Just as it seemed like La Salle and UST were about to settle for a draw, DLSU’s Irish Navaja powered her way to score the game winning goal to earn her team the greatest of starts with a 1-0 win against the Tigresses Sunday afternoon at the Moro Lorenzo Football Field.
It was a tough loss for the Thomasians who bossed much of the action in the first half. La Salle keeper Inna Palacios was called into action for much of the opening 45 minutes. However, she was only slightly bothered as UST’s chances were hit from long distance. The most dangerous UST opportunity came in the 38th minute when Sheen Ramores delivered a nifty through ball to Daryll Mendoza only for it to have a little bit of pace that evaded Mendoza’s path.
It was indeed a tale of two halves as it was La Salle’s turn to turn up the heat in the second half. Although creating half chances in the first 45 minutes, the women in green and white controlled the tempo of the second half by limiting UST from finding ways around their defense.
Six minutes after the restart, Megan Diaz had a good chance to score the opening goal but had one touch too many from Navaja’s pass. In the 55th minute, Kyla Inquig had UST goalkeeper Zipporah Luna at her mercy with a precious one-on-one opportunity inside the box only for her curled shot to enter the wrong side of the post. Diaz and substitute Cha Guancia also had a couple of softly hit shots that were easily dealt with by Luna. Both teams vied for possession in the box for much of the second half that was mostly spent with UST doing well in preventing an energized La Salle frontline from breaking through their back four.
Action erupted in the dying minutes of the game when the golden-clad women produced a near goal scoring opportunity only for it to end up hitting the side netting. On the other side, Guancia sprinted away from others towards Luna only for the linesman to rule her offside with just two minutes plus added time left. In the first minute of added time, Navaja took the chance of beating three UST players while sprinting into the box before clinically delivering the dagger to earn La Salle the victory. The result puts DLSU as joint leaders together with UP, after the opening round of UAAP Season 77 women’s football.
Champions FEU Lady Tamaraws are on bye and will start the season next round.