The DLSU Men’s Football Team made their Season 80 exit earlier today at the Rizal Memorial Stadium as the Lasallians succumbed to a 1-0 defeat against the UP Fighting Maroons. Kyle Magdato scored the match’s only goal as he smashed in the ball past the goalkeeper in the 47th minute.
It was an impressive run for the Green-and-White after placing sixth and completely missing out on the Final Four the previous campaign. “Well the first round, we already did much better [than] the whole season last year,” head coach Hans Smit said after the game.
UP had two free-kicks in the opening three minutes of the match but the efforts of Jeremiah Borlongan and Fidel Tacardon were straight at Paeng De Guzman, La Salle’s graduating goalkeeper. De Guzman was tested again at the sixth minute as Daniel Saavedra attempted UP’s next shot but it was easily caught by the Lasallian.
Graduating DLSU team captain Noel Brago took a free-kick at the 12’ mark but his attempt was way off-target. The Green-and-White struggled to generate chances in the opening half as UP dominated most of the possession and dictated the pace of the game. The Fighting Maroons’ midfield prevented La Salle from gaining possession while its back-line was very comfortable in setting up their build-up play.
With the possession on their side, the Fighting Maroons kept on pushing to score the first goal of the match. John Abraham’s shot went over the bar while Ray Sanciangco’s attempt was off-target. At the 27th minute, Tacardon earns a free-kick for UP as he was tackled down by Nicholas Villacin near the edge of the box. Borlongan took the free-kick but his attempt just went over the bar.
La Salle’s next shot attempt came from Renzo Perez but his free-kick following a hand-ball call on Julian Clarino went over the bar. Nine minutes before the half ended, De Guzman was called for another save yet again. Clarino’s volley from close range was saved by the La Salle goalkeeper, as he kept the score at 0-0 heading into the second half.
The second half opened with the lone goal of the game which also became the determinant of the match. La Salle’s demise was brought by Magdato when he was set up inside the box by Kintaro Miyagi. With only a minute into the second half, Tacardon breezed through his defender down deep in the left wing to send a cross to Miyagi. The latter then slightly touched the ball to an open Magdato who slotted it into the net past De Guzman.
After scoring the first goal, UP layed off the gas by playing it with their defenders. The Fighting Maroons continued to take control of possession and had La Salle skipping to secure the ball. In the 60’ mark, Perez stole the ball from Magdato and went for a long ball which met Matthew Custodio but the latter was unable to connect.
Substitutions started for both teams during the 68’ mark when Jerby Bernaldez came in for Cristian Zubiri. Conversely, the team from Katipunan also subbed in Raphael Resuma for Borlongan in the right wing. With about 15 minutes left of regular time, Smit mixed up his lineup when Mateo Alegre came in the field during the 76th minute to place Marcus Garcia in a forward position. Garcia, in turn, had a chance to shoot from a pass by Yoshi Koizumi but it was off-target.
In the closing minutes of the semifinal, La Salle threw most of its players forward which gave UP a handful of opportunities to counter attack. At the 78’ mark, Saavedra shot accurately way beyond the box, however, De Guzman was there to tap it out. La Salle, on the other hand, gained number of free kicks which only led to missed opportunities. Team captain, Brago, delivered a well-timed pass in the box to Alegre but the latter was unable to control. Three minutes later, Brago again took a free kick at the 85’ mark but it went straight to UP’s keeper, Anton Yared.
La Salle, with its back against the wall still had hope in sophomore striker, Chris Lawless, who was only utilized by Smit late in the 80th minute of the match. The leading scorer of La Salle failed to convert a pass from Koizumi as his header went over the crossbar late at the 92’ mark. Finally, UP gave a last-minute scare when Miyagi met through a ball from Ian Clariño only to chip the woodwork. Despite the loss, Smit remains confident with his squad’s performance who did very well compared to last year. “We did well. Every opponent of ours scored on our errors on the defensive line,” says Smit.