Two penalty goals from Lawrence Colina, one in the first half and another in the last ten minutes of the second, paved the way for the National University Bulldogs to take a 3-1 victory over the Adamson University Soaring Falcons, Thursday afternoon at the FEU Diliman Football Field.
The first half opened to both teams being aggressive in front of the goal. A header by Darwin Regala at the third minute almost sent the ball past Adamson goalie Carl Jupiter Viray, but the latter was able to dive in time and collect the ball before it could go into the net or be tapped in by anyone else from NU. Viray responded by sending the long ball all the way to the other end of the field, where Bless Brian Jumo II, who had maneuvered his way into the penalty, easefully collected the pass. Though he found himself one on one with NU goalie Hayeson Pepito, he lost control of the ball before he could tap it into a trajectory beyond the goalie’s reach. The ball was promptly scooped up by Pepito.
Taking advantage of Adamson’s disorganized back, Nico Macapal found himself with enough space to strike from the left top corner of the box at the 8th minute, but the shot whizzed past the bar. Four minutes later, he took another try from the same spot with the same kind of shot, but once again the shot was wide. At the 17th minute, Patrick Valenzuela was tripped inside the penalty box while positioning himself. The penalty kick was assigned to Lawrence Colina, who had no difficulty sending the ball past Viray to give the Bulldogs the 1-0 lead.
The Bulldogs’ continued aggression proved fruitful, when ten minutes later, Nico Macapal finally found success, after another one from just inside the box connected with the net. After the 27 minutes of play, the Bulldogs lead 2-0. Jumo II had the chance to kick the Falcons’ campaign back to life at the 35th minute, finding himself one-on-one with the NU goalie. Jumo II was able to send the ball flying in an upward curve before Pepito could react, but the ball instead bounced off the bar and out of play. The remainder of the half saw a midfield battle for the ball, the Falcons’ playmakers trying to re-establish their presence on the field. At the half, the score was still 2-0.
Colina, the game’s first scorer, had a couple more good shots from just beyond the penalty box, but was unable to send anything past the goalie. The Falcons on the other hand finally found a way to get into the penalty box, and at the 50th minute, they were rewarded with their first goal of the game care of brothers Bless Brian Jumo I and Bless Brian Jumo II. It was Jumo I who sent the through pass to his brother Jumo II, with the latter maneuvering to get the NU goalie out of position and easefully chipping the ball into the open net.
With the complexion of the game looking to change, both sides’ midfields figured in another struggle to control the offensive flow. The Adamsonians were able to stifle NU’s previously aggressive drive to the goal, leaving space to create on their own end of the pitch. Around the 64th minute, Darwin Regala came close to extending the NU lead, striking from the left flank after collecting the cross from the opposite wing by teammate Francis Jay Abalunan. The shot however was easily knocked off course by Falcon Jumo II, who parried the ball away with his leg. Six minutes later, Pepito, the Bulldogs’ starting goalie was subbed out for Chris Perocho after the former hurt his leg while sending a long ball. The NU defenders readjusted in time to tighten the back, while midfield finally found a way to control the flow of the ball.
The last ten minutes saw NU continue to trouble the Adamson defenders, but found themselves unable to get past the plucky Falcons. At the 88th minute, Viray tripped Jacob Gomez while the latter was trying to attack the goal. Lawrence Colina once more was assigned to take the penalty kick, and once again had no trouble sending the ball into the net. Approaching the 90th minute, Arnel Casil almost padded the NU tally anew, heading in the free kick sent by Jezer Jalandoni, but the Bulldogs’ celebrations were cut short when the officials ruled the shot as having been offside. It was the Bulldogs however who walked away with the victory.
“Nawala sa second half pero maganda ‘yung nilaro ng mga tao,” said NU head coach Wilhelm Laranas after the game. Coach Laranas was happy with the team’s overall performance but was disappointed with the midfield’s struggles in the second half. “Obvious naman na na-dominate namin kaso noong second half nawala yung midfield. ‘Yung goal ng Adamson, wake up call ‘yun.”
Coach Laranas also expressed his optimism about the coming matchup against defending champions this Sunday.”We are hoping na maulit yung win namin sa FEU this Sunday. I’m happy na FEU ‘yung kalaban. Everybody can play.”
“First half naging mas defensive ako. Noong second half ginawa kong offensive na, eventually naging balance na,” said Adamson head coach Nolan Manito about his approach to the game. Adamson coach Manito praised his players despite the loss, expressing that they showed effort and perseverance throughout the game. He however recognized that the two penalties that gave NU the means to ice the win were due to mistakes they made.
As of this writing, NU is tied with defending champions FEU with 17 points, but trail in terms of goal difference. Adamson is still without any points at eight place.
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