UAAP: Green Booters fold against aggressive Red Warriors in second-half meltdown, 2-1

In a crucial match that would boost their Final Four hopes, the DLSU Green Booters tragically fell to the sixth-seeded UE Red Warriors, 2-1, earlier tonight, April 21, at the UP Diliman Football Pitch.  

Christian Peñalosa scored an equalizer for the Green-and-White in the 73rd minute but was neutralized by Keith Hermoso’s game-winning goal that secured the upset for the white shirts. 

Paint the town red

Despite being in tight contention with the ADMU Blue Eagles for a spot in the Final Four, the Green-and-White entered their match against the bottom-ranked Red Warriors with a clear lack of intensity and focus, permitting the team from Recto to reach the attacking third and see early chances at goaling. At the 11th minute mark, a handball call on the Green Booters gave the Red-and-White an opportunity to score on a set piece, which Nikko Palacio capitalized on by delivering the ball just past the fingertips of DLSU’s goalkeeper Enrico Mangaoang, 1-0. 

The aggressive UE defenders continued to agitate the Green Booters, who consistently managed to penetrate the middle but were halted at the final stretch. With the Red Warriors’ physicality kicked into overdrive, the team from Taft was given multiple set-piece opportunities that were either crucially deflected or sent near the goalpost. In the 32nd minute, midfielder Peñalosa was given a clear-cut chance to goal as he saw himself right outside the box with only UE goalie Chrisjan Tambilawan in his sight; however, in an apparent dirty act, Peñalosa was tackled by Tambilawan, who was resultantly slapped with a red card.  

Awarded with another free kick, the Green Booters’ attack was denied for the nth time, with their poor luck lasting throughout the rest of the half. The Red Warriors kept up their aggression and spectacular defense on DLSU’s set pieces, earning them the lead over La Salle heading into the halftime break,1-0. 

Stumbling against the Red Warriors 

Heading into the second half of the matchup, the Green-and-White needed to slot in a goal to possibly level the matchup. The Green Booters still struggled to find their team synergy as Isaac Anoh attempted to score for his team during the 53rd minute, but this was immediately read by the UE defenders. Following this, UE’s Jhong Magallon attempted to score, but Mangaoang caught this in the 62nd minute, and seven minutes later, Magallon also managed to defend an attempt from La Salle to equalize the match. 

However, Team Captain Peñalosa managed to level the game at 1-all at the 73rd mark, which racked up the Lasallian’s momentum in the second half. This crucial goal hyped up the Green Booters in possibly building on the momentum. However, this was immediately halted in the 81st minute as UE’s Hermoso went for a long kick outside of the box—which allowed the Red Warriors to grab back the lead, silencing the field for the Green-and-White, 2-1. After this UE goal, the team from Taft ended up rattled as communication on the field was absent; players were scrambling around trying to come up with plays entering the final few minutes of the match.  

Trying to shake off the jitters the UE crowd blatantly put on them, Mo Almohjili managed to create an opening for a kick as defenders were slow to catch up to his pacing but was eventually read by the UE goalkeeper, failing to level the match in their favor. In the 95th minute, Almohjili was fouled for a free kick, but this did not favor the green shirts, as the Red Warriors put pressure around the box. Late into the match, La Salle possessed the ball and had a grand opportunity to score around the perimeter; however, they had difficulty getting close to the goal—falling short of converting their plays. 

Despite the Green Booters’ last-minute efforts to keep their Final Four dreams alive, they failed to score as the timer ran out, succumbing to the Red Warriors, whose bench went wild, 2-1. Unfortunately, the match ended with DLSU racking up eight yellow cards and two red cards, which were crucial hurdles that affected their team’s overall morale. 

Speaking on behalf of the team, veteran forward Anoh expressed that the Green-and-White were not discouraged by the loss and look to bounce back in their upcoming matches that will determine their Final Four fate. 

“Actually, we didn’t feel bad because we were hoping to have this game in the pocket and [earn] three points from it, and it would already [make] us a near Final Four [team]. But since we didn’t [get] that today, we look forward to our next two games, where we will make sure we get at least one, and we have to win those games.” 

Due to this heartbreaking loss, the DLSU Green Booters have their backs against the wall as they go up against the top-seeded FEU Tamaraws in their second-to-last match of Round Two on Sunday, April 28, at 4 pm at the same venue. 

Jaden Alberto

By Jaden Alberto

Tana Melgar

By Tana Melgar

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