|Chile Primera Division||04/16 20:00||10||Union La Calera vs O'Higgins||-||View|
|Chile Primera Division||04/23 20:00||11||Universidad Catolica vs O'Higgins||-||View|
|Chile Primera Division||04/30 20:00||12||O'Higgins vs Union Espanola||-||View|
|Chile Primera Division||05/07 20:00||13||Cobresal vs O'Higgins||-||View|
|Chile Primera Division||05/14 20:00||14||O'Higgins vs Everton de Vina||-||View|
|Chile Primera Division||05/21 20:00||15||Palestino vs O'Higgins||-||View|
|Chile Primera Division||03/18 21:00||9|| O'Higgins v Coquimbo Unido ||L||0-2|
|Chile Primera Division||03/13 23:30||8|| Audax Italiano v O'Higgins ||D||2-2|
|Chile Primera Division||03/04 21:00||7|| O'Higgins v Curico Unido ||D||2-2|
|Chile Primera Division||02/27 23:30||6|| Deportes Copiapo v O'Higgins ||D||2-2|
|Chile Primera Division||02/19 21:00||5|| O'Higgins v Universidad de Chile ||L||0-1|
|Chile Primera Division||02/12 21:00||4||Nublense v O'Higgins||-||PPT.|
|Chile Primera Division||02/06 23:00||3|| O'Higgins v Huachipato ||L||0-1|
|Chile Primera Division||01/29 21:00||2|| O'Higgins v Colo Colo ||W||5-1|
|Chile Primera Division||01/20 21:00||1|| Magallanes v O'Higgins ||W||0-1|
|Chile Primera Division||11/05 15:30||30|| O'Higgins v Everton de Vina ||W||2-0|
|Chile Primera Division||10/30 20:30||29|| Colo Colo v O'Higgins ||L||2-0|
|Chile Primera Division||10/21 22:30||28|| O'Higgins v Cobresal ||W||1-0|
|Failed to score||13||4||9|
O'Higgins Fútbol Club (Spanish: [oˈxiɣins ˈfuðβol ˈkluβ]), also known as O'Higgins de Rancagua, is a Chilean professional football club based in Rancagua, that currently plays in the Campeonato Nacional. The club's home stadium is Estadio El Teniente, opened in 1945 and renovated for the 2015 Copa América, which was hosted by Chile.
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 2013 they won their first top-flight championship against Universidad Católica, coached by Eduardo Berizzo; they later won the 2014 Supercopa de Chile on penalty kicks against Deportes Iquique.
On 7 April 1955, after the merger of Rancagua's cross–town rival: O'Higgins Braden (that was born in 1954 from the merger between Braden F.C. and Instituto O'Higgins) 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, which represents workers of Codelco in the city, under the name of Braden Copper; the name was also chosen in reference to the country's founding father and supreme director Bernardo O'Higgins, an important character of the Colonial Chile during the 1810s, who also identified with the city of Rancagua.
The colours of the club were originally from the Instituto O'Higgins, which were red, blue, and white. However, the Football Federation of Chile prohibited using the colors of the national team, so the club directors decided that the uniform would be sky blue, based on Uruguay's uniform, earning then the nickname of La Celeste. The stadium was named Estadio Braden Copper Company after the name of the company from its opening until the 1962 FIFA World Cup, when the name was changed to its current name, Estadio El Teniente, based on the El Teniente mine.
On 21 April 1955, the Asociación Central de Football decided that the team will play in the Primera División for the next season, with the first president being Nicolás Abumohor and the first head coach being Francisco Hormazábal. Their first game in the Campeonato Nacional was a 2–0 loss to Unión Española on 8 May 1955. Their first win came on 22 May of that same year, a 3–2 home victory against Ferrobádminton. In their first league tournament, the club finished ninth in the table, which put them in the relegation play-offs, where they earned their permanence in the top tier.
The first great season of the club was in the 1959 season, where the club finished in fourth place under the orders of Argentine coach José Salerno, only four points behind league champion Universidad de Chile and behind third-placed team Santiago Wanderers on goal difference, making this one of its most successful Primera División campaigns, with José Benito Ríos as the key player and top scorer of the tournament with 22 goals.
A few seasons later, the team was relegated to the Segunda División after a poor campaign in 1963. 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 to the supporters of Rancagua, who chose the Rosarian centre back with the honour in 1999. Since the promotion in 1964, the club had average seasons, finishing mid-table, despite suffering the departures 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, O'Higgins and Huachipato both finished in third place behind of Unión Española and Colo-Colo, its best result since the 1959 season. In the 1975 season, the club was relegated again, but returned for the 1977 season after finishing runner up of the 1976 Primera B. After a notable 1978 tournament, where the team finished third in the league with Luis Santibáñez as head coach, it achieved qualification to the following edition of the Copa Libertadores by winning the Liguilla Pre-Libertadores, in which they achieved their biggest win for an international contest against Deportivo Galicia, beating the Venezuelan side 6–0 at El Teniente, and also achieved its most important away win for an international tournament, winning 1–0 in Valencia to the same Galicia. In the following season the club reached the fifth place in the league with Santibáñez as head coach again, qualifying to the 1980 Copa Libertadores via the Libertadores Liguilla after a notable unbeaten run of five matches, and winning the Liguilla over powerhouse clubs Universidad de Chile, Cobreloa and Unión Española.
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 edition, O'Higgins reached the semi-finals, being eliminated by finishing last in a group with Uruguay's Club Nacional and Paraguay's Club Olimpia. During the 1984 edition of the Libertadores, the club finished last in its group, which was made up of fellow Chileans Universidad Católica, and Bolivian clubs Bolivar and Blooming. In the league, the team had poor campaigns from 1981 to 1983, although the club defeated Colo-Colo 6–1 in the 1983 season, and reached their first Copa Chile final, where it lost to Universidad Catolica in a liguilla group.
After financial problems with Codelco, the company owner of the club, the club was relegated to the Primera B in the 1985 season, with the possibility of being relegated to the Tercera División for another controversy related to Codelco. The next season, the club won the regular season and qualified to the promotion playoffs, but failed to win the group that consisted of 6 teams. In the 1987 season, with the defenders Gabriel Mendoza and Atilio Marchioni as key players, the club returned to the Primera División, after an exciting final with Lota Schwager at Talca.
Years later, the club hired Manuel Pellegrini as coach for the 1992 Copa Conmebol, in which they were eliminated by Argentine side Gimnasia de La Plata in the first round, in that occasion with players like Claudio Borghi, who won the 1986 FIFA World Cup with Argentina, the talented playmaker Jaime Riveros and the striker Gustavo De Luca, one of the most prolific goalscorers in Chilean football during the 1990s. In the 1992 season the club finished 6th in the league's aggregate table, giving them an opportunity to qualify for the 1993 Copa Libertadores via the Liguilla, but the club eventually failed to qualify for continental competitions after losing to U Catolica. Midway through the 1993 season, Pellegrini left to manage U de Chile.
In the 1994 season, under the orders of Roberto Hernández, O'Higgins reached the Copa Chile finals, after beating Universidad de Chile 2–1 at the Estadio Nacional in the semi-finals. However, in the final against Colo-Colo, the club lost on penalties, whilst for the Primera División tournament, the Rancaguan side finished in the third place of the table, therefore missing out on achieving Copa Libertadores qualification. The next season, O'Higgins failed to qualify to the Libertadores Liguilla, ending only in the sixth position of the Primera División tournament.
In the 1996 season, the club signed great players, such as midfielder Clarence Acuña, Argentine playmaker Gerardo Martino, and strikers Carlos Poblete and Ariel Cozzoni. However, the team got relegated to the Primera B, after finishing last in the table. In 1997, an Apertura and Clausura format was used, which made it difficult to achieve promotion since it wasn't utilised in the Clausura. Although O'Higgins had great campaigns that season, finishing in the top 4 of both tournaments, it failed to achieve promotion.
Two years later, under the orders of René Serrano, the team achieved promotion to the First Division again. In 1999, the Rancagua club finished in tenth place, in which Mario Núñez and Jaime González also became the most successful goalscorer pair in Chilean football with 57 goals between both strikers. In the 2001 season, with financial problems and a poor season, it returned to the Primera B, having gone through three managers: Guillermo Páez, Rubén Espinoza, and Luis Droguett. Luis Droguett almost saved the club from being relegated, including a victory against Colo-Colo, but ultimately it was not enough to stay in the top tier.
In 2002, under Luis Droguett's orders, the club had a decent season in the second tier but wasn't fighting for the promotion playoffs. For the 2003 season, Droguett was replaced by Eduardo Salas. The economic problems in the club were evident again, and for the most part the club used youth players. These problems resulted in the club's failure to be promoted again, although they were in the promotion spots (top 2 of table) until a 2–0 loss with Everton, which moved the club to a fourth-place finish. The 2004 season was very similar to the previous season; although the club had a very promising start, it failed to reach the Primera División again after being defeated 3–0 by Deportes Melipilla, under the orders of the Paraguayan head coach Sergio Nichiporuk, who had replaced Eduardo Salas in June.
Despite the sports failure, the club was also experiencing hard financial problems, mainly because of Codelco but also because of irregularities in the board. However, in December 2004, it was reported that the ANFP's former president and entrepreneur Ricardo Abumohor would buy the team to fix the situation.
For the 2005 season, ex-goalkeeper Nelson Cossio became the club's new manager. However, the club started to distance itself from the promotion places after a run of six winless matches. After a draw to Deportes Copiapó in August, Cossio was sacked. Shortly after Cossio was sacked, the club was purchased by ANFP's former president, Ricardo Abumohor, who bought the team from Codelco, having the Primera B title as the principal objective for the return to the Primera División. He brought in manager Gerardo Silva as Cossio's replacement, and the club eventually achieved that long awaited objective, defeating Deportes Melipilla 4–3 on 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 Clausura, where they beat Coquimbo Unido in the quarter finals and were eliminated by Audax Italiano in the semi-finals with controversial decisions made by referee Rubén Selman. In the 2007 season, O'Higgins finished twelfth in the Apertura table and were eliminated by Colo-Colo during the playoffs for the Clausura. The first leg ended in a 5–0 precipitous loss at Rancagua; this result basically sealed the series for the whites with the second leg at Santiago, which finished 1–1, but 6–1 in Colo-Colo's favor on global.
In December 2007, after the departure of Jorge Garcés to Deportes Concepción, the club reached an agreement with Jorge Sampaoli of Sporting Cristal. Sampaoli had a successful season during the Apertura 2008, with talented players like Jean Beausejour and Carlos Carmona, finishing third in the league table but being eliminated in the playoff quarter-finals by Universidad de Chile. In the Clausura, it had a similar season, and the team was eliminated by Palestino in the quarter-finals. In 2009, Sampaoli was fired after a game with Universidad de Concepción, due to failing to qualify for the Clausura play-offs because of a 15th-placed league finish, and having suffered a 6–1 defeat with Unión Española for the Apertura play-off quarter-finals at Estadio Santa Laura.
The board signed Roberto Hernández again as coach for the 2010 season. Hernandez brought the team into the top 5 places into the table during the first half of the season, but after the FIFA World Cup break he started to have poor results, so he was fired and Marco Antonio Figueroa arrived as a replacement. The most important achievements of Figueroa's period was beating Universidad de Chile 1–0 at the Estadio Nacional and Colo-Colo 2–1; however the team finished in a mediocre 10th place and Figueroa left the club for Mexican club Veracruz.
The club's board signed up Ivo Basay to face the 2011 season, where the club finished fifth in the Apertura league table and qualified to the play-offs, with Fernando De la Fuente and Enzo Gutiérrez as key players. In the play-offs stage, O'Higgins beat Palestino, reaching the semi-finals against Universidad de Chile, in which they were defeated 8–1 on aggregate. Basay was sacked in the 2011 Clausura, with poor results and the 7–1 loss against U de Chile in the Apertura semi-finals being the deciding factors.
In December 2011, the club's board signed manager Eduardo Berizzo for the 2012 season. The year started of abrupt form with Fernando De la Fuente's departure after a strong discussion with new head coach Berizzo and his assistant, Roberto Bonano. It was then confirmed that the player would be loaned to Deportes La Serena, which meant that O'Higgins were losing of this form one of the best defensive midfielders in Chilean football to face the Torneo de Apertura, given that De la Fuente had a great 2011 season.
However, the club's board surprised the public with the signings of Argentine attacking midfielder Ramón Fernández, who had previously been tempted by the country's powerhouse clubs: Colo-Colo and Universidad de Chile, the Paraguayan footballer Rodrigo Rojas, who played for River Plate, and finally defender Julio Barroso, who played for Boca Juniors and was champion of the 2005 U-20 World Cup with Argentina.
On 27 January 2012, Berizzo achieved his first competitive victory with the club in a league match against Antofagasta with a goal from new signing Ramón Fernández, narrowly losing the next match at the capital Santiago with Colo-Colo 1–0. On 25 February, the team achieved its most important victory against Universidad de Chile at home, a 3–0 victory with goals from Enzo Gutiérrez, Guillermo Suárez and Ramon Fernández, in where Luis Marín saved a penalty to keep a clean sheet, earning of this form the first place in the league table, which was lost when Universidad Católica defeated the team 2–1 on 11 March. Despite this loss, the team achieved four consecutive wins, with Julio Barroso and Rodrigo Rojas as the key players, a run that finished when Huachipato defeated the club 2–1 on 15 April. Despite the defeat at the city of Talcahuano, the team bounced back and beat Palestino 5–0 at home in the next match. The following week, a 1–0 away victory over Santiago Wanderers in Valparaíso gave the club qualification to the 2012 Copa Sudamericana, where they were eliminated by Cerro Porteño in the first stage 7–3 on aggregate.
The team qualified for the play-offs after a successful Apertura tournament, where the club finished second in the table, only under U. de Chile. The club had to begin the play-offs by facing Unión La Calera in the quarter-finals. In the first match at La Calera on 24 May, the team won 1–0 with a free kick scored by Ramón Fernández, who did not celebrate the goal as he was planning to leave the club at the conclusion of the season. In Rancagua for the second match, the club clinched a 3–2 victory, thanks to Enzo Gutiérrez, who scored an incredible bicycle kick that defeated keeper Lucas Giovini. In the semi-finals, the club faced Unión Española at Santiago in the first leg, where the club was defeated 1–0 at the Estadio Santa Laura, but won the second match 2–1 with goals of Luis Pedro Figueroa and Rodrigo Rojas, earning a spot in the finals for the first time in its history on the away goals rule, after the 2–2 aggregate score.
In the first leg of the finals against U. de Chile, O'Higgins beat "La U" at home 2–1 with goals of Rojas and the Argentine full back Alejandro López. In the second leg on 2 July, played at the Estadio Nacional, the scoreline was 1–1 which put O'Higgins up 3–2 on aggregate, and was about to win their first league title by becoming Torneo de Apertura champions, until the 92nd minute, because with Guillermo Marino's goal the series was equalized at 3–3 and the match went to penalties. "La U" won the penalty shootout 2–0 thanks to their keeper Jhonny Herrera, who saved three penalties. However, the match was full of controversy, because the referee Enrique Osses conceded a non–existent penalty to Marino, that was scored by Aránguiz, and unfairly red-carded centre back Julio Barroso, after Universidad de Chile defender José Rojas had initially taunted Barroso.
In the Torneo Transición 2013, Berizzo brought in many reinforcements such as Osmán Huerta, Mariano Uglessich, Braulio Leal, Gonzalo Barriga and Pablo Calandria among others. In this tournament the club also played the last official match at Estadio El Teniente, after it was awarded for renovations ahead of the 2015 Copa America, rotating between Estadio Santa Laura, Estadio La Granja and Estadio Monumental David Arellano during the rest of the tournament.
After the away victory against Huachipato at Estadio CAP in the third matchday of the league, an unfortunate tragedy happened. On 9 February 2013 at around midnight in Tomé, a bus carrying O'Higgins fans crashed and 16 fans died. Instead of going back to Rancagua, the fans decided to make a stop in Dichato for a festival. Out of 37 fans in the bus, 16 died and 21 were injured. As a result of the tragic accident, a three-day mourning was declared in Tomé and Rancagua, and fans made a farewell to the deceased at the Estadio El Teniente.
O'Higgins eventually finished fourth after an acceptable campaign, where it was beaten by Unión Española, Universidad Católica and Cobreloa. However, the club had to finish third to qualify for the Copa Sudamericana, and therefore missed out.
For the 2013–14 Torneo Apertura, O'Higgins is reinforced with players like Fernando Gutiérrez, Francisco Pizarro and Pedro Pablo Hernández. The club started playing this tournament against Deportes Iquique, and win with a goal that was eventually scored by the tournament's top scorer, Pablo Calandria. In the next match the club defeats Deportes Antofagasta 2–1 with goals from Pizarro and Gonzalo Barriga. On the next match day, the club tied with Audax Italiano but after that they team went on a significant winning streak, which began by beating Cobresal in El Salvador, and then Cobreloa, Universidad de Concepción, Universidad Católica, Unión Española and a victory over Unión La Calera in the final minutes, with the club only losing two games against Palestino and Colo-Colo.
On 7 December 2013, the last match day of the championship, the club has to visit Rangers de Talca, where the team starts losing with a Mauricio Gómez goal, but the team did not give up and turned the game around in their favor with a penalty from Pablo Calandria and a goal from Julio Barroso. In the second half, it seemed like the title was slipping from their hands, because Rodolfo González and Esteban Ciaccheri scored at the Estadio Fiscal de Talca, to put the score at 3–2 in favor of Rangers.
Berizzo makes changes and substitutes Francisco Pizarro and Osmán Huerta into the match, and Huerta, with his first touch of the game, overcomes goalkeeper Nicolás Peric and ties the game at 3–3 with 10 minutes left, but in the 90' Calandria was brought down in the penalty box and referee Patricio Polic awarded a penalty for O'Higgins, along with red-carding Rangers goalkeeper Peric. Since Rangers had already used up all of their available substitutions, midfielder Hugo Diaz had to be the goalkeeper. At the same time, Universidad Católica was winning against La Calera in Quillota, so if O'Higgins tied or lost then Universidad Catolica would be the champion. In the last minute of the match, Calandria scored his penalty, unleashing the wild celebrations of 4,500 fans, with the club having completed an epic comeback to win the match 4–3, after Universidad Católica overcame La Calera 2–0.
After a hard-fought championship title fight against Universidad Católica, both finish the tournament with the same number of points. This meant there had to be a tiebreaking game, after an amendment to championship rules, since before the modification the champion was whoever had a better goal difference if both teams had the same number of points. This was the case for the 2013 tournament, in which Unión Española and Universidad Católica had equal points until the last matchday, but the league championship was given to Union Española because it had a better goal difference.
On 10 December 2013, in front of a sold-out Estadio Nacional de Chile, O'Higgins clinched a victory against the Crusaders, with Pablo Hernández scoring the only goal of the match, who ultimately entered club history and in the hearts of the fans as the person to give the club its first Primera División league title.
After winning the final of the 2013 Torneo Apertura, the club returns to the Copa Libertadores after almost three decades, (their last participation was in 1984), participating in Group 3 with Cerro Porteño, Deportivo Cali and Lanús. The first game was played against Lanús on 13 February 2014 at Estadio Ciudad de Lanús, where the match ends 0–0. In the second match, O'Higgins faced Deportivo Cali at Estadio Monumental in Santiago, where Yerson Opazo put the ball past Colombian goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón, becoming the first player to score for the club in a Copa Libertadores match in 30 years, with the match ending 1–0 in favor of the celestes. In the third match the club played at the Estadio Monumental again, this time against Cerro Porteño, where the Rancaguan club began winning 2–0 with one of the goals being scored by Eduardo Alejandro López from a nice free-kick. However, after midfielder Braulio Leal was sent off, the momentum decreased and the Paraguayan club tied the game 2–2.
In the next meeting the club played Cerro Porteño again but this time at Estadio General Pablo Rojas, where the club are defeated 2–1. In the fifth match the club traveled to Colombia to face Deportivo Cali at Estadio Olímpico Pascual Guerrero, where Yerson Opazo scored one of the best goals in the tournament from about 30 meters, but Deportivo Cali's Néstor Camacho tied the game at 1–1, and it finished with that score.
In the last group stage match against Lanus, O'Higgins returned to Estadio El Teniente after its renovation for the 2015 Copa América. O'Higgins had the chance to make the next round, but Calandria's penalty was saved by Agustín Marchesín, and the game ended 0–0, which meant the celestes were eliminated from the cup. O'Higgins finished with 7 points and in third place of its group.
In the Clausura 2014, O'Higgins ended in third place with 30 points, and in the Accumulated Table as second with 69 points, (surpassing Colo-Colo, Clausura champions) which qualified it to play the Supercopa de Chile to see who would be the Superchampion. The game was played at the Estadio San Carlos de Apoquindo against 2013–14 Copa Chile champion Deportes Iquique. Iquique started winning the match with a goal from Rodrigo Ezequiel Díaz, and O'Higgins leveled the score five minutes before the end of the first half with a goal from Luis Pedro Figueroa. The match ended 1–1 after 120 minutes and went into penalties. O'Higgins won 3–2 after Rodrigo Brito of Deportes Iquique missed his penalty, unleashing the joy of over 6,000 celeste fans who came to the Santiago Metropolitan Region, and becoming the second Superchampion of Chilean football.
Shortly after winning the Supercopa, Berizzo leaves O'Higgins and signs a contract with Spanish club Celta de Vigo. Berizzo also signed Pablo Hernández and took him to Celta, while Facundo Sava, a friend of Berizzo, became the new coach in June 2014, but he was fired because of irregular results in January 2015. After that, another Argentine took charge of the club, this time Pablo Sánchez.