As expected, trends continued when the league’s hottest team faces the team at the bottom of the form table. The tournament’s in-form team, the FEU Tamaraws, continued their winning ways following a 3-0 victory over the Adamson Soaring Falcons Thursday evening at the Moro Lorenzo Football Field in Ateneo. Nicolas Ferrer netted twice in the first half while Mark Joseph Arranguez contributed a late goal to make it a more handsome result.
As a result, FEU moved up to the top of the table for the first time this season, sporting a 6-2-2 win-draw-loss record amounting to 20 points in the table.
The champions did not waste time in creating opportunities. After settling for a bit, FEU had their first good chance within five minutes. Dominique Canonigo got to fire a shot just wide to the left. It may have not opened the scoring but it surely fired up the rampaging Tamaraws. Their next chance to score came just a couple of minutes afterwards. Receiving a pass from Audie Menzi, Rico Andes delivered a neat low cross towards Canonigo. His shot was blocked eventually but Deloso pounced on the rebound, which went a few inches off the mark. The champions were sensing blood and it didn’t take very long for them go quench their thirst.
At the 15th minute of the game, Ferrer worked together with Eric Ben Giganto in unlocking the Adamson defense. The winger strung a pass to Giganto who then laid it off for Ferrer to finish easily past the helpless Adamson goalkeeper Carl Viray. Ahead by a goal already, the Tamaraws just upped the ante to earn themselves a cushion.
Throughout the match, FEU played in control and rarely had to track back. This rhythm allowed them to explore various ways of moving with the ball in the opposing half. Twenty-one minutes into the game, Andes sprinted along the wing to leave his markers behind. After doing so, the rookie had a good sight of goal, yet he could only send the ball harmlessly wide.
With most of the action happening inside the Adamson half, the Soaring Falcons adjusted by staying compact. The move was working until carelessness in keeping the ball led to a second goal for the Tamaraws. Ferrer, once again, struck for the Tamaraws by winning possession just outside the box. Afterwards, the veteran sublimely tucked the ball in to make it a 2-0 lead for FEU. The first half ended with the same scoreline, although Giganto, Andes, and A. Menzi could have done something to widen the gulf at the break. The trio created chances with Menzi coming the closest as his pair of shots were parried away by Viray.
After the interval, the Soaring Falcons nearly created something that could have altered the complexion of the game. Bryce Rabino was chasing a through ball but the Adamson forward was timely interrupted by RJ Joyel who got to clear away the danger. While at it, the FEU goalkeeper collided with Rabino and had to receive treatment before getting back up on his feet. Perhaps alarmed, the Tamaraws responded by keeping the ball almost entirely in the Adamson half. Keeping possession quite the same way they did in the first half, FEU produced fewer chances as they ventured more loosely on the attack.
Four minutes before the hour mark, Giganto nearly contributed FEU’s third goal but his poked effort to beat Viray went a little wide. Midway through the second half, Viray had to deal with two magnificent efforts from A. Menzi and Ferrer, who almost bagged his hat trick. Chances dried up for FEU until the substitutes took over and went forward with conviction.
It began in the last 10 minutes, when starting defender Joshua Mulero came quite close in glazing the Tamaraws’ advantage. With liberty to move forward, he didn’t hesitate to test his luck.Dancing past two defenders, the center back had the strike of a center forward. Unfortunately for Mulero, his effort smacked the top side of the crossbar.
Following him were John Renz Saldivar and Arranguez. The former met a nicely lobbed through pass but he couldn’t guide it on target. The same can be said for Arranguez who nodded the ball way out from a Paolo Bugas free kick. Eventually, the sparingly used duo combined to make it three for FEU. Saldivar smartly fed the ball to Arranguez who made no mistake from around 15 yards, capping off yet another FEU win–their sixth this season. If there’s any consolation for the Adamson, it’s that they recorded their best ever result against the Tamaraws since the program’s rebirth.
Speaking after the match, Assistant Coach Dexter Chio thought the team is starting to play with teamwork and better communication. Although feeling that the boys could have had more from this game, the former FEU Tamaraw still gave his team a thumbs up. “Maganda ‘to kasi [tumataas] ‘yung morale ng players. Confident [sila] at saka maganda na gusto nilang manalo lagi,” he stated.
This Sunday afternoon, the FEU Tamaraws are eyeing for their sixth straight triumph in the league when they play against the languishing UE Red Warriors. On the same day, the Adamson Soaring Falcons will entertain another resurgent team in the form of the UP Fighting Maroons. Both games will be played at the McKinley Hill Stadium.
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