The DLSU Men’s Football Team opened its season with a victory, 3-1, against the FEU Tamaraws earlier, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. FEU’s Rico Andes scored the first goal of the game at the 21st minute of the game, but Mathew Custodio equalized for La Salle at the 34’ mark. Chris Lawless and Yoshi Koizumi sealed the win for the Green and White as they each scored a goal in the second half.
Head coach Hans Peter-Smit challenged both Custodio and Koizumi in the offseason after their subpar performances in Season 79. “At the beginning of the year, I said you have to prove to me that you deserve to be in the team. It’s always back to last year. Every single detail was always back to last year so at least now they’re a little more mature as you can see, they played a lot better. Hopefully, it drags on all the way until the end.”
Equal first half
Both teams entered the pitch with high spirits in their first game of the season. FEU’s Resty Monterona made the first attempt at goal at the 4’ mark but it went straight into the hands of La Salles goalkeeper Paeng De Guzman. In the 21st minute, Andes ran down the left flank then cut inside the box while evading a couple of defenders en route to the match’s first goal. His curled shot attempt went to the bottom right corner of the goal and left De Guzman stunned. The lead put pressure on the Green and White but the the Lasallians responded brilliantly after conceding the goal.
Paeng Siggaoat started the comeback with a through ball at the 25’ mark but was intercepted by the FEU defense. Noel Brago, this year’s team captain, took two free kicks in the next eight minutes but his attempts were foiled by the defense yet again.
Looking to score, La Salle dominated the possession and attempted more shots but it wasn’t until the 34’ mark wherein they found an equalizer. Custodio was able to beat the FEU keeper to a loose ball and chipped a shot that went straight into the goal. In the remaining minutes of the first half, several opportunities were open but they were either blocked or stolen.
Intense second half
After having an even score line after the first half, the Green and White dominated the offensive end of the next. La Salle kicked off the second half with an aggressive mindset. Custodio had a quick break from a pass down the right wing by Garcia. However, the keeper was quick to meet him. The Lasallians would continue to press offensively as another chance from Koizumi almost made the back of the net.
After the first five minutes, it was FEU’s turn to attack. Monterona found Andes inside the box for a dangerous shot by the latter. Fortunately, De Guzman was quick to react as he negated the chance for FEU to take the lead. La Salle then retaliated once again after the scare from the team from Morayta. Custodio broke down FEU’s defense as he weaved into the box to make a successful pass to Alegre. However, the latter failed to capitalize on the very close opportunity.
The first substitution of the game was Jerby Bernaldez for Siggaoat. After a few minutes, Custodio once again had a chance to take the lead. The striker was placed in a one on one opportunity against the keeper but was called for offside. During the 74’ mark, Lawless was brought in to replace Alegre. Whereas, Amel Amita was subbed in for Jason Lofranco.
Unfortunately for FEU, La Salle secured its second goal of the game courtesy of Lawless. The sophomore breezed through his defender down the right wing only to be challenged by the keeper, Ray Joyel. Luckily, Lawless made a second attempt and pounced in from close range to give the Green and White its first lead in the match. La Salle’s second goal, though, was quickly followed up by another from Koizumi. Garcia set up the midfielder with a lob pass from deep in the right wing. An open Koizumi beat the keeper after firing from just outside the box, to increase the La Salle lead to 3-1.
DLSU’s last ditch effort in scoring was a shot from Lawless. The substitute almost increased the La Salle lead to three as he hit the woodwork from his attempt beyond the box. The Tamaraws, on the other hand, almost scored on an attempt from Alex Rayos in the box. However, De Guzman made sure to secure the win with a score of 3-1 in favor of La Salle.
When asked about what changed in the second half, Smit said it was down to the attitude and motion of the players inside the pitch. “It’s just more of the motion. More on who wants it more, who needs to move more first. I don’t like a team that plays like a robot.”
The DLSU Men’s Football Team will seek its second victory of the season against the AdU Soaring Falcons on Sunday, February 11, 1:30pm, at the same venue.