In their second assignments of the season, the DLSU Men’s Football Team and Women’s Football Team triumphed over the UP Fighting Maroons and FEU Lady Tamaraws, respectively, last Saturday, February 13, at the Emperador Stadium.
The Women’s Team crushed FEU, 3-0, pulling off a statement win over last season’s champions. Meanwhile, the Men’s Football team overcame a slow start in the first half to defeat the UP Fighting Maroons, 1-0.
DLSU Women’s Football Team vs. FEU Lady Tamaraws
Kyla Inquig gave La Salle the early 1-0 lead at the 10th minute, while Nicole Andaya doubled their lead at the 13′ mark, to make the score 2-0. From the onset, it was clear that DLSU was in control of the match, with their work on both ends of the field clearly evident in the match’s opening minutes.
The Lady Tamaraws were unable to break the defense of La Salle, with Metillo and Arrieta anchoring the defense at the center back position. The defending champions clearly struggled, as they were flagged for offside multiple times throughout the match. DLSU Goalkeeper Inna Palacios also had minimal work to do, as La Salle earned their first clean sheet of the season.
On the offensive end, rookie playmaker Sara Castañeda and sophomore Irish Navaja controlled the midfield. The youthful center midfield duo was well aided by wingers Andaya and Chelo Hodges in connecting with strikers Shannon Arthur and Inquig.
La Salle was awarded a penalty after Kyra Dimaandal was brought down inside the penalty box at the 62′ mark. Castañeda put the Green-and-White up 3-0 from the penalty spot as she fired towards the right post and sent the ball past the FEU goalkeeper. With the victory, La Salle now has a maximum of six points in two games with a goal difference of +4.
“I’m very happy because everyone was stepping up, not just one or two persons,” said team captain Meryll Ledesma. “Everyone wants to play talaga so I think that’s our advantage this season. We’re so focused to get that goal [of winning the championship].”
DLSU Men’s Football Team vs. UP Fighting Maroons
UP dictated majority of the match with their short passing game, forcing La Salle to play the long ball on the counter attack. Team captain Gelo Diamante struggled in the first half as the midfield failed to provide support early on.
“In the first half they were just throwing the ball up to Gelo, which was useless because he was alone [upfront],” explained head coach Hans Smit. “Every time he’s there, even when he has no ball, there are at least two defenders on him.”
La Salle struggled to contain the UP offense, giving up numerous fouls on their end of the pitch. Team captain Daniel Gadia asserted his presence in the midfield defensively and offensively, as he created problems for the Green-and-White backline.
The Fighting Maroons continued to control the tempo of the game, forcing La Salle to sit back and defend. Despite controlling possession, UP failed to capitalize on set pieces and scoring opportunities, particularly in the 40th minute as Kintaro Miyagi failed to capitalize on an open goal and fired wide off the near post.
UP looked to capitalize on a set piece at the 49′ mark, but goalkeeper Paeng De Guzman intercepted Patxi Santos’ cross from a free kick. La Salle managed to assert its improved defense in the second half, backstopped by the center back duo of Noel Brago and Jhoguev Ybanez.
Rookie midfielder Jed Diamante broke the deadlock at the 62′ mark linking up with veteran Greggy Yang. Diamante received a header from Yang as he slotted the ball past UP goalkeeper Ace Villanueva with a header of his own.
Sophomore striker Chrisitan Zubiri had the opportunity to give La Salle a 2-0 lead at the 85th minute, but he was called for a foul after colliding with Villanueva.
The Fighting Maroons continued to carry on their attack into added time, forcing Brago to intercept a cross deep into the goalkeeper box, while Kyle Magdato managed to break free from his defenders in the left wing only for his shot attempt to go over the cross bar prior to the final whistle.
With the victory, the DLSU Men’s Football Team now have two victories and provisional first place in the standings with six points.
“This was more of character building since it’s just the second game,” said Smit. “It was a 50-50 game. During the first half UP had us, they dominated us. That’s why I told them during halftime that we needed to play with more intensity in game.”
Up next for the DLSU Men’s Football Team will be the UST Growling Tigers, whom they will face this Thursday, February 18 at 1 pm in the Moro Lorenzo Field in Ateneo, while the Women’s Team will have a long layoff before going up against the UST Growling Tigresses on Saturday, March 6, at 1 pm in the Emperador Stadium.