Despite failing to convert on opportune possessions, the DLSU Men’s Football Team managed to fend off a relentless UE Red Warrior side en route to a 1-0 victory last Sunday, February 28, at the Emperador Stadium. The win allowed DLSU to remain at the top of the standings in the UAAP Season 78 Football tournament with 13 points on four wins and one draw, slightly ahead of the UST Growling Tigers who have 11 points so far this season.
The first half saw both teams tangled in the center field, with UE having a slight edge in ball possession. As a result, they got two early chances at goal that were stopped by DLSU goalkeeper Paeng De Guzman. The DLSU defense, led by Noel Brago, managed to prevent any UE attack while igniting La Salle’s counter attack.
In the waning moments of the first half, La Salle would eventually be on the offensive as team captain Gelo Diamante scored the only goal of the match in the 36th minute, off a perfectly-timed pass from Yoshi Koizumi from the right wing.
The Red Warriors looked to be the hungrier team in the second half, pushing the ball with every chance they were given, a development that forced the La Salle coaching staff to change their formation. Substitutes Rigo Joseph and Gregory Yang provided the much-needed counter offense for DLSU but they were unable to get their shots past UE goalkeeper Lendon Clores.
After the game, DLSU head coach Hans Smit could not hide his disappointment with what he described as a “lousy” performance from the team despite coming away with the victory. Citing their failure to follow instructions and the lack of tenacity on the offensive line, Smit admitted that the line-up change he employed in the match proved to be ineffective. He added, “I just put in new players so I could rest the others, [the] system didn’t work … It was all gigil.”
On the other hand, Smit commended Brago’s defense in compensating for the team’s offensive woes.
The DLSU Football Team hopes to regain their top form when they face the Adamson Soaring Falcons on Thursday, March 3, at 1 pm in the Moro Lorenzo field at the Ateneo de Manila University campus.