The University of the Philippines (UP)-X and the Lady Tamaraws put on a classic stalemate in the main game of the maiden PFF Women’s Invitational Cup, while Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) upstaged UP-Y in an earlier match, Sunday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Ateneo owns neighbours UP-Y
After a tight battle in the first period afternoon’s first match, Ateneo upended rivals UP-Y, off the heroics from senior forward Cam Rodriguez, 2-0.
It was the Blue and White who executed better in the first minutes of the game as they controlled the possession and the chances. The Lady Eagles sent in balls into their attacking third, but they either could not finish or the defense held for the Lady Maroons. Rodriguez and Pamela Diaz had their attempts as they found gaps in the backline, which proved pivotal in the following period.
On their part, UP-Y had their chances anchored on the midfield from Cristina Delos Reyes; nonetheless, Bling Perez could not deliver crosses into the other side for the finish. The halftime whistle was sounded with neither team getting something into the back of the net.
It was a different second half, as both teams tried to break the deadlock. UP started on the bright side as they executed well on the offense; however, they lacked creativity on the final third. Ateneo turned things around at the 49th minute, Diaz found herself within shooting range and fired from outside the box. UP keeper AJ Javier was able to clear, but only as far as Rodriguez. The national team mainstay slid the ball into the net to get the go-ahead goal for her team.
The following few minutes was a back-and-forth scene with Ateneo taking control of the match most of the time. Ten minutes before the final whistle, Rodriguez tried to save the ball from going out and blasted it into the net. Javier tried to parry the ball, but instead accidentally pushed it in for Rodriguez’ brace. The match ended with Ateneo taking one against UP-Y, 2-0, to take the group lead after Day 1.
Lady Tamaraws, UP-X settle for draw
In the final game of the opening day, Lady Tamaraws FC and UP-X fought tooth and nail, but ended up sharing the points at the end of 90 minutes, 2-2.
UP-X started out like a well-oiled machine right when the kickoff whistle was sounded. After several incursions and chances in the opening minutes of the match, Kali Navea-Huff got the initial goal. The burly winger found some space on the left flank and fired the ball into the back of the net. Navea-Huff almost doubled her team’s lead at the 10th minute, but was denied by the opposing keeper.
After that Navea-Huff goal, Lady Tamaraws executed their own offense in search of an equalizer. After some work from the midfield, the green-shirts were rewarded with a goal at the 14th minute. Bia Requerme saw UP custodian Nic Adlawan off her line and chips the ball towards the net, to level the match at 1-apiece.
The Lady Maroons would mount their own rally in the next minutes, which ended with another goal. Navea-Huff fired another shot from the top of the box, but it sailed over the bar. Nonetheless, in the following play, Cassandra Alleje finished a feed from the middle into the onion bag to wrestle back the lead for UP. The Lady Tamaraws tried to level the match once more, but the halftime whistle was sounded with the Maroons leading by 1, 2-1.
The Lady Tamaraws stepped on the gas in the second half as they continually breached the middle third of UP. At the hour-mark, the Morayta-based squad registered the tying goal. Off a free kick, opposing goalie Adlawan grabbed the ball, but spills it out. Mary Harriete Lam punished this error and tapped the ball pass the goal line for the final goal of the match.
The green-shirts showed their maturity and endgame composure in the final minutes as they tried to steal the victory off UP. In a heated scuffle for the ball, Navea-Huff pushed Jeanelyn Amita hard into the pitch. The UP winger walked away from the pitch knowing she will be sent off by the referee. The Lady Tamaraws send some last-ditch attempts; nonetheless, the score line stayed on even terms between them and UP-X.
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