After of the regular seasons in the league contest, the board hired to the European Carlos Snopec as manager, who was the first international coach of the club.[28]

More than 20 years later, the club achieved an historic season with Luis Santibáñez as coach, who qualified to O'Higgins to the 1980 Copa Libertadores' semifinals.[29] However, by the Uruguayan side Club Nacional was eliminated the team, with goals of Eduardo de la Peña and Waldemar Victorino, being defeated at the Estadio Parque Central for 2–0, failing of this form to play against Internacional de Porto Alegre in the finals.[29] In early 1990s, the club's board signed to the coach Manuel Pellegrini for face the 1992 Copa Conmebol, in where unfortunately was immediately eliminated by Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata of Argentina.[30] Then, with a prior spell of Nelson Acosta, who potentiated players like Jaime Riveros for example, in 1994, the club achieved the finals of Copa Chile, being runner–up under Roberto Hernández as coach.[31]

In 2006, the team made his first important campaign for a Torneo de Clausura under the orders of Jorge Garcés as coach, who abandoned the institution the following season, after of loss 5–0 with Colo-Colo.[32] In December 2007, Ricardo Abumohor, the club's owner, reported that hired to Jorge Sampaoli as coach for face the tournament,[33] in where he made regular seasons with players like Jean Beausejour and Carlos Carmona as key players into the scheme of the Argentine.[33] After a regular tournament in the 2010 tournament,[34] then with a prior spell the next league tournament of the coaches Ivo Basay in the first semester,[35] whilst in the next José Cantillana,[36] in January 2012, the club's board signed to the coach Eduardo Berizzo alongside his assistant coach and former River Plate's goalkeeper in 1980s, Roberto Bonano,[37] reaching the Torneo de Apertura finals against the Universidad de Chile, directed by the coach Jorge Sampaoli, an old acquaintance, being runners–up after of loss in the penalties 2–0 with scores of Charles Aránguiz and Raúl Ruidíaz, the international striker of the Peruvian national team.[38]

Club badge and colours

Main article: O'Higgins F.C. kit

The current badge is a Phoenix over the colours yellow and green, that means the aforementioned merger between América de Rancagua and O'Higgins Braden in mid–1950s, thanks to the management of Carlos Dittborn, president of the Professional football commission, now the current ANFP. Several people of Rancagua secure that the phoenix represents to the Chilean historic city, in where the founding father and hero of the country, Bernardo O'Higgins, led to his army on win the Battle of Rancagua against the Spaniards, highlighting that the club's name are in honour of him.

The club's current home kit colours are sky blue and white, whilst the traditional away colours are yellow in honour to América, a former Primera División team, but the current second kit have as current away colour are white. In the 2010 Campeonato Petrobras, O'Higgins weared the former kit of O'Higgins Braden as away colours, as seen in the image to Enzo Gutiérrez celebrating a goal with that uniform during the 1–0 victory in the country's capital over Universidad de Chile at the Estadio Nacional. An unusual fact was that the 2012 Torneo de Apertura first leg final at Estadio Parque El Teniente against the Santiago de Chile's team Universidad de Chile, the team played with the away kit colours in Rancagua, city in where the team is local. That game finished certainly in a 2–1 victory for O'Higgins with goals of midfielder Rodrigo Rojas and the left back Alejandro López, whilst for the blues was Guillermo Marino.

Current Sponsors


Supporter groups

  • Trinchera Celeste (barra brava)
  • Arca de Noé
  • Los Celestes (dissolved)
  • Clan Celestín (dissolved)

Rancagua Derby

Main article: Rancagua derby

In their history, the club hasn't a defined classic rival, with Enfoque's establishment, the club plays the Rancagua derby since 2011, the top–scorer of that derby is the Argentine striker Guillermo Suárez. The last game between both clubs occurred during a 2–2 Copa Chile away draw, with scores of the midfielder Boris Sagredo and Suárez, after going ahead by a two goals difference, and the prior match played at El Teniente, O'Higgins won of a very comfortable form 3–0 with goals of Guillermo Suárez, Tomás Lizana and the striker Enzo Gutiérrez, being in the bench Ivo Basay in that opportunities. In 2013, the clubs played a friendly game, where O'Higgins win 3-1.

Tomé Tragedy

On February 9, 2013, after the match between the club and Huachipato, a group of fans traveled in a bus to Tomé, where in the Cuesta Caracol melted down causing the death of 16 fans. The event marked the Chilean football, the city of Rancagua and Tomé, so that a date of mourning decreed in the different leagues of the ANFP, and a days in Rancagua and Tomé.

Current rankings



Primera División
Segunda División
Copa Libertadores Liguilla
Copa Chile

See also


External links

Official websites

  • (Spanish)
  • (Spanish) Facebook
  • (Spanish) Twitter
  • (Spanish) ANFP official website

News sites

  • (Spanish) La Celeste a Fan site
  • (Spanish) Capo de Provincia a Fan site
  • (Spanish) Soy Celeste a Fan site

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