The Ateneo de Manila and National University Men’s football teams saw their high-octane, counterattacking duel result in a 2-2 draw, both teams’ first of the season, Saturday evening at the Moro Lorenzo Football Field in Ateneo.
NU drew first blood in the 11th minute, after Patrick Valenzuela managed to squeeze through the Ateneo defense to get an easy look at the net.
The Ateneans got another couple of good looks in the next few minutes, but none saw the back of the net. It was Carlo Liay who finally equalized with a header for Ateneo at around the 31st minute, connecting on a cross to bag Ateneo’s first goal.
NU’s Alberto Frias had the chance to break the deadlock shortly before the halftime whistle, but he was unable to convert the free kick into a goal, the ball sailing past the post. At the half, the score stood at 1-1.
Both squads had several golden opportunities to take the lead early in the second half; the Blue Eagles in particular had shifted their focus on the counterattack. Ateneo finally got their much-awaited second goal at the 64th minute, after Emilio Acosta converted a corner kick from Mikko Mabanag into a successful set piece, sending one flying past NU keeper Hayeson Pepito to break the deadlock.
Acosta came up big ten minutes later, finding himself with an easy look after charging down the flank to escape the NU defensive line. The Ateneans’ celebration was cut short however, as the officials pointed to the linesman at other end of the pitch, who had his flag raised during Acosta’s attack.
The Bulldogs resumed their attack, and their efforts yielded one more golden opportunity. A successful 76th minute penalty kick from Lawrence Colina gave the Bulldogs a lease on life to force another deadlock at 2-2.
Both teams continued to go all out on the attack with time winding down. Ateneo in particular had two more narrow misses in the final minutes, including a rebounded shot from Andreas Maniquis at the 84th minute that sailed over the net and a free kick from Mikko Mabanag that whizzed past the post.