After two rivalry matches in the semifinals of the 2015 PFF Women’s Invitational Cup, Far Eastern University (FEU) and De La Salle University (DLSU) secure their places in the Final when they outlasted University of Santo Tomas (UST) and Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), respectively, Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
FEU overpowers UST; clinches Final berth
Reigning UAAP champions FEU continued their mastery of UST in the first semifinal match when they poured in three goals, two from Jovelle Sudaria and another from Barbie Sobredo to take the first championship ticket.
After weak attempts from either side that went straight to the opposing keepers, the Morayta-based team started their build up in the middle. Kimberly Cupal sent a ball forward, which UST keeper Nicole Reyes kept out of danger. It wasn’t long until the relentless pressure from FEU finally plucked a goal in the 13th minute. Sudaria found Reyes off her line and chipped the ball into the goal.
The Thomasians attempted to connect to their attacking third, but FEU contained their passing on the right flank. On the other hand, the yellow-shirts found Sudaria again inside the box. However, the UST defense managed to clear it for an FEU corner kick, which the latter failed to convert.
UST had a spell on the offensive side at the vicinity of the 30th minute. Unfortunately, it did not end with a goal, as the free kick from Chandra Solite went over the bar. From there, it was a back-and-forth battle on the flood-drenched pitch until the final seconds of the first half. FEU’s Ina Araneta could have doubled their lead, but the ball got stuck in the puddle in front of their goal. The halftime whistle was sounded with Araneta’s squad leading 1-0.
FEU’s adjustments on the midfield paid off just minutes into the second period. After a botched play at the 47th minute, Sobredo ran into the box and tried an attempt to the goal. The UST defense attempted to stop the shot, but was called for a hand ball infraction. The burly FEU midfielder calmly sank the spot kick to double her team’s lead. On an ensuing play, Sobredo doubled her own output after stealing the ball from the midfield and blasting it towards the goal.
The home team wrestled control of the match from that point as they denied UST any chances to move the ball forward. Continuous rain also deterred the Thomasians plan on the attack, as they had difficulties with their passing game. After several tries, the white-shirts finally broke free from the opposing defense. Jennizel Cabalan and Charisa Lemoran was at the heart of the attack, but the forwards would fail to finish. The FEU defense held in the dying minutes and sealed their trip to the Final with this 3-0 victory over their rivals UST.
Hodges’ lone goal over Ateneo sends DLSU to Final
UAAP Season 77 Rookie of the Year Chelo Hodges snatched a late goal in the second semifinal to lift DLSU past ADMU and propelled her team to the Final against FEU.
Both teams used their flanks in the early goings of the match as they tried to initiate their respective offensive rhythms. The Atenean left, and the La Sallian right flanks had their chances, but the opposing defenses stood their ground. The blue-shirts had the better of the opportunities, only the connection of Camille Rodriguez and Tessa Bernardo failed to find the back of the net. Fortunately for the visitors, Bernardo fished a foul against Mary Cristine Duran on an ensuing play. However, Mica Corrales sent her free kick over the bar and the goalless score line remained.
DLSU turned their defensive intensity to offense in the next few minutes. Their offense picked up in the latter stage of the first half as they finally sent the ball to their attacking third. Nonetheless, the Taft-based squad failed to score on their free kick attempts from Hodges and Angge Metillo. The period ended with the archrivals yet to tally a goal.
In the second half, Ateneo continued where they left off in the early stages of the previous half. At the 58th minute, substitute Pamela Diaz linked with Rodriguez, only Duran cleared the ball out of danger. The blue-shirts managed to keep up the pressure and won free kicks. Aina Martin took charge of these free kicks, but the veteran midfielder could not convert.
Just when the visitors inched closer towards their backline, DLSU stole a goal from the counter attack three minutes from the end of regulation. Irish Navaja picked the ball off an Atenean and sent the ball to Hodges on top of the box. The sophomore forward found herself with space to operate and fired a shot past the outstretched arms Kitkat Montelibano. That lone goal sealed the deal for her team to enter the Final against FEU.
The storied rivalry between the two best collegiate teams of the country: FEU and DLSU will take on another chapter on Sunday as the Final of the 2015 PFF Women’s Invitational Cup happens at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
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