Kofi Agyei provided the breakthrough Ateneo de Manila University needed to secure its ticket to the final of the UAAP Season 85 Men’s Football Tournament.
The 21-year-old forward headed the ball home in the 45+1st minute, propelling the Blue Eagles to a 2-0 victory over the University of Santo Tomas last Thursday. His opener put Ateneo one step closer to the final, and Galen Fernandez sealed the deal in the 53rd minute.
“It’s pretty good. We simply followed what Coach JP Merida has been telling us all the time – all the basic things we do as a team and playing together,” said Agyei.
“My mentality was to ensure that I score and help my team, making sure I do the right things, and everything just falls into place.”
Throughout the years under Merida, Ateneo has consistently proven to be a challenging team to score against. The Blue Eagles also have a notable advantage in set pieces due to their relatively tall players who pose threats.
Standing at 6-foot-5 and ½, Agyei is an obvious target for the Blue Eagles due to his size. His goal against the Golden Booters came from a set-piece play as he towered over everyone around him.
“We simply follow what the coach tells us all the time, and set-pieces are something that will help us. We ensure that we execute set-pieces properly. When we do, we score more goals. So, we stick to the set-piece plays,” he said.
As a reward, Ateneo will face Far Eastern University this Thursday, setting up a rematch of the Season 79 final in which the Blue Eagles emerged victorious with a 1-0 win, thanks to a goal from Jarvey Gayoso.
While the Blue Eagles defeated the Tamaraws on March 16 and April 13, Agyei acknowledges that the upcoming big match will be anyone’s game.
“Playing FEU will be challenging because… I think we can’t approach the match the same way we did against UST. They scored two goals against us, so the mentality is different, you know,” said the Ghana native, who has now scored three goals this season.
“So, I believe FEU will have the same mentality. They will come with a strong mindset to score against Ateneo. We will also give our best efforts to ensure another victory.”