A highly-physical heated matchup between the Adamson University Soaring Falcons and the University of the East that saw hard fouls, stylish goals, and a thrilling final ten minutes ended in a 2-2 draw, Thursday afternoon at the FEU-Diliman Football Field.
The first half opened to an intense midfield battle that led to a couple of early hard fouls in just the opening minutes of play. Both sides’ aggression however, translated to effective ball movement, as both UE and Adamson had shots on goal. At the seventh minute, Bless Brian Jumo II almost scored for Adamson, powering his way through the midfield to go one-on-one with UE keeper Lendon Clores, but the goalie easily flicked the ball out of play before Jumo II could get an extra tap to send the ball in the path of the net. Four minutes later, UE’s Stephane Dagaraga came inches from scoring for the Warriors, launching the ball amid the clutter in the center of the box. However, Adamson goalie Carl Viray dove in time to stop the ball in its tracks before it could hit the net. The UE players cried foul, claiming that the ball had already crossed the goal by the time Viray had his hands on the ball.
At the 17th minute, Rino John Saldivar became the first person on the pitch to be booked a straight red card, after a powerful sliding tackle on Goldwyn Espina that left the latter sprawled on the ground for a few minutes. The ten-man UE squad continued to maintain their aggressive ball movement in place. Ten minutes later, it was Adamson who drew first blood, care of Jumo II who collected the volley from Joshua Pilarca to go one-on-one with Clores and eventually striking from point-blank range to give Adamson the lead, 1-0. For the first time this season, the Falcons had the lead.
But the feisty Warriors kept their attack going, and at the 31st minute, Regil Kent Galaura equalized for UE, redirecting a cross by Ramil Feliciano with a powerful header that sent the ball into the net. With less than 15 minutes left in the half, the score was tied at 1-1. Attackers from both squads scrambled to try and break the deadlock in the last few minutes, but neither were able to penetrate the other’s defenses. At the half, the score remained unchanged.
The Falcons came close to breaking the deadlock at the 49th minute, when Bless Brian Jumo I managed to take the ball to the top of the field, closing in on the goal to get Adamson goalie Jupiter out of position. Despite this, Jumo I could not keep control of the ball and had to pass to Gerard Etis waiting a few feet away from the left post. Etis was able to corral the pass and strike, but his kick turned out to be too weak to send the ball into the net, as keeper Viray had no difficulty scooping up the shot. With momentum on their side and the fiery Warriors slowing down on their attack, the first 20 minutes of the half saw Adamson control possession of the ball, making their way into the box several times but failing to score against the hardworking UE defense.
The 70th minute marked a return to the first-half complexion of the game, with both squads attacking aggressively once more. At the 76th minute, Jumo II fed the ball to his brother Jumo I who made his way through the left wing and into the center of the box. Though Jumo I was able to let out a powerful shot, the ball ended up whizzing past the left post.
Scrambling to break the deadlock, the Warriors found themselves renewing their push for the top of the pitch. At the 84th minute, Jeffrey Lacsamana almost scored on a point-blank header, but his shot was parried away by Adamson keeper Viray. The ball however bounced back into play, into the direction of Regil Galaura, who easily nudged the ball into an opening in front of the goal, bagging the point for UE.
The Warriors’ celebration was cut short though. Just a minute later, Jumo I, the other half of the Falcons’ twin combo managed to bring the ball all the way into the box after getting a pass from his brother, and launched from point-blank range, sending a powerful shot that flung the ball past the goalie and into the net. With five minutes of regulation left, the score was tied at 2-2.
The final minutes of the game saw both squads earn chances to score. At the 89th minute, Galaura almost completed the hat-trick to steal the three points for UE with a header off the cross from teammate Lacsamana, but his shot was caught by Viray. A minute later, Jumo II came close to scoring from point-blank range after getting into the center of the box, but lost control before he could position himself to score. At the final whistle, the score was still 2-2.
“Lumaban sila. Lumaban, hindi bumigay,” said Adamson head coach Nolan Manito in an interview after the game. “Lumalaban na ngayon (team character), and sana tuloy-tuloy na until next season.”
UE head coach Ryan Marinay admitted that he was not satisfied with his team’s performance in the game. “Sumabay sila sa laro ng Adamson.” Marinay further stated that his team was still aiming for a victory in their remaining assignment this season. “Ganun pa rin, maglaro pa rin ng football. Kahit no bearing, [para pa rin sa] pride ng team.” The Falcons have their first point of the season following the draw, while UE sits at seventh in the league with five points.