The second round matchup between the De La Salle University Lady Archers and Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws saw each side turn in crunch time goals to end in a 1-1 draw, Sunday afternoon at the FEU Diliman Football Field.
From the get-go, the Lady Tamaraws controlled the offensive flow, with the Lady Archers struggling to find a way to cut inside to the front of the goal or attack from the wing. Though their midfield was able to distribute effectively, resorting to a steady tiki-taka, La Salle struggled to find the means to attack the goal. FEU on the other hand got a much-needed boost from their personnel at the top of the field, who had the presence of mind to exploit every opening in the La Salle back. Kimberly Cupal almost drew first blood at the 10th minute, taking advantage of miscommunication in the La Salle defense to go one-on-one with La Salle goalie Inna Palacios, but lost the ball to the keeper after Cha Guancia caught up with her and prevented her from getting into position to tap the ball into the direction of the net.
At the 17th minute, Regine Metillo almost gave La Salle the early lead when a free kick she took from midway of the left wing came dangerously close to hitting the net before it was eventually stopped in its tracks by FEU goalie Sheramae Ramos. Three minutes later, FEU had the chance to finally put one on the goal tally when a corner kick taken by Barbie Ann Sobredo was redirected into the path of the net by Jean Kadil’s header. La Salle goalie Palacios was able to parry the shot away, but could not hold on to the ball as it immediately bounced back into play. A couple more FEU players came close to tapping the ball towards the net, but the flurry in front of the goal had an abrupt end when a flag was raised by the linesman.
The FEU attackers had a couple more good looks in the remaining twenty minutes of play in the first half, with La Salle’s defenders finally bracing together to suppress the Tams’ offense. Charmaine Fagaragan almost scored for FEU at the 27th minute, going one-on-one with the La Salle goalie and striking from just a few feet away from the net, but the shot was easily stopped by Palacios. Three minutes later, another La Salle free kick from long distance- this time by Alexi Arrieta- almost sent the ball to the net. The FEU goalie however managed to parry away the ball before it could cross the line, much to the relief of the FEU personnel at the sidelines. The last fifteen minutes saw the beginning of another midfield struggle for the ball, but with neither team able to send the ball into the goal. At the half, the score stood at 0-0.
The Lady Tams’ all-out push for the first goal resumed right at the start of the second half, forcing the La Salle goalie to bring a little more hustle. FEU’s Fagaragan was inches away from glory at the 54th minute, going one-on-one with Palacios and forcing her into a premature awkward dive and needing only to chip the ball into the open net. But before she could position herself for the easy goal, Mary Christine Duran caught up in time to sweep the ball from her feet, preventing FEU from drawing first blood.
The next twenty minutes saw the FEU attackers continue to cause trouble for the La Salle defenders. The Lady Tams were rewarded at the 78th minute, when Alesa Dolino collected a cross from the left wing, and keeping her composure in front of the goal, easily launched the ball into the net before Palacios could get a hand on it.
But four minutes later, it was suddenly the Archers’ time to celebrate. At the 82nd minute, Anita Amita tripped Guancia just as the latter entered the penalty area maneuvering with the ball. Guancia had no trouble sending in the penalty, equalizing at 1-1 with just ten minutes of regular time left.
Fired up from the lease on life given by Guancia’s goal, the Archers took control of their offense and produced a couple of good opportunities. Megan Diaz almost snatched the game away with an 84th minute header, but the ball wound up bouncing into the outstretched hands of the FEU goalie. At the end of stoppage time, the score remained at 1-1.
“We’re playing more as a team and they’re following more instructions. It’s just the lapses and individual mistakes. Those things can cost [us],” said La Salle head coach Hans Smit when asked about his reaction to the draw.