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The new arrival in the Azul is already easing the departure of so many Sudamericana heroes, as a glorious hat-trick led the Chileans to a crushing victory in midweek

Copa Libertadores Player of the Week: Junior Fernandes
Club: Universidad de Chile
Country: Chile
Age: 23
Role: Forward
Achievement: A hat-trick during his club's 5-1 destruction of Godoy Cruz to put their Copa campaign on track.


Success can often be a double-edged sword for South American teams that come to attention domestically and in international competition, and so it proved for Universidad de Chile. Jorge Sampaoli's team were electric in 2011, winning both Chilean championships and the Copa Sudamericana in a wonderful display of attacking, high-intensity football. But it came at a price.

Just at the point most teams would have wanted to consolidate for the coming year, in order to push on for the more prestigious Libertadores title, the Azul lineup was decimated. Eduardo Vargas, Gustavo Canales, Gabriel Vargas and other stars were sold after putting themselves in the shop window, although new acquisitions like Peruvian wizard Raul Ruidiaz and powerful young forward Junior Fernandes hope to minimise that impact.

Both men have impressed in their first glimpses of action for Universidad, but it was the Tocopilla native and graduate of the same Cobreloa academy as Edu Vargas and Alexis Sanchez that took all the plaudits on Wednesday evening. Having fallen to a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Atletico Nacional in the first round of matches, the Chileans needed a result, and inspired by Fernandes they got exactly what they were looking for.

The first of a marvellous hat-trick was controversial, as the forward appeared to kick the ball out of Sebastian Torrico's hands after being thwarted clean on goal. There was no doubt about the second, though, as Junior turned in a wonderful header which gave the Godoy No. 1 no chance. The Argentines hit back to make it 3-1, but the victory and the striker's triple were sealed with a calm finish which announced Universidad, and young Fernandes, as one to watch in this year's Copa Libertadores

Honourable Mentions

Dorlan Pabon, Atletico Nacional
: Only Fernandes' heroics stopped this explosive forward from claiming two Player of the Week titles in a row. Nevertheless, his two goals as well as a precise assist marked another wonderful performance from the Colombia international.

Mauro Obolo, Velez Sarsfield: The Argentines were struggling to overcome Chivas in Liniers until their new hitman stepped up to open the scoring and break the game open. Velez ran out 3-0 winners to maintain a 100 per cent record, and Obolo celebrated a fantastic return of four goals in as many games since moving to Liniers.

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