UAAP: Lady Booters clinch Finals berth, complete second-half comeback against Blue Eagles

The DLSU Lady Booters marked two wins in a row and secured their spot in the UAAP Season 86 Women’s Football Finals after erasing a one-goal deficit and drubbing the ADMU Blue Eagles with a 3-1 win earlier today, April 20, at the UP Diliman Football Pitch.

Player of the Game honors went to Lady Booters and national team veteran Shai Del Campo, who scored the equalizing goal while also creating numerous chances. Anicka Castañeda and Chenny Dañoso both chipped in a goal each.

The Blue Eagles were led by Traci Lim, who scored the lone goal for her team.

Stifling defense

Coming off a huge win in their last matchup, the DLSU Lady Booters got off to a fast start, immediately finding their way into Ateneo’s box and producing scoring opportunities right off the bat. La Salle’s aggressive play was immediately rewarded with two great chances as Maye Mendaño and Del Campo each got great chances for a goal in the first five minutes, but their shots both ricocheted off the crossbar. Another great chance arose as Lyka Teves lobbed a perfect pass into a streaking Dañoso, who couldn’t convert the open opportunity.

After staying on the defensive end for the majority of the opening minutes, the Blue Eagles finally got their chance on offense in the 10th minute. They wasted no time, quickly creating a chance as Kristine Napoles found a great look at the goal, but the La Salle defenders were able to clear the ball at the last second. However, the Blue Eagles stayed on the lookout, and after the corner kick ended up in a scramble, Lim came up and capitalized on the opportunity, scorching the net with the first goal of the match and giving ADMU the early 1-0 lead in the 11th minute of the match.

Despite the early deficit, the Green-and-White continued to press action, looking eagerly for their equalizer. They continued to produce chances, with Lyn Otom and Mari Layacan both shooting shots on target, but ADMU goalkeeper Adri Lee intercepted both. Lee became a staple in the ADMU defense for more possessions to come, as whenever the Blue Eagles defenders were outpaced by La Salle forwards for shot chances, she was there to save the defense at the last second. 

La Salle pushed on, still looking for a goal to tie the game, but Lee consistently denied them from equalizing. After several minutes of being on the advance, the Lady Booters found themselves stuck, as their best chance—a point-blank shot by Teves—still found itself stuffed by Lee in the 42nd minute, ending the half at 1-0 for the Katipunan-based squad.

Storming back

In an unexpected situation at halftime, the Lady Booters looked to reverse their fortunes early into the second half by continuing their domination of possession and improving their passes in the final third. This persistence finally paid off in the 51st minute as Teves recovered the ball in the Blue Eagles’ third before finding Dañoso who quickly fired a through ball to Del Campo, allowing the veteran forward to slot in the equalizer to the bottom right. 

With the momentum firmly on their side, La Salle continued to find avenues of space to play the ball through and create their attacks from the midfield. Ateneo’s solid defensive structure in the first half did not carry over to the second half as the fatigue and the temperature took their toll. The Taft-based squad earned their first lead of the match, 2-1, in the 68th minute after Del Campo’s shot was saved by Ateneo keeper Lee and Castañeda pounced on the rebound for an easy tap-in.

The Katipunan-based side was not building any chances; the Lady Booters continued to attack to find the goal that would ice the game. The Green-and-White were presented with a golden opportunity when Castañeda was fouled just outside the box from the right. Mendaño successfully faked out the Blue Eagles’ defense as she cleverly slid a pass to Dañoso who struck a driven shot from just outside the box to the keeper’s right, giving La Salle a 3-1 advantage in the 86th minute and completing the second half comeback.

The DLSU Lady Booters are now level on points with the FEU Lady Tamaraws, although the latter has a game in hand. In their fixture, La Salle will face the said opponent in a Finals preview on April 27 at 6:30 pm at the same venue.

Aren Reyes

By Aren Reyes

Julio Amir Tampis

By Julio Amir Tampis

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