University of the Philippines dug deep to get its first win in the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Football Tournament.
The Fighting Maroons emerged victorious with a 1-0 outcome against National University, Sunday at Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
UP dominated the game, but it took the Diliman school until the 50th minute of the match to finally get what it deserved. Fighting Maroons forward Anton Guariña found himself through on goal and he performed a spectacular finish to draw first blood.
Guarina then had a big opportunity to double State U’s cushion, but failed to hit the target that time around. Arturo Alleje also had a chance to put the contest safely to bed when he was through on goal, only for NU goalkeeper Jhonrel Salintao to deny him with a fine stop.
“I thought first half we really executed well. We delivered on the game plan, we created opportunities. We just didn’t finish,” said UP head coach Anto Gonzales.
Unfortunately, things then turned ugly in the contest between both teams.
A small commotion broke out between the two camps. NU’s Elmer Sampaga was then ejected for his role in the incident
The Fighting Maroons would have gained the lead within the first half, but magnificent shot-stopping by Salintao kept them at bay time and time again. The Bulldogs also had a goal ruled out late in the game due to a foul.
The result raises UP’s points tally to 4, while coach Dan Padernal’s NU has yet to make its mark this season.
“In the second half, we expect the boys to manage the games better. It also happened against Ateneo. We were already leading and then we lose steam for whatever reason. We start to get disorganized so it’s something we really need to work on,” added Gonzales.
The two schools next play on Thursday, March 12, at the same venue. UP kicks off early against De La Salle University at 8:00 AM, while NU plays Adamson University afterwards at 4:00 PM.