A hat-trick from Cristina de los Reyes and three magnificent assists from Kali Navea-Huff powered UP to a 4-0 hammering of UST Sunday afternoon at the Moro Lorenzo Football Field. The result extends the Iskas’ winning streak to three games out of three.
It only took less than a minute for the league leaders to punch their first goal of the game. Season 74 Rookie of the Year De los Reyes took advantage of a UST defensive error by slotting home the ball into the empty net. UST goalkeeper Ivy Lopez attempted to collect the ball but was unsuccessful as De los Reyes won the tussle.
Six minutes later, UP stretched the Thomasian defense courtesy of Kali. The winger outpaced her markers before driving a shot into Lopez’s far post. Noticing that the ball was drifting away from target, another Rookie of the Year awardee found the back of the net. Top freshman of last season Mary Obra guided the ball to make it 2-0 for UP.
Seeking to respond, UST worked their way around set pieces. Still, the Tigresses found difficulty in testing Jermaine Choa Peck after not producing a shot on target. Their closest chance to convert came at the 10th minute. Pearl Aguilar was unmarked inside the right hand side of the box. The UST forward struggled to control possession right away, prompting Choa Peck to corral the ball.
Balance of play remained closely even but UP, whose stake on the ball was superior, always looked likely to add goals to their tally. Another goal-scoring opportunity arrived 18 minutes into the game.
Goalscorers Obra and De los Reyes almost cooked up a third goal through their brilliant partnership. Obra lost balance down the left side of the pitch but located De los Reyes who missed a good shot from 18 yards out.
The third year player then made her next chance count. At the 27th minute, Kali’s cross from the right found the lurking De los Reyes to flick it past Lopez, making it a three-goal advantage for the Lady Maroons. The Tigresses looked vulnerable on defending counter attacks and UP made them pay more often than not.
Woman of the hour De los Reyes netted again to bag the first UAAP Season 77 women’s football hat-trick at the 37th minute. The Maldita mainstay sprinted to collect Kali’s delicious through ball inside their own half before chipping over Lopez to score UP’s fourth goal.
UST coach Judal Sorito had seen enough and sent Nicole Reyes to replace Lopez as keeper. The Tigresses prevented any clear chances for UP to stay ahead by four at the half.
Tempo slowed down in the second half when the match seemed to have been done and dusted already. UP’s Angeliza Sta. Clara had a good look on goal but her shot was off target at the 55th minute.
It took a long while for the match’s next goal-scoring opportunity to take place. At the 83rd minute, UST had two chances to breach UP’s goal then manned by Nicole Adlawan. Rachelle Sanchez and Pearl Aguilar had chances but UP’s defense coped well with the pressure. It enabled UP to keep the league’s longest run of not conceding a goal.
UP coach Anto Gonzales expressed satisfaction with his players’ performance saying, “I think we played well. The girls were able to implement our plan against UST,” whom according to him played a high defensive line.
UST mentor Sorito meanwhile was left speechless and reckons to use the long break in working out their deficiencies come second round.
UP moves on top with 9 points in 3 games as UST sink below with 3 points and an inferior goal difference grounding them to fifth place.