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UAAP: La Salle XI beats Ateneo, advances to finals

After a highly competitive semifinal match, the DLSU Men’s Football team came away with a 1-0 win over the ADMU Blue Eagles and will move on to the UAAP Season 77 finals. La Salle’s Gelo Diamante, who came in as a substitute in the second half, was the hero for La Salle after his late goal in the 88th minute which won them the match.

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Off to the races

As the first half of the semifinal match began, the two rivals did not hesitate in going after one another. La Salle wasted no time as they immediately turned up the pressure on their rivals with a number of attempts on goal during the first ten minutes. They came close to scoring a few minutes later when a cross by Inigo Gonzales found Gio Diamante but was denied by Ateneo goalkeeper JP Oracion.

DLSU’s Nathan Alquiros also had his chance on goal during the 20th minute but Oracion came up with another save. Four minutes later, Ateneo came close to a goal as they were able to get the ball inside the penalty box of La Salle but the attempt went wide of the goal.

With twelve minutes left in the first half, Ateneo was able to expose a crack in the defense of La Salle but the play was called offside.

Before the end of the first half, a free kick was awarded to La Salle just outside the box, but Greggy Yang’s attempt barely went over the goal. At the end of the half, Ateneo had a late chance but their cross was caught by DLSU goalkeeper Raphael De Guzman. At halftime, the match was even at 0-0.


Dramatic conclusion

The second half saw both teams going back to their natural style of play.  De La Salle garnered more possessions and attacks while Ateneo took advantage in transition and relied on their counter attacks.

The Blue Eagles felt the absence of their suspended team captain Mikko Mabanag who usually serves as the main facilitator of Ateneo’s attack.

DLSU Head Coach Hans Smit made several substitutions within the second half with hopes of boosting their offense.  In the 75th minute, Gelo Diamante was fielded in for the first time in more than a month after being injured in the first round of this UAAP season. He came in as a substitute for his older brother and La Salle team captain Gio Diamante.

Gelo Diamante would ultimately book La Salle a ticket to the finals with a game-winning goal in the 85th minute.  After a series of passes by La Salle, Diamante found himself open on the top of the box with an option to pass the ball to a running Chuck Uy. Gelo Diamante opted to shoot the ball and was able to find the back of the net through the top left corner for a 1-0 advantage.  The score would stand until the final whistle.

“Since injured ako, wala akong inisip kung hindi makabalik sa game. I’m so thankful for my teammates and my coach na pinasok ako sa game. It was a risk, actually. I was still injured pero I trusted coach, coach trusted in me and the team played so well. So the goal was the result of the team,” shares the younger Diamante on his game-winning goal.

“More than any physical characteristic, its more mental now. I just told them that they cannot be too complacent and play all the way. Our battle cry has always been ‘Start strong, finish stronger.’ It doesn’t matter what minute of the game you score, the important thing is to score,” added DLSU head coach Hans Smit.

La Salle will take on the FEU Tamaraws in the UAAP Season 77 finale which will be played on March 8, Sunday, at 4 pm in Rizal Memorial. In both of their encounters this season, the two teams played to a draw.

Marion Mamac

By Marion Mamac

Joseton Lichauco

By Joseton Lichauco

14 replies on “UAAP: La Salle XI beats Ateneo, advances to finals”


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