Last season, the De La Salle University Lady Archers were head and shoulders above the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles.
Saturday afternoon, however, was a totally different story as La Salle managed to survive 1-0 against Ateneo to get its third win of the UAAP Season 80 Women’s Football Tournament at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
“Lousy, that’s all I have to say. Lousy. Period. Just put (in your story) lousy,” commented La Salle coach Hans-Peter Smit after the match.
Nina Arrieta’s 37th minute goal was the difference between the two schools. Ateneo, though, deserved a point after all for all the attacking intent it displayed in the contest.
Martie Bautista had two good opportunities to give the Lady Eagles a dream start to the game but she fluffed both chances. Tessa Bernardo then had a glance at goal, only for her header to go straight to Lacson.
La Salle took its time to get a hold of the contest as Ateneo kept pounding on the Taft school. The Lady Archers missed a big chance to score when Irish Navaja failed to tap Nicole Andaya’s cross into the goal.
It was near the end of the first period when one of the teams managed to find a way to break the deadlock. Ateneo defender Ann Cabrera clumsily fouled La Salle forward Chelo Hodges in the Katipunan school’s penalty box and Arrieta converted the spot-kick eight minutes from halftime.
“(The players failed to) play their game. They’re apprehensive instead of anticipating. We’re just lucky to have that penalty,” added Smit.
For all their attacking prowess, a goal constantly eluded the Lady Eagles in the second period. Lacson produced a stunning save to deny Bernardo on a one-on-one situation and the former’s quick thinking allowed her to constantly deny the dangerous Bautista every step of the way.
Ateneo’s failure to put the ball at the back of the net proved to be its undoing. La Salle almost seized a sucker punch in stoppage time when rookie midfielder Anna Delos Reyes forced a good save from Ateneo goalie Marie Caparros.
Ultimately, it was La Salle that prevailed on derby day as Smit’s wards won 1-0 against an Ateneo side that could consider itself unlucky to not have scored a goal. “It’s not a bed of roses just like last year. The team needs to do a lot of work,” concluded Smit.