The Ateneo de Manila University men’s football team finally have their first win of 2015, after denying the Adamson University Soaring Falcons their first of the season with a 3-1 routing Wednesday afternoon at the FEU Diliman Football Field.
Playing without the prized midfield duo of Carlo Liay and Mikko Mabanag, the Blue Eagles struggled to get their offense going early in the first half. Adamson had the chance to draw first blood as early as the 5th minute, care of Marc de Guzman, who managed to redirect a cross from the right wing sent by Bless Brian Jumo II with a header into the net. The ball however ended up sailing way over the bar.
After struggling to establish their midfield in the first 10 minutes of play, it was Ateneo who eventually scored the first goal at the 14th minute, thanks to Julian Roxas, who after corralling the inside pass, easily bagged the goal from point-blank range. The next 15 minutes of the half saw an uneventful midfield battle between the two blue-and-white squads, both struggling to get close enough for the easy strike. Around the 30th minute, Ateneo veteran Mabanag was subbed in for Renko Feliz Gaudiel, who had to be taken out after being hit in the face during a collision. Just after Mabanag’s entry, Adamson’s de Guzman came close to equalizing, taking advantage of an opening in the Ateneo defense to strike from just inside the penalty box, but his shot was knocked off course by Ateneo defender Kendall Colet.
Following another uneventful 10 minutes or so that saw little action in front of the goal, the Blue Eagles were roused to life anew just as the 45th minute clocked in, when Paolo Alilam managed to spot an opening by the left flank and tapped the ball into the net before Adamson keeper Carl Jupiter Viray could react. The first half ended with Ateneo up 2-0.
Emilio Acosta came close to bagging Ateneo’s third goal at the 47th minute, connecting with a cross from the left wing with a header, but the ball sailed past the post. The following minutes of play saw the Falcons’ offense collapse altogether, with their midfield struggling against the stifling Ateneo defense. Things worsened for Adamson at the 56th minute, when Jumo II was stretchered off after a bad fall.
The 60th minute saw Ateneo rev up their counterattack, with their attackers repeatedly coming close to getting the ball into the net, but none were able to score during the stretch. It was at the 73rd minute that the Blue Eagles were finally rewarded with their third goal, when a free kick taken by Mabanag near the left wing ended with the ball bouncing off the post and into the net, leaving the Adamson keeper stunned in his place.
Capitalizing from a lull in the Ateneo back, Jumo II was able to power through and sneakily tap the ball into the net before anyone from the Ateneo defense could catch up and redirect the ball.
Powerless in suppressing the Ateneo counterattack, Adamson remained unable to get their own offense going. The score at the final whistle was 3-1 Ateneo.