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Tiebreaker Times


Midfield key as La Salle barges into win column against tough UE

The De La Salle University Green Archers secured a routine 2-0 victory against the University of the East Red Warriors in what was the Green Archers’ first win in the UAAP Season 79 Men’s Football Tournament.

Yoshiharu Koizumi (16′) and a Rino Saldivar (79′) own goal proved to be enough for the Green Archers to cast away the much-improved Red Warriors side. Nonetheless, La Salle mentor Hans-Peter Smit was unsatisfied with the win.

“Not good,” commented Smit. “The team’s not yet in the groove yet. We lacked our finishing. First goal is a freekick, second goal is an own goal. I’m not discrediting my boys from scoring but the thing is we need more push from the frontline. We still need a lot of work.”

The Green Archers dominated the proceedings in the first half. La Salle relentlessly circulated the ball in midfield, and UE were  left to stay deep and and try to force a counterattack in reaction.

Third-year midfielder Koizumu was in the thick of things, as he was the one who mainly conducted the Green Archers’ offense. One pass led to another, and rookie Marcus Garcia found Matthew Custodio who beat his defender, but only shot wide.

Koizumi ventured forward time and time again, and he unleashed two shots which failed to test Red Warriors goalie Frank Rieza. The Filipino-Japanese playmaker finally got what he deserved in  the 16th minute when he directed his freekick past Rieza to let the Green Archers open the scoring.

Before the break, Koizumi provided another good pass in the UE box as he spotted Garcia, only for the latter to hit the side-netting. UE’s Mar Diano then forced a good save from La Salle goalie Kerbi Almonte, who ensured that the Green Archers carried with them a 1-0 lead at the break.

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It became an even contest in the second half. UE threatened to score one past La Salle, and only good saved by Almonte against the likes of Bon Opeña and Diano prevented the Red Warriors from doing so.

UE’s best chance of scoring fell to Diano when he picked up a pass at La Salle’s far post and unleashed a shot, only for a brave Almonte to rush out and perform a fine save to keep the scoreline at 1-0.

With the game still in the balance, the Green Archers pushed for the goal to kill off the contest. Similar to his counterpart, Rieza kept the game within reach for the Red Warrios with stunning saves against Garcia and substitute Rigo Joseph.

Lady Luck smiled on the Green Archers when Saldivar unfortunately scored an own goal in the 79th minute to double La Salle’s advantage. The contest was virtually over by then, as La Salle prevailed 2-0 versus UE.

“We controlled more of the midfield. I think that was the difference. We killed their wing-backs with our runs upfront, but like I said it’s up to there then the finishing was still lacking,” reiterated Smit.

Up next for La Salle (1-1-0) are their archrivals, the Ateneo de Manila University, at 4:00 PM, while UE (0-1-2) shall face the University of Santo Tomas at 2:00 PM. Both games will be held at Ateneo’s Moro Lorenzo Field on February 16, 2017.

La Salle XI: Almonte, Brago, Custodio, Diamante, Garcia, Gonzales, Koizumi, Lawless, Montelibano A, Montelibano J, Ybanez

UE XI: Absalon, Bagsic, Dagaraga, Diano, Galaura, Lerion, Malayo, Opeña, Polinag, Rieza, Vergara

Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

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