At the University of Chile, they are ready to give the first blow of the season. Melgar, a Peruvian side who is at home in Arequipa at 2,400 meters, appears as the first rival in the fight to enter the group stage of the Copa Libertadores.
The truth is that the height worries. The training team devised a plan to keep players from drowning. The first measure was to suspend the friendly against Sporting Cristal, who was already awake, to prioritize the duel against the Cobreloa in Calama. Kudelka wanted to play in a court similar to Melgar's, try in height.
One of the points focuses on the preparation of archers. They are those who have seen their workouts modified. For some days they practice with heavier balls. The balls that today require the blue goalkeepers weigh 600 grams, and not the usual 450, to simulate the height: "They train with heavier balls because the impacts in height are stronger," explain technical staff.
Another point that takes note of the U emphasizes hydration during the day of the game. They will do this every time they do the duel, with isotonic drinks and water. They know that Melgar does not have many weapons to overcome, but that they will seek to take advantage of the time, to have her as an ally: "We do not feel much about the issue of height in Calama. As for fatigue and suffocation, we feel nothing "We only noticed by the speed of the ball," said defender Lucas Aveldaño.
The U will be the first Chilean team to open its official season. Kudelka could count on Henríquez for this visit to Melgar, to overcome his muscular problems. Zacaría, however, will be left out, as a precaution: "It is missing, but it will be on the second leg," says Dr. Fernando Radice.