Last week saw not only saw Brisbane Roar’s remarkable unbeaten run come to an end but it also signalled the end of Huddersfield's equally remarkable run of 44 games without a loss. But all is not lost for fans of teams that don’t like the taste of defeat, as Chilean side Universidad de Chile racked up its 31st match without defeat on the weekend after defeating Unión Española.

Much like the football community here was transfixed by Brisbane Roar’s achievements, Chile is abuzz with the feats of the team that goes by any number of nicknames including La U, los azules (the blues) and los leones (the lions). What is even more remarkable about Universidad de Chile’s undefeated run is that it has come in the space of less than six months as it combines Clausura campaign with the knockout competition that is Copa Sudamericana,  the South American equivalent of the Europa Cup.

Also much like Roar, it is not only the fact that they have gone undefeated, it is the way that they have gone about their unbeaten run that also has everyone talking. Since the start of the year La U have been under the tutelage of Argentinean manager Jorge Sampaoli, a manager who readily describes himself as a student of Marcelo Bielsa.

In many ways this Universidad de Chile side is a carbon copy of Bielsa’s Chilean side that captured the imagination of many people in South Africa. The high-intensity, high-pressing game that characterise many of Bielsa’s teams is very much what los azules are all about. Some media in Brazil went as far as to describe them as the Barcelona of South America, which in my books is a little harsh on Ecuadorian Serie A side Barcelona.

Helping Sampaoli’s cause is that he has some outstanding players at his disposal, chief amongst them being striker, Eduardo Vargas. Vargas has the great combination of being able to get into the right place at the right time to finish off the hard work of his team mates but also has a fearsome shot from distance. These attributes have attracted the interest of many European clubs including Inter Milan and Chelsea.

Whilst Vargas may get plenty of the plaudits for his team’s success it would be remiss to give some credit to Marcelo Diaz and Charles Aranguiz, whose creativity and drive in the midfield provides so many goal scoring opportunities and has seen them receive call-ups for the national team. One player who should probably be playing for his country is goalkeeper Johnny Herrera, whose efforts between the posts have gone a long way to his team’s success so far this year. Unfortunately for many Chileans, the outspoken and talented Herrera has had a falling out with the manager of the national team, Claudio Borghi and won’t be pulling on the number one jersey for his country anytime soon. 

During this remarkable run you would also expect some records to be broken and that is certainly the case. Universidad de Chile’s nine consecutive wins at the start of the Clausura season created a new record since the short season format came into being in 2002 whilst their run of 544 minutes without conceding a goal in the Copa Sudamericana was a new benchmark for Chilean teams in the competition.

 Indeed it has been this competition that has provided many of the highlights for La U, including a 4-0 demolition of a Flamengo side featuring Ronaldinho in Rio de Janeiro, which was the biggest win by a Chilean side in Brazil. Having reached the final of the Copa Sudamericana it provides Universidad de Chile with an opportunity to break the duck of Chilean sides in this competition.

The team also has the opportunity to become the only second Chilean side to win a continental title with Colo Colo’s 1991 Copa Libertadores being the only triumph on the South American stage, much to the chagrin of many Chilean football fans. Standing in the way is Ecuadorian side, LDU Quito, who have won the Copa Libertadores in 2008 and the Copa Sudamericana in 2009, and definitely won’t be a pushover but one feels that fate and indeed momentum may very well be on the side of the team from Santiago, much like it was with Brisbane in last season’s Grand Final.