The National University Bulldogs left it late anew, scoring twice in the last two minutes to beat the valiant Adamson University Soaring Calvin’s, 2-0, in Sunday afternoon’s first game at the McKinley Hill Stadium.
Aiming to pick up where they left off in their last game, NU played more aggressively in the first half. It was easier said gjan done as they have learned after being held for the first 88 minutes of the game.
Early on, they had most of the chances but can’t seem to find the finishing touch. The first of their clear cut chances came 10 minutes into the game. Rookie Chima Uzoka broke down Adamson’s defense and got himself in a one-on-one situation. However, the rookie was unable to shoot properly as Adamson goalie Carl Viray urgently went up to block his attempt. Three minutes later, Viray was equal to another Uzoka shot, this time from outside the box.
The flow in the early minutes reflected the complexion of the game as Adamson looked content in playing defensively. They only managed to create on the counter, often undone by their lack of composure in front of goal. The best chance they recorded in the first half was courtesy of Jackson Ramos, who sent his free kick on to the side netting.
As for the Bulldogs, they routinely bombarded the Falcons defense. Several opportunities arrived but the Adamson side held firm. The score was nearly changed two minutes before halftime had Paolo Salenga strike net instead of the post. At the break, it remained as is started at nil apiece.
Things got more livelier in the second half. Just as in the first half, NU dominated the match. At the 55th minute, they produced a good chance to break the deadlock. Patrick Valenzuela delivered a fine cross to Francis Abalunan whose header was handled by Viray. The Bulldogs continued to pressure but for each attack, the Falcons were prepared to stop them.
After the second half water break, the Falcons looked a different side. They were venturing forward and had a couple of good chances. At the 71st minute, Bless Jumo I connected with Kurt Almacen. Unfortunately, he fired his shot wide. Seven minutes after, Jusuel Pilarca threaded a nifty through ball towards the path of Jumo I, but NU goalkeeper Elijah Aban got on time to clear the danger.
Just as the game was about to end in a stalemate, the Adamson defense crumbled. Salenga was brought down inside the box at the 88th minute and earned a penalty in the process. The captain tallied his second goal of the season from 12 yards by sending the Adamson keeper the wrong way. Demoralized, the Falcons conceded another one a minute later. Owen Padernal directed a pass to Macapal who finished in stunning fashion, looping it over Viray to sweeten a hard-earned win.
“It was a good game. Hindi ako satisfied kasi very late goal siya pero tinrabaho naman ng mga bata. Ok na rin ‘yun. A win is a win. Three points is three points,” declared Wilhelm Laranas who oversaw a rugged victory. Knowing Adamson will play defensively, Laranas added that the plan was to pour plenty of men forward.
NU will next face their toughest test so far as they face the defending champions FEU on Thursday Feb. 18, 2016, While Adamson will face Ateneo de Manila University on Saturday Feb. 20, 2016
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