The De La Salle Green Archers outlasted the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons 1-0 in the two teams’ second match in this UAAP Season 78 Men’s Football Tournament held at the McKinley Hill Stadium. Green Archers rookie Darius Diamante was the only scorer of the game at the 62nd minute.
It was the Green Archers’ second win of the season while the result stretched the Fighting Maroons’ winless run to two games.
La Salle and UP were both frustrated in the first half. Greggy Yang forced a save from UP goalkeeper Ace Villanueva in the third minute of the game. Three minutes later, UP had a free kick of their own by Patxi Santos who directed his shot over the La Salle goal. Another free kick by Yang led to a UP clearance.
The Fighting Maroons had a corner, which after a few attempts on goal, was cleared by the Green Archers. Rookie right winger Kintaro Miyagi’s header was then saved by Green Archers goalkeeper Paeng De Guzman. Another Fighting Maroons rookie winger, JB Borlongan, was lively in the first half. Borlongan had two successive attempts but both failed to test De Guzman.
The Green Archers had their first meaningful attack when Jose Montelibano was through on goal but Villanueva was alert to prevent any action whatsoever from the former. Miyagi again threatened from the right flank but he shot over the bar again. Moments later, Fighting Maroons captain Daniel Gadia had an attempt on his own go over the opposition goal. A minute afterwards, Borlongan shot again to no avail. Center back Ian Clarino continued the UP bombardment of the La Salle goal when his header was saved by De Guzman.
Inigo Gonzalez had La Salle’s best chance of the first half when his shot hit the bar at the 37th minute. Montelibano then tried to score from a header via a corner kick but his attempt was saved by Villanueva.
Probably the best chance of the whole game fell on Miyagi. With De Guzman on no man’s land, Miyagi had an open goal to head to but he squandered it out of play and the chance went begging. At halftime, it was La Salle 0 – 0 UP.
It was a similar story in the second half. The Green Archers and Fighting Maroons cancelled each other out and prevented goalscoring opportunities from open play. Both teams relied on free kicks to create opportunities with the two goalkeepers alert to prevent any goals. Borlongan beat La Salle’s right back Nathan Alcantara ahad another opportunity to score and this time it was the bottom left post which stopped him. Yang then had another free kick but his shot narrowly went wide.
As befitting a cagey game, the goal had to come from a scrappy play. Pouncing on the chaos in the Fighting Maroons penalty box, Darius Diamante headed the with the UP defense left to stand still. La Salle 1 – 0 UP.
UP tried to respond six minutes later but Clarino’s free kick just missed the bottom right post by an inch. La Salle had two consecutive chances to double their lead. Yang’s free kick was cleared by UP’s wall and Gelo Diamante’s shot from outside the box went wide. Yang had another attempt but it went over.
UP rookie Kyle Magdato had a chance to score after an Alcantara mis-kick but it failed to test De Guzman. La Salle held on for the narrow win.
La Salle head coach Hans-Peter Smit was full of praise of his boys at the end of the game. “Again we just adjusted in the second half. We were not giving 100% in the first half. I give it to the boys kasi they really want to win. They want to win. You could see on the preparedness. The mindset that they have, they never gave up like I said in the first game. You know, attitude’s everything. Hopefully this continues all the way.”
La Salle will face UST next Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016 at the Moro Lorenzo Football Field, while UP’s next match will be held on Feb. 20, 2016 at the McKinley Hill Stadium.