Season 75 champions Ateneo hopped to a solid start by making quick work of UE, 4-1, on opening night of UAAP Season 77 men’s football at the Moro Lorenzo Football Field.
The Ateneans attacked relentlessly against a hapless UE team who lost star player Fitch Arboleda this season. The opening goal came from Jeremiah Rocha who scored off Emmanuel Paredes’ free kick in the 13th minute.
The Blue Booters continued to search for an insurance goal but their pursuit for goal number two was halted by a repetition of offside infractions, mostly slapped on Emilio Acosta. However, they nabbed what they were aiming for a minute after the hour mark.
Carlo Liay, back in action after missing Season 76, flicked home another free kick from Paredes to double the lead. It assured a comfortable mood for the Ateneans entering the break, for UE had several half chances inside the first half.
The team most familiar to the pitch picked up where they left off. Only five minutes had gone by when Julian Roxas nodded in Mikko Mabanag’s corner from the right flank to establish a gigantic 3-0 lead. The Warriors kept Ateneo from scoring a fourth for 16 minutes. A UE defensive lapse allowed Acosta to tread a delicate pass to Jin Montemayor who made no mistake past Lendon Clores.
The UE keeper was obviously the busier of two keepers. Despite conceding four on the night, Clores had a considerably good outing as he avoided more Ateneo goals from happening. His counterpart, JP Oracion was not tested much in the 90 minutes of play. Unluckily, the Ateneo netminder was deprived of a clean sheet by Khyndale Manzo who sneaked in a consolation goal seven minutes before time.