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FEU, UST ends elims with rousing wins; Ateneo secures last semis berth

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In the last day of the group phase action of the 2015 PFF Women’s Invitational Cup, sure semifinalists Far Eastern University (FEU) and University of Santo Tomas (UST) pulled off contrasting wins against Sikat FC and Chelsea Soccer School, respectively, while Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) booked the last Final Four slot over Green Archers United (GAU) FC, Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

FEU staves off Sikat FC; secures semis berth

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times FEU, UST ends elims with rousing wins; Ateneo secures last semis berth

Three goals in the first half were enough for FEU as they snatch their third victory of the group phase and a spot at the Final Four, against Sikat FC, 3-1, in the first match of the day.

Just seconds into the match, Sikat FC had their first crack at goal after FEU was whistled for a foul. Lisan Bijdevaate attempted from a free kick outside the box, but her shot went straight to the hands of the opposing keeper Joy Chavez.

From there, the Morayta-based squad wrestled control of the match. At the fourth minute, Ina Araneta received a pass from the middle and weaved past the Sikat custodian Jezza Baron, only her attempt was cleared by the defense. The forward would not be denied, however, 13 minutes after. Araneta found Baron off her line, and chipped the ball into the goal to break the deadlock.

The offensive pressure continued for the visitors and they were rewarded with their second goal of the match. At the 21st minute, Barbie Sobredo found space to shoot from the right flank and guided the ball past Baron. Three minutes after, the prolific scorer doubled her own output. Team captain Alesa Dolino’s run was impeded by the Sikat defense inside the box, winning her squad a penalty kick. Sobredo took the spot kick and slotted it out of Baron’s reach. Both defenses held up to the halftime whistle, with FEU leading 3-0.

At the second half, both squads tried hard to tally a goal. FEU pushed for more goals with Araneta and Sobredo on the attack, but Sikat did well to stifle these attempts. Following several opportunities going forward, Sikat snatched a consolation goal in stoppage time.
Natasha Alquiros fired from inside the box and the ball ricocheted off the post and past the goal line. Nonetheless, FEU marched into the semifinals with this victory, finishing on top of the standings.

Late Lustan goal lifts UST over Chelsea SS

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times FEU, UST ends elims with rousing wins; Ateneo secures last semis berth

Despite having already secured a semifinals slot, UST punctuated their group phase campaign with a come-from-behind victory against Chelsea SS, 3-2.

Chelsea took control of the match in the early goings. Several chances were mounted by the blue-shirts spearheaded by Joma Clemente, Loreta Ladero, and Sheen Ramores. At the 18th minute, Ladero pierced through the defense, but her shot went straight to UST keeper Ivy Lopez. With continuous pressure, the home side was finally able to get the breakthrough goal after three minutes. On an ensuing play, UST’s Rachelle Sanchez attempted to clear a shot from Chelsea, but instead the ball went in, giving the home side the lead.

After taking the stand on defense, UST pushed for and picked up an equalizer. At the 41st minute, Jennizel Cabalan found herself with space to operate and fired one near the top of the box to tie the match at one. Nina Acuna then tried to snatch the lead, but her two attempts were dealt with easily by the defense.

A minute before the halftime, Chelsea restored their one-point cushion. Ladero found Clemente with room to operate, and the latter blasted the ball into the net. Clemente’s goal put her team on top on the break, 2-1.

It was back-and-forth action in the second half as both teams continued to share possession and scoring chances until UST finally breached the home team’s backline. Cabalan forced Jayneth Mercardo out of her line and rolled the ball into the onion bag to level the game once again.

After Cabalan’s goal, the tussle continued between the teams as both defenses stymied any attempts from the opponent. It seemed as though the game would end on a stalemate, until UST pulled off a last-minute goal care of Hazel Lustan. The speedy forward blasted the ball from inside the penalty area to end her team’s captain on a high note going into the semis.

Ateneo fends off GAU, books last ride to semis

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times FEU, UST ends elims with rousing wins; Ateneo secures last semis berth

In the battle for the last semifinals slot, two goals in both halves propelled Ateneo over GAU FC, 2-1, and into the knockout phase, in the last match of the group stage of the Cup.

ADMU started the first half on the offense by trying to use the right wing. At the 3rd minute, Camille Rodriguez fired from the top of the box, but it went straight to the mitts of GAU keeper Haya Ibarra. Tessa Bernardo tried to connect from a run at the 20th minute into the penalty area, only no one from her team was inside the box. It was five minutes after the hour-mark that the Lady Eagles got the breakthrough goal. Aina Martin received the ball from a short corner kick and sent it into the goal off the hands of Ibarra. That served as the marginal goal as the halftime whistle was sounded.

At the second half, both teams took advantage of what the opposing defense allowed with several opportunities to score. However, the forwards off either side could not finish. At the 56th minute, GAU’s Clara Poblador tried to take a shot from a free kick, but it went wide.

Ateneo finally broke the silence at the 67th minute with a goal against the run of play. Pamela Diaz received a pass from the midfield and drove into the box. GAU’s Poblador attempted to dispossess Diaz but failed. The Lady Eagle skillfully fired the ball past Ibarra to double the lead for her team.

With minutes to spare, GAU pushed for a goal back and was rewarded just three minutes after Diaz’ goal. In an ensuing corner kick at the 70th minute, the home side found Kaira Dimatulac for the conversion to cut the deficit to one, 1-2.

The response from the green-shirts fuelled Ateneo to search for an insurance goal. Two attempts from Diaz and Rodriguez in the vicinity of the 76th minute, however, was easily stopped by Ibarra. Both teams pushed for more goals, but their efforts were for nought as the final whistle was sounded with the Lady Eagles pulling the rag off GAU and snatching a last berth to the Final Four.

With the end of the group stage, the Cup now enters the semifinals next week where archrivals De La Salle University and Ateneo de Manila University go head-to-head. While tournament favorites Far Eastern University face-off with a revitalized University of Santo Tomas Lady Booters.

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Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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