DLSU Football’s UAAP Season 78 campaign is off to a rousing start after both the Men’s and Women’s teams clinched opening-day victories over archrivals Ateneo before an energetic crowd at the Emperador Stadium in McKinley Hill, Taguig last weekend.
DLSU Women’s Football Team vs. ADMU Lady Eagles
The women’s squad looked to get on the scoreboard early on behind rookie midfielder Sara Castaneda and Kyla Inquig, while ADMU was awarded a free kick at the edge of the penalty box at the 13th minute, an attempt that would later be denied by DLSU goalkeeper and captain Inna Palacios.
Irish Navaja found rookie Shannon Arthur down the center, who in turn found Inquig to give DLSU the 1-0 lead at the 20th minute. The Lady Eagles responded with an equalizer at the 27th minute from the penalty spot courtesy of Cam Rodriguez as well as another goal at the 38th minute to take a 2-1 lead.
Arthur and Navaja looked to tie the game for the Green-and-White going into halftime, but both were denied by Marian Caparos.
A cross by Nicole Andaya from the right flank led to an own goal by ADMU to tie the game at 2-2 at the 51st minute and Arthur gave DLSU the 3-2 lead at the 68th minute, despite struggling early on and receiving a yellow card.
DLSU had an opportunity to seal the game in the 80th minute, only for Castaneda’s attempt on goal to be parried for an unsuccessful corner kick. Almost immediately, Ateneo equalized the scores at the 84th minute.
A crucial save by Palacios three minutes later kept the game at a 3-3 deadlock, as Castaneda, who asserted her midfield presence in the game, scored from a cross delivered by Arthur to put La Salle up, 4-3, in added time (90’+3), sealing the opening-day victory.
“It was a good character builder for them. They never let up,” DLSU head coach Hans Smit said after the game. “The fourth goal of the game was scored with about 15 minutes left. I just let them run, they were tired like ADMU, and not letting up was a good sign for us.”
DLSU Men’s Football Team vs. ADMU Blue Eagles
The men’s squad fielded a 4-1-4-1 formation with team captain Gelo Diamante upfront as striker, as the Blue Eagles looked to get on the scoreboard early in the game with a set piece at the third minute. It was, however, denied by Season 77 Best Goalkeeper Paeng De Guzman.
Greggy Yang took the opportunity to score at the sixth minute, only to be denied by the woodwork, but he opened the score line moments later at the 21st minute via set piece as his shot rattled off the woodwork and past the goal line to give DLSU the 1-0 lead. Yang, the Best Defender of Season 75, was interestingly deployed in the attacking midfielder role by Smit.
The Blue Eagles immediately equalized upon resumption of play, as Christian Castillo headed the ball past De Guzman to tie the game at 1-1.
Both Castillo and La Salle co-captain Nace Gonzales capitalized on defensive errors at the 32’ and 35’ mark, respectively, only to misfire over the crossbar. ADMU looked to capitalize on an error by De Guzman, but were denied by the Green-and-White back four to end the first half.
In the second half, Diamante looked to break the deadlock at the 62nd minute off a through ball from Jose Montelibano, only to end up shooting wide. La Salle was awarded a free kick at the edge of the box later on at the 79’ mark but ADMU goalkeeper JP Oracion denied Diamante from giving DLSU the lead.
The Blue Eagles were awarded a penalty kick after a foul by De Guzman inside the penalty box at the 84th minute, yet De Guzman to denied Emilio Acosta’s shot attempt.
“I was just thinking of the team, and I just wanted to win,” said De Guzman. “I just wanted to prove all of our supporters that I can do what they expect from me.”
Substitute Jiggs Cruz dribbled through the ADMU defense five minutes later to give DLSU the 2-1 lead in the dying moments of regulation, while Diamante sealed the victory for the Green-and-White off a Yang free kick in added time (90’+2).
“I’m really proud of the boys, especially proud of Paeng De Guzman who had so much heart to save that penalty,” said Diamante, who scored in the dying moments of regulation. “We’re so thankful for all the supporters who came out here tonight. We won it with everyone, (the supporters), and not just ourselves.”
Up next for the women’s team will be the FEU Lady Tamaraws on Saturday, Febuary 13, at 4:30 pm at the Emperador Stadium, followed by the men’s team, who will square off against the UP Fighting Maroons at 6:30 pm.
“Just keep on supporting football, and every other sport,” said Smit. “Come out and support both the men’s and women’s team because they need you now more than ever. We’ll also be supporting all the other teams of La Salle. I hope they can come in and support our football teams as well.”