Coming from Sunday’s physical encounter with the UST Growling Tigers which ended in a 2-all draw, the DLSU Men’s Football Team’s struggles continue. La Salle dropped another match in the UAAP Season 79 Men’s Football Tournament as it lost to the NU Bulldogs, 3-1. After trailing by a goal at halftime, NU remained composed to complete a come-from-behind win.
Rigo Joseph scored the lone goal for DLSU at the 53rd minute of the match. Meanwhile, Lawrence Colina completed a hat-trick for his team and scored all three of his goals late in the second half during the 76′, 84′, and 90+2′ marks. “I have no words,” said coach Hans Smit as La Salle closed the first round of the tournament with one win, two draws, and four losses.
Even first half
The first five minutes of play witnessed a free kick from La Salle’s Noel Brago due to a foul close to the center line. Brago’s kick resulted to the first corner kick of the game. The Lasallians were able to produce an opportunity from the corner, but the attempt went over the crossbar. Three minutes later, the Bulldogs had a couple of good chances from Elmer Sampaga and Owen Padernal. However, goalkeeper Kerbi Almonte was there to deny the duo.
At the 19′ mark, Joseph was fouled as he sought to head the ball. A free kick was awarded for Acot which hit the wall and sailed out for a corner. Jed Diamante took the attempt and managed to find Juan Siggaoat. His header went to Joseph, but the latter fouled NU goalkeeper Chris Perocho in the process.
NU made good runs in the succeeding minutes as Mike Arbela had an opportunity inside the box, but Nicko Villacin was right on time to deny the prior. A combination play from NU followed the attempt. The Bulldogs were able to bring the ball deep into the right wing, but Sampaga’s cross was way off target.
During the 40th minute, Nace Gonzalez came in for Cristian Zubiri. Before the opening half closed, Patrick Valenzuela of the Bulldogs intercepted a pass, but his shot attempt just missed the right post.
Intense second half
Just two minutes into the second half, Mauro Acot was fouled hard, earning a free kick on the right side of the goalkeeper box. However, his cross failed to find a teammate. Alfonso Montelibano came into the game during the 51′ mark to change Villacin, who appeared to be suffering from an injury. A minute later, Acot made another play by threading a pass to Marcus Garcia. Garcia received the ball inside the box at the 53rd minute as Joseph eventually slotted the ball home to give La Salle a 1-0 lead.
The Bulldogs came close to equalizing on the counter attack as Colina managed to dispossess Montelibano. However, Almonte was there to make another denial. Then, Arbela from NU was booked with a yellow card for a tackle on Acot.
Despite trailing by a single goal, NU started to control ball possession after making a single substitution. An opportunity from NU occurred in the 70′ mark when DLSU’s defense was beaten by a Bulldog, who hit the crossbar. In the 76′ minute, the Bulldogs eventually equalized when Eddie Alivio broke free from La Salle’s defense and had an attempt from the right wing. Almonte was able to deflect Alivio’s shot, but Colina was there for the rebound and slotted the ball to the bottom-left side of the goal.
NU maintained momentum and had more opportunities to score. Two minutes later, the Bulldogs went for a through ball, but were called offside. They continued to push until a corner was rewarded to them during the 83′ minute. The pass was directed to Colina, who then faked the Green-and-White with a touch and fired from above the box to give NU a 2-1 lead.
After Colina’s second goal, possession shifted in favor of the Lasallians, who found themselves looking to equalize the scoreline. DLSU earned a handful of free kicks, but was unable to capitalize on its opportunities. As time ran out, La Salle was caught off-guard as Colina slipped past the defense down the right wing. The striker came close to scoring again as his chip hit the crossbar. Valenzuela was able to recover the ball, but he was fouled by Almonte inside the box and earned an NU penalty. Almonte was unable to read Colina’s attempt as the ball ricocheted off the left post and into the net for a goal.
Brago emphasized simple mistakes as the cause of the Green-and-White’s current standing. “Puro lapses kami since nung Ateneo game namin. Puro one error tapos bibigay kami.”
As of press time, the second round schedule of the football tournament has yet to be released.