The DLSU Men’s Football Team suffered another loss after facing the UP Fighting Maroons, 2-0, earlier today at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. It was UP’s Miggy Clarino who scored the first goal off of a La Salle error in the 18th minute of the game with a header, followed by a score by Kintaro Miyagi from inside the box after an assist by Fidel Tacardon at the 88’ mark.
“I think this one is our worst game of the season,” commented team captain Noel Brago. He said that today’s loss reminded him of his team’s whole performance last season due to the lack of intensity and the way that they gave up the goals made by UP.
Inconsistent first half
Both teams scrambled for the ball during the first half, eager to score goals. However, UP was in control of the game, pressing La Salle and blocking the players, giving them little chances of scoring. Clarino gave UP its first goal of the game at the 18’ mark after a corner kick was caught by La Salle goalkeeper Paeng De Guzman but was then mishandled. Clarino then saw an opening and shot the ball through the goal line with a header.
The Green-and-White had a close chance of scoring a goal when Mathew Custodio took a shot from just outside the box, towards the left of the goal in the 37th minute. Jose Yared, UP’s goalkeeper missed the ball as it went past him, but fell short as it rolled towards the left of the goal, missing it completely.
Throughout the first half, early substitutions were made by La Salle. When asked about these substitutions, assistant coach Alvin Ocampo said that these were not early substitutions but rather replacements for players who were no longer playing well out on the field. “‘Di nag perform ng expected namin eh so we really [needed] to make changes.”
Second half struggles
The Lasallians kick-started the last 45 minutes but it was the Diliman-based squad that produced the first attempt of the second half. Miyagi continued to play brilliant football but his shot two minutes into the half went over the bar. Meanwhile, La Salle’s defense suffered a major blow at the 50th minute as starting center back Nicko Villacin went down with an injury. He was stretchered off the playing pitch as Gyan De Vera subbed in.
Cristian Zubiri generated the Green-and-White’s first attempt as Jose Yared, UP’s goalkeeper, fumbled the ball and it landed straight near the striker. Even without the goalie guarding the goal, Zubiri’s shot outside the box was too powerful thus missing the chance to score the equalizer at the 57’ mark. The Fighting Maroons countered three minutes later as Miyagi found Jeremiah Borlongan but the latter’s cross was deflected out for a corner kick.
Smit continued to shuffle his players as Mauro Acot and Renzo Perez replaced Yoshi Koizumi and Marcus Garcia. Moments after the subs came on, Christian Lapas of UP attempted a shot but it went wide for a goal kick. The following possession, Custodio tried a volley inside the box but it just went over the bar.
At the 75th minute, the Fighting Maroons almost scored a second goal but luckily for the Lasallians, it was ruled offside. Despite the barrage of attacks by the Season 78 champions, Jed Diamante launched a shot outside the box six minutes later but his effort was wasted as the ball went over the bar.
UP continued to push for the second goal as Miyagi showcased his skills in the 84th minute as he connected with Roland Saavedra but the combination play of the two were prevented by De Vera as he blocked the ball and went for the corner kick instead. La Salle had one last chance to equalize in the next minute after Custodio was brought down inside the box but the referee waved off the penalty. “The referee should have seen it. It would have changed yung result. Actually hindi pulldown eh. Wrestle down eh, I don’t know ba’t ‘di nakita yun,” shared Ocampo.
Miyagi finished off the game as he scored a goal in the middle of the penalty box. Tacardon slithered his way into the box after running down the left wing and pulled one back for the open Miyagi.
“We have to bounce back from this loss. Back-to-back losses ‘yun eh. We have to mentally be prepared dahil one day lang recovery namin tapos laro agad kami sa Saturday. We need to secure that win against NU,” Ocampo ended.
Likewise, Brago says that since the team is already on a losing streak, they have to win in their next match. “We just need to get our rhythm and momentum back just like how we started the season. We’re only two points ahead from NU so we need to get the three points and separate ourselves from them.”
The DLSU Men’s Football Team will seek to end the first round of eliminations on a high note as they play against the NU Bulldogs this Saturday, March 3, 5pm at the same venue.