The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons caught fire late in the first half to drub University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Booters, 4-1, in their second round face-off in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 77 Men’s Football Tournament at the FEU-Diliman Football Field in Quezon City.
Both teams displayed their brand of defense right in the first few minutes of the match, but the Maroons had the upper hand in terms of ball possessions. UP’s first goal attempt came at the 6th minute, when Francisco Santos crossed the ball to Gerardo Valmayor, who was streaking towards the goal box. Unfortunately, Valmayor was whistled for an offside, thus nullifying the attempt.
UST’s own attempt came in the 13th minute courtesy of Efren Menares, but his attempt far from the box was too strong, sending the ball wide. Three minutes later, Marvin Bricenio had a good corner kick enough for another chance at goal, but the UP defense was able to block the ball.
Generating ball possessions through their stifling defense, UP had better looks in pushing the ball forward, having clear goal attempts at the 26th and the 29th minute behind Niño Muros and Valmayor. However, UST was becoming successful in defending these attempts, leaving UP puzzled on how to push themselves ahead.
However, the match became a one-sided affair in favor of the Fighting Maroons, when an erroneous sequence, a free kick miscue from the UST side in the 38th minute, became the turning point. From then on, UP never looked back, scoring four straight goals from the 41st to the 47th minute courtesy of Valmayor’s two goals and one apiece from Carlos Monfort and Vincent Aguilar. The first half ended 4-nil.
The second half was almost the same as the first for UP, as they were garnering the majority of ball possessions. The Maroons had brief looks to notch up two more goals in the 61st and in the 64th minute, but both of their attacks became mere attempts.
Things started to click for the España-based squad come the 70th minute onwards, defending UP successfully to earn possessions. Their efforts on the defensive end paid off well, when Steven Anotado hit a goal from the left side of the penalty box in the 72nd minute, ending UST’s goal drought. Anotado tried to trim the deficit to two goals a minute after, but his shot from the right side failed to get in.
Monfort tried to earn one more goal for UP, but his shot on the left side of the box did not find the back of the net. Montfort’s attempt also served as UP’s last attempt.
UST tried to send the match into a 4-all affair, but their attempts in the 80th and in the 84th minutes did not pass through UP’s plethora of defenders. UP defended well until the final whistle blew, thus sealing the 4-1 victory.
UP head coach Anto Gonzales wasn’t upbeat despite the team’s win. “We can’t be happy with the way we played,” said Gonzales. “If you look at the result, it’s flattering. But if you look at the game, it’s not, because we conceded a goal,” he added.
With the win, UP remains at the number one spot, while UST stays at sixth, sending their playoff hopes in tatters.
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