UAAP: Green Booters’ second-half comeback steals three points from Fighting Maroons

The DLSU Green Booters retaliated against the UP Fighting Maroons by delivering a physical beatdown in their UAAP Season 86 Round Two face-off, 2-1, earlier tonight, April 7, at the UP Diliman Football Pitch.

The Green-and-White’s top scorer, Isaac Anoh, added to his goal tally once again after his penalty equalized the game at the 47’ mark, while Paolo Go scored the winner as he found the back of the net from a swift assist by Enrico Mangaoang at the 64’ mark. Meanwhile, Francis Tacardon scored the opening goal for UP in the 35th minute after scoring their penalty.

Early setback

With a chance to leapfrog their opponents in the current UAAP standings, La Salle showed aggression from the get-go as they found Anoh and Mo Almohjili with space up front. With the stable backline and Mangaoang between the posts, which was the key to the Fighting Maroons’ efforts to grab the lead, the Green Booters tried to get Anoh into the game as they tried their long passes out. However, the Fighting Maroons were aware of the massive threat of DLSU’s top scorer, as Anoh was immediately surrounded by defenders, denying him to lead the offense for La Salle.

After the cooling break at the 29’ mark, the Green-and-White found themselves backpedaling and defending their goalposts as they countered a UP side that showed more force in attack. Mangaoang showed stability at the back as he made crucial saves to block UP’s shots. However, at the 35’ mark, the Fighting Maroons were awarded a penalty, which proved to be the opener in the game looming in as Mangaoang could not save Tacardon’s shot from the penalty spot, 1-0. With just 10 minutes left after the opening goal, the Green Booters did not have enough time to build up enough momentum for an equalizer, entering the halftime break in favor of the Fighting Maroons, 1-0. 

Zero to a hundred

Tired of being on the receiving end of numerous assaults, the eleven from Taft pumped up their aggression by clashing body-to-body with the Iskos, immediately finding themselves in the box with an opportunity to goal. After an over-aggressive push from the Diliman-backline, Anoh was elected to take a penalty kick for DLSU, which he coolly slotted past UP goalkeeper Jose Gonzales to level the match at 1-all in the 47th minute.  

The Green-and-White continued their intensity on the defensive end, preventing the Fighting Maroons from stepping into the penalty area despite them pushing the ball into the final third. At the 61’ mark, the men in white were presented with the golden opportunity to grab the lead as UP’s Tacardon was awarded a penalty kick. With the back of the net well in his sight, Tacardon fumbled his attempt badly, sending the ball soaring past the goal. 

As the Fighting Maroons found themselves entering the attacking third on multiple occasions, they were repeatedly thwarted by the fervent DLSU defenders, leaving them with no choice but to settle for corner kicks. The home team had another chance at a breakthrough in the 64th minute with a corner kick, but Mangaoang crucially saved it. After this pivotal play, the defense turned to offense as Paolo Go went end-to-end to deliver a decisive blow from the left flank, taking the lead for DLSU, 2-1. 

From that point forward, the Fighting Maroons’ defensive stops earned them countless chances at scoring, but through the collective heroics of Mangaoang and the other green shirts’ defense, they were denied time and time again. Holding onto a last-ditch corner kick attempt in extra time, the Diliman strikers were once again nullified—this time, by Team Captain Almohjili, who sealed their first-round redemption match in La Salle’s favor, 2-1. 

Head Coach Alvin Ocampo stressed the importance of the Green Booters’ second-straight win but admitted to not letting his guard down in the team’s race for the Final Four, “We need the momentum cause right now everyone is fighting for the Final Four spot, and it’s a good win for us to move second right, but a lot can still happen in the next few weeks.”

Following this convincing win, the Green-and-White will go all out in their hunt to clinch a Final Four appearance as they take on the UE Red Warriors on Sunday, April 21, at 6:30 pm at the same venue.

Jaden Alberto

By Jaden Alberto

Daniel Quiroga

By Daniel Quiroga

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