The DLSU Green Booters were fettered in their UAAP Season 85 opening match against the UE Red Warriors, losing 5-1 earlier today, February 19, at the UP Diliman Football Pitch.
The contest started hot as both teams dueled for possession in the opening minutes. The Green Booters quickly drew first blood off Rain del Rosario’s header assisted by a free kick by Mikio Umilin, 1-0.
The Red Warriors fought back as they started pushing possession on their end of the pitch, scoring the 10th minute equalizer off an off-the-post volley by Jerome Abarca. UE continued to have their way on the pitch as they broke loose and took the lead off Edmar Adonis’ strike, 2-1.
After falling behind early, the Green and White tried to rally with several attempts inside the box, but chances by Umilin went off goal. Punishing La Salle’s missed conversions, the Recto-based squad suffocated their opponents in the defensive half, translating stops into quick, disciplined counterattacks as their lead eventually grew from a strike off a cross at the 22’ mark, 3-1.
The Taft-based crew tried to fire back, but more attempts by Umilin and Mohammad Almohijli failed to find the back of the net. The Warriors continued to play their game as their fast counterattacking afforded them another goal off a left side strike by Abarca, 4-1.
A hard 40th minute foul on Umilin inside the box afforded the Booters a penalty opportunity, but Captain Joven Marfiga did not manage to capitalize, ending the half at 4-1.
Unable to find their footing
The Green Booters floundered in the opening of the second half, struggling to link passes together and showing vulnerability at the back. A quick counterattack down the left wing by the Red Warriors led to another goal, bringing their lead to 5-1 at the 52′ mark.
DLSU slowly looked to fight their way back into the game, with rookie Vin Dela Cruz attempting to spark his side’s offense out of the right wing. La Salle failed to chip into the deficit, however, sending multiple attempts over the crossbar.
The team from Taft controlled possession of the ball in the remainder of the match but showed signs of fatigue on defense, allowing UE two near-goal opportunities that went just wide of Enrico Mangaoang’s goal frame.
The Green and White failed to find their footing in the matchup, seeing several of their attempts go past the goal entirely until the final whistle saw them drop their opening fixture to Season 81’s last-seeders UE, 5-1.
“It’s hard to take in losing the first game by four goals. As early as the first game, the team knows how it feels to lose that way. I told them that we don’t want this thing to happen again,” DLSU coach Alvin Ocampo commented after the stinging loss. According to him, the coaching staff will convene the squad to watch their opponents play in preparation for their upcoming matches, confident that his side has what it takes for a Final Four run.
After a disappointing start to their UAAP Season 85 campaign, the DLSU Green Booters hope to bounce back in their next fixture against the FEU Tamaraws on February 26, Sunday, at 4 pm at the same venue.