With most of the continent still enjoying the holidays, the Chilean and Colombian leagues resumed hostilities with a win for Catolica and a penalty-strewn clasico draw in Bogota
Universidad Catolica began their campaign to reassert themselves at the top of Chilean football with a 2-1 at the weekend, downing Palestino in 2012's first league fixture. The Cruzado got past Palestino to record maximum points, with Uruguayan former Penarol star Matias Mier and Kevin Harbottle on target.
Fellow giants Colo Colo, meanwhile, were held to a draw by Deportes Iquique, and showed little sign on improving on a tepid 2011 season which ended in disappointment. Their opponents showed more attacking enterprise across the 90 minutes, but could not find the net and had to settle for a goal-less tie.
Colombia international Dorlan Pabon created all the headlines in the first round of 2012's Apertura for Atletico Nacional, and was outstanding in the side's 4-0 destruction of rivals Deportivo Cali. The forward hit a marvellous hat-trick as Nacional cruised to victory in Medellin, while Juan Valencia also scored a well-taken free kick in a one-sided clasico.
Meanwhile, the Clasico Capitalino ended with honours shared, as Millonarios and Santa Fe played out a 1-1 draw in El Campin. The game was decided by two penalties; goalkeeper Nelson Perez converted from the spot to give Millonarios an early lead, before Omar Perez restored equality for their Bogota rivals also from 12 yards.