The DLSU Green Booters marked down their second victory in UAAP Season 85 against the UST Growling Tigers, 2-0, earlier tonight, March 12, at the UP Diliman Football Pitch. Paolo Go and Gabe Suarez each scored a goal to help La Salle overcome the rocky start of their campaign.
Fresh off a dominating victory, the Green Booters aimed to maintain their winning tempo. La Salle did not fail to communicate this need from the match’s very first minute, quickly retaliating against UST’s forceful attacks. This early aggression by the team from España overwhelmed the Green and White midfield every time they attempted to build up from the back.
By the 13th minute, the crowd was on the edge of their seats as Franck Anoh nearly assisted an opening goal for La Salle, but Mohammad Almohji failed to follow through. Both sides were quick on their feet, as they tried to find their respective offensive rhythms throughout the game. UST was unafraid to challenge DLSU keeper Enrico Mangaoang from outside the box, while DLSU pressed forward through the combination of Almohjili and Mikio Umilin’s right-side play.
As the game intensified, the teams picked up their pace and charged their guts forward. However, come the 31st minute, a yellow card was raised to UST’s Sam Alegre after a heated dust-up against La Salle’s Mangaoang due to an unsuccessful freekick from the Golden Booters’ end. JP Bengay received a yellow card not long after a dangerous challenge on a UST midfielder. These cautions altered the players’ approaches as the aggression lessened on both sides. Yet that did not stop the squads from remaining compact on defense; eager to tally the first goal, both DLSU and UST were responsive to every chance available.
Near the end of the first half, DLSU started to answer with high-risk plays, hoping to come up with the first goal of the match. As DLSU secured the ball in midfield by the 45’ mark, Umilin and Almohjili showcased another combination play on the left wing to find Anoh, who forced a save from España’s goalkeeper, Jose Abada. At halftime, the game remained goalless with both squads canceling each other’s strength with watchful defense.
After an action-packed first half, the intensity of the game did not fray whatsoever—picking up right where it left off. Both teams were able to create chances on the counter as well as in possession through combination plays in the midfield.
The difference that shifted the match in favor of Coach Alvin Ocampo’s team was their ability to win the ball in the UST half much more effectively. The relenting persistence of the DLSU Men’s Football Team soon paid off after Umilin won the ball in the final third before delivering a blistering low cross into the box, narrowly missing Anoh and the UST defenders and falling beautifully into the path of Go. He delivered and successfully finished the chance into the bottom corner to give DLSU the lead in the 59th minute.
Despite going down 1-nil, the Growling Tigers were not to be counted out. The España-based team mounted on the pressure from the restart and created two great chances in quick succession—only narrowly missing the goal both times. Noteworthily, Mangaoang and the DLSU back four were highly consistent in minimizing any oncoming threat from the Growling Tigers.
The back-and-forth action between the two teams continued on, and as the 70th minute approached, Almohjili showcased his magical playmaking to deliver a curling cross in from the right wing to find Anoh, forcing UST goalkeeper Jose Abada into a spectacular save to deny the DLSU striker. Not long after, through the DLSU press, Anoh was through on goal once more, but he could not capitalize on the one-on-one chance versus Abada to extend the La Salle lead.
As the game progressed into the latter stages, it was evident that it was nothing short of an intense physical battle between the two teams. The Taft-based side never looked satisfied with a slim one-goal lead over the Growling Tigers. Even in the dying minutes of the game, they continued to search for a second goal. Coming on for Anoh at the 87’ mark, Suarez ardently made an instant impact off the bench after. The DLSU substitute created a series of chances in injury time and eventually sealed the La Salle victory, 2-0, after tapping in the rebound off of a crucial mistake from UST’s Abada in the 96th minute.
Coming off back-to-back wins, the Green Booters will look to stay on the rise against the UP Fighting Maroons at 6 pm on March 16, Thursday, at the UP Diliman Football Pitch.