UAAP: Late free-kick deals Lady Booters Finals defeat against Lady Tamaraws

The DLSU Lady Booters were unable to dethrone the FEU Lady Tamaraws for the second year in a row, 2-1, earlier tonight, May 10, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Staying in the game

Coming into the match as heavy underdogs, the Lady Booters braced themselves for relying on the counter to power their attack. However, in the first 15 minutes, La Salle was able to neutralize FEU’s attacks by swarming every Lady Tamaraw when they received the ball. The Taft-based squad also found success in progressing the ball by utilizing the space on the wings. 

The Lady Booters found the breakthrough after Shai Del Campo was able to hold up the ball just past the halfway line before hitting a well-weighted ball to Lyka Teves on the wing. The prolific striker then played a soft low cross to a sprinting Mari Layacan who got ahead of the defenders for an easy tap-in inside the box, giving the Green-and-White a solid 1-0 lead in the 16th minute.

Following the celebrations, Anicka Castañeda nearly doubled the advantage in the 20th minute after her free kick from way past the box hit the crossbar. However, the Lady Tamaraws’ class started to show midway through the half as the holders found ways to get in the Lady Booters’ box more often.

La Salle looked to be going into the halftime break with a slight lead after they were able to prevent any clear-cut chances for the majority of the first period. The unlikely equalizer came in the 45th minute when reigning MVP Dionesa Tolentin hit a standard shot from just outside the box with moderate power that found the back of the net after Lady Booters keeper Alexandrea Gumilao misjudged the trajectory of the shot.

Following the goal, FEU continued to attack in added time, and the Green-and-White were just able to hang on to go into halftime level at 1-all.

A heated battle

After a late goal conceded, the Lady Booters found themselves defensive after halftime as they were pressured by the golden shirts right off the bat. Gumilao’s services were immediately called as she dealt with FEU’s crosses into the La Salle box in the first 10 minutes.

Castañeda tried to muster up momentum for the green shirts, winning her battles in the midfield to grab extra possession for the Lady Booters. Teves then got to work on the wing, winning a corner for La Salle. Samantha Toledo tried her luck by whipping her corner directly into the net, but Yasmin Elauria read her plans well and blocked the ball.

As the Lady Booters gained confidence, their press became more solid as they pressured the FEU backline. This allowed DLSU to give way for Del Campo as she found the ball on the counterattack, but this was negated as too many defenders surrounded her.

The Lady Booters once again found themselves utilizing their defensive tactics as the Lady Tamaraws grew more aggressive. But, Layacan and Toledo tried to get the Green-and-White back into their final third and got shots off, but were blocked by FEU. It proved to be La Salle’s last chance in regular time as FEU was the more threatening side until the whistle, but DLSU’s defense was dense enough to bring the game to extra time.

Bowing down to the Lady Tamaraws 

After La Salle played on the backfoot for most of regular time, the story of the first half of extra time was much the same as the Lady Booters weathered every Lady Tamaraw storm that came their way. The best chance that La Salle had was a free kick that Castañeda just hit over the crossbar as the score remained at 1-all after the 105th minute.

The Lady Booters found themselves fending off the Lady Tamaraws in the second half of extra time. A foul at the edge of the box gave FEU a scoring opportunity. Jonela Albiño took the free kick for the Lady Tamaraws and powered it past Gumilao to give FEU the lead at the 112th mark, 2-1. 

With just over eight minutes to equalize, the Lady Booters went full force in attack, applying pressure to FEU in hopes of finding a gap. At the 120+5’ mark, Castañeda curled a free kick near the FEU box, but it went over the bar to La Salle’s dismay. Time eventually ran out for the Lady Booters as the final whistle signaled heartbreak for the Lasallians, 2-1.

After a hard-fought battle in the field, the DLSU Lady Booters settled for another runner-up finish in the UAAP Women’s Football Tournament, a bitter repeat of last season’s heartbreak. 

Daniel Quiroga

By Daniel Quiroga

Aren Reyes

By Aren Reyes

Leave a Reply