A heated 90 minutes of football featuring the De La Salle University Green Archers and the Far Eastern University Tamaraws that saw hard collisions, bad falls, and possibly controversial calls ended in a 1-1 draw on Sunday afternoon at the FEU Diliman Football Field.
An 84th minute penalty goal by Jhan Jhan Melliza gave the Tamaraws the 1-0 lead following a call that incurred the ire of the La Salle faithful. But five minutes later, the people in green and white had something to cheer about, thanks to an 89th minute goal by Chuck Uy to equalize.
The opening ten minutes saw both teams in a struggle to dominate the midfield. The spotlight shone on FEU’s Angelou Val Jurao in the first half, who found a way to beat the La Salle defense by maneuvering his way in the wing. He came close to drawing first blood at the 12th minute after finding a good look from the left corner of the box, but the shot ended up sailing past the opposite post.
La Salle on the other hand suffered an early setback when defender Noel Timothy Brago was stretchered off a minute later, after a violent tackle. Just earlier this week Gelo Diamante, one of the Archers’ most prized playmakers, was stretchered off after an awkward fall in the Archers’ matchup with UST and had to sit out for this game.
It was the duo of Melliza and Jurao who kept the Tamaraws’ attack alive for the remainder of the first half, dominating the wing and striking as they pleased. La Salle had the chance to beat FEU to the much-coveted first goal at the 31st minute thanks to Nate Alquiros, who found himself with an open look and enough space to strike from the right wing, but the shot was stopped in its tracks by FEU goalie Patrick Bonn Rallos. Eric Giganto, the Tamaraws’ leading scorer, had another chance to finally bag a goal for the Green and Gold at the 43rd minute, beating the defense to go one-on-one with La Salle goalie Rafael de Guzman, but the ball was swept from his feet before he could tap the ball in the direction of the goal. Both sides entered the half scoreless.
The early second half opened to another midfield battle, with Arnel Amita taking charge for FEU and establishing his presence in the left wing and around the perimeter of the penalty box. At the 50th minute, a shot from just outside the box was caught by the La Salle keeper. Nine minutes later, Amita came close to breaking the cold spell with an open shot from the left wing, but the ball once again landed in de Guzman’s hands.
The 70th minute mark saw the Archers finally kick their offense back to life. Gerald Layumas came close to putting an end to the drought at the 73rd minute, collecting a set piece by Alquiros and nudging it toward the goal, but the ball wound up sailing past the net. A minute later, Michael Menzi connected with a cross from the left wing, heading the ball at point-blank range only for the ball to be headed away by La Salle’s Hector Ian Borromeo. The ball bounced back in play and was nudged toward the direction of the net, but this time the La Salle goalie was able to grab the ball before it could cross the line.
Tempers flared as the last ten minutes of regular time clocked in, with the La Salle supporters in the sidelines passionately contesting a couple of fouls slapped on the Archers. At the 84th minute, the crowd around the pitch exploded when La Salle defender Gregory Norman Yang was ruled to have fouled FEU’s Melliza just inside the penalty box. Yang contested the call and was given a yellow card. Melliza had no trouble guiding the ball past de Guzman into the net, giving the Tamaraws the 1-0 lead with just six minutes of regular time left.
The Archers however kept their counterattack going, and were rewarded five minutes later. At the 89th minute, Uy, after escaping the FEU defense to collect the long volley from Koizumi, found himself one-on-one with the Tams’ keeper before luring him out of position and chipping the ball into the open goal.
Though both teams spent stoppage time looking for the extra goal, neither could mount any serious attacks, and at the end of 90 the score stood at 1-1.
La Salle assistant head coach Elvin Marcellana had no comment about the game, but complained about the officiating, citing the yellow card handed to Brago in the first half.
Both the Tamaraws and Archers were playing with notable names on the injury list. FEU was without midfielder Paolo Bugas, who is out for four weeks after suffering an ACL tear in their game with UP earlier this week. La Salle on the other hand will be missing Gelo Diamante, who broke his clavicle in the Archers’ matchup with UST also earlier this week and will miss 6-8 weeks of action. Following the draw, neither team moves from their previous spots in the standings.
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