The DLSU Men’s Football Team faced the UE Red Warriors in its second match in this year’s UAAP Season 79 Football Tournament, earlier today at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. Each half featured a goal with Yoshiharu Koizumi scoring La Salle’s first goal of the season with a stunning free kick at the 17’ mark. The second goal was an own goal by UE at the 78th minute of the game giving La Salle a 2-0 win at full time.
DLSU started the first half with high energy as it tested UE’s defense early on. A cross to Christopher Lawless was made, but UE’s goal keeper, Frank Rieza, was quick to react and collect the ball. Two minutes later, it was Yoshiharu Koizumi’s turn to try and get a goal. His free kick went straight at the goal keeper’s hands.
DLSU dominated the succeeding minutes with a different combination of attacks, but still came up without a goal. At the 17th minute, Koizumi’s spectacular finish from outside the box finally opened the scoreline. “I really didn’t expect it,” shared the junior after the game.
The Red Warriors retaliated with their own attack after conceding a goal. They tested the DLSU defense with crosses and shot attempts but came up empty handed. The Lasallians managed to stay composed and were able to contain the offense of UE.
Right before the halftime whistle, both teams exchanged attacks which proved to be unsuccessful. First, it was the Red Warriors who looked to score as their shot attempt went straight into the hands of Kerbi Almonte. A minute later, DLSU’s Nace Gonzales then released Jhoguev Ybañez on the left side of the field. The latter produced a cross inside the UE box which failed to meet a Lasallian.
After ending the first half with energetic play, Gonzales carried things over coming out of he locker room. He navigated through the left side with crafty dribbling. The veteran lobbed a cross to a teammate, but it was met by Red Warrior goalkeeper Frank Rieza.
At the 53rd minute, Mar Diano of UE was given a through ball by his teammate and he raced down the right side of the field. He got past the La Salle defense, but his chipped shot attempt over Almonte went wide. The Green-and-White countered with Jose Montelibano making a fantastic run down the right wing to produce a cross. His cross was then met by rookie Matthew Custodio as his header went out.
The team from Taft continued to push for a second goal, but was continuously denied by Rieza. Jed Diamante, whose older brother Gelo was absent from the match, took an ambitious attempt from distance. Then sophomore’s shot was then denied by Rieza again. This earned a corner for the Lasallians in which they failed to capitalize on a goalkeeping error.
At the 77th minute, Jasper Absalon attempted an audacious bicycle kick from a corner kick, but it went wide once again. DLSU countered in the next minute, but was stopped after a foul was committed just past the half line. Centerback Noel Brago took the awarded free kick and his cross was met by a Red Warrior. Instead of successfully clearing the ball, it went inside his own net thus awarding La Salle a second goal. UE aimed to get a goal back with a couple of headers in the box right before the final whistle. Almonte stood firm and remained composed to earn his second clean sheet of the season.
DLSU will face arch rivals ADMU Blue Eagles in its third game of the season on Thursday, February 16, at 4 pm in Moro Lorenzo Field in Ateneo.
Coach Hans Smit shared his thoughts on the upcoming matchup with the team from Katipunan. “When it’s a La Salle-Ateneo game, things change. So we’ll see what happens.”