Coming off two consecutive losses, the DLSU Men’s football Team went up against the FEU Tamaraws yesterday in the Moro Lorenzo Field in Ateneo. The Lasallians received another loss as Nicolas Ferrer scored the lone goal of the game with a header at the the 34’ mark.
“Even if we lost this game, we gave FEU a run for their money,” said coach Hans Smit of La Salle after game.
An early attempt by Jerbie Bernaldez of DLSU at the first minute dictated the game’s momentum. Three minutes later, it was FEU’s turn for its first goal chance. Both attempts went over the crossbar. Tamaraw Audie Menzi gave the team from Taft a scare after an on-target shot a minute later. The ball went straight to the hands of Lasallian goalkeeper Paeng De Guzman.
There was then a foul at the 15th minute from Chy Villaseñor of FEU against Cristian Zubiri. Noel Brago was then given a chance to score with a free kick but was denied by FEU goalkeeper Ray Joyel. The next several goal opportunities came from La Salle, but the Green-and-White came up empty-handed. The closest DLSU came to a goal in the first half came at the 25′ mark from a cross courtesy of Bernaldez to Marcus Garcia, who tried to go for a header. Joyel anticipated the move and deflected the ball at the last second.
At the 29th minute, a free kick near the box was awarded to Menzi, but the ball hit the wall and went off-target of the goal. The miss did not faze the Tamaraws. Just four minutes later, Paolo Bugas exposed the La Salle defense box and found Ferrer, who slotted the ball home with a header.
With a slim lead over the Lasallians, FEU continued to challenge DLSU’s defense. The last goal attempt for the the Green-and-White in the first half came at the 36th minute. However, Joyel managed to read Yoshi Koizumi’s shot and made a save. The Tamaraws made an attempt to get a two-goal lead before the halftime whistle at the 45+2′ mark as Rico Andes’ header was denied.
Heading into second half, FEU continued to control possession over La Salle. The Tamarraws had a number of chances early during the second half. During the first few minutes of play, Bugas was unable to connect a cross to his teammates. Then a foul was called on Nicko Villacin as he dangerously tackled Menzi. The latter’s free kick went straight to the hands of Kerbi Almonte. Four minutes later, FEU made another attempt through a well-timed pass from Alex Rayos to Andes as a shot from the latter went wide.
Smit made a number of substitutions to his lineup hoping to get an equalizer from his substitutes. On the other hand, the Tamarraws continued to dictate the tempo of the game to protect their lead. Another free kick for Bugas was again called at the 67′ mark. He tried to place the ball inside the box, but was denied by the defense of the Green-and-White.
FEU managed to deny La Salle’s offensive charge. The Tamarraws gave the Lasallians a difficult time moving towards the box as the team from Morayta suffocated La Salle with its pressure defense.
At the 74th minute FEU once again made a run as Alfonso Montelibano lost the ball and John Saldivar was there for a through ball. Luckily, Almonte charged to deny the latter, rewarding a corner to the Tamarraws. However FEU’s Reymart Cunon failed to capitalize on the opportunity.
Down to the last 15 minutes of play, energy from the Lasallians started to flow as they were eager to equalize. DLSU continued to push for a goal until the dying minutes. However La Salle failed to close the match with a goal of its own.
A shot by Matthew Custodio which hit the left post during the 86′ mark proved to be the closest call for La Salle. A free kick from Brago in an attempt to find a teammate was DLSU’s last chance to salvage a draw.
Smit had a number of adjustments with his starting XI and said, “[I plan to] stick with what I have today, depending if my players are healthy. At least the mental condition [of the players] are better than the last four games.”
“If I didn’t make the changes, there will just be another mediocre team playing like the last games,” he explained further. Despite the loss, Smit is proud of his team for putting up a fight, saying, “This is the first time I’ll say this in my entire career: Even if we lost, they played the way they’re supposed to play.”
DLSU will play its next game against the UST Growling Tigers on Sunday, Feb 26, at 6 pm at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.