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Layumas tows DLSU past stubborn UE

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DLSU joint leading scorer for UAAP Season 77 Gerald Layumas’ header early in the first half guided La Salle to a narrow 1-0 win against a gritty UE squad Sunday afternoon at the Moro Lorenzo Football Field.

It was actually UE that got the ball rolling in the match with Kim Medina leading the way. The Red Warrior fired a free kick wide two minutes in and followed that up with a cross to Regil Galaura two minutes later. Galaura’s attempt was blocked by Noel Brago towards the path of Louie Polinag who had too much height on the rebound.

After the early UE surge, La Salle began to upend the game’s momentum. Inside the latter half of the opening 10 minutes, Gregory Yang’s free kick landed straight to UE goalkeeper Lendon Clores and Nicholas Villacin’s attempt was blocked by Polinag. Nathan Alquiros was also denied twice by a sturdy UE wall but the Red Warriors’ resistance eventually faltered soon. From a corner taken by Alquiros, Gerald Layumas headed the ball in to give La Salle the upper hand with 13 minutes gone by.

It triggered DLSU to push forward, with the aim of opening the floodgates to their advantage. Villacin and Alquiros created room but were both unsuccessful in their pursuits. The Lasallians’ aggressiveness in the attacking third allowed UE to move in transition whenever they regained possession. At the 19th minute, Jeffrey Lacsamana had space to launch a shot but lacked accuracy to worry DLSU keeper Paeng de Guzman. It took nine minutes for UE to create another opportunity which had Mason Vergara link up with Galaura only for the rookie forward to misfire. Before that though, DLSU’s Villacin and Koizumi opened up the UE defense but none of those led to a shot on target.

Approaching halftime, the two squads shared possession quite equally. La Salle sustained rhythm in the first eight of the opening half’s last 15 minutes while UE dictated tempo afterwards until the break. Both teams had three good chances apiece, but score stayed at 1-0 come the interval.

The trend continued in the first 15 minutes of the second half, with fouls, offside infractions, and incomplete passing deep into the attacking third plaguing both teams’ intentions to score. After the hour mark, La Salle seized command anew. Villacin tested Clores twice while Koizumi wasted a couple of opportunities by hitting wide.

Still down by just a goal, UE worked a couple of good set pieces to threaten La Salle’s ascendancy. Polinag’s free kick was caught by de Guzman, who also saved Mark Musico’s header off Jo Mallen’s free kick delivery. La Salle used offense to defend, with the prospect of adding to their lead. However, the best chance late in the game fell to UE when Mallen and Galaura connected in La Salle territory with a minute left in normal time. Galaura’s shot rolled slowly, which made it easy for de Guzman to gather.

DLSU Head Coach Hans Smit was dismayed overall. He has reservations on the field and officiating but stressed most on what they could work on. “Good thing we got an early goal. We just have to improve [on] the same thing I told you before–finishing. Everything’s okay, just [not] the finishing,” he stated.

His counterpart, UE’s Ryan Marinay, was pleased with the way his team challenged the team that defeated them 5-1 the last time they met. “Mas okay ‘yung pinakita ng mga players ko ngayon kaysa noong first round. Parang iba na talaga pinakita. Nag-step up na sa second round,” he satisfactorily uttered.

The result enables La Salle to reclaim second place after picking up 23 points in 11 games, a point behind UP and a point in front of Ateneo, who tasted second place two hours earlier following a win against Adamson. Meanwhile, UE remains in seventh place, still with four points.

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