Brace for a brace
Top seeded San Beda College Red Booters and second-seeded College of Saint Benilde Blazers both needed two goals from a single scorer to dispatch respective opponents, Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates and Arellano University Chiefs, Tuesday afternoon at the start of the NCAA Season 92 Final Four Round Robin at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Former U-23 men’s football team member Connor Tacagni scored in both periods to steer the undefeated Red Booters past the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates, 2-1, in the opening match.
It was the Pirates who took the initiative at the start of the match with their aggressive offense as San Beda settled for long balls, which the opposing defense dealt with ease.
After a scuffle at the box, Lyceum was able to register a deserved goal at the 15th minute after a Riel Mark Subebe strike off a corner.
San Beda then gained its bearings at the tail end of the opening half with several dangerous attempts off forwards Stephen Abriol and Tacagni. Eventually, it was the latter who levelled the score with a one-touch shot past Mellex Andes.
Needing to start the final round on the right foot, Red Booters head coach Nieboy Pedimonte made key adjustments for the Mendiola-based squad during the break.
“Sinabi ko sa kanila yung concentration natin nung first 15 minutes mababa. Actually yung goal sa amin, pina-practice namin, nakukuha naman namin. Yung mindset talaga ng bata dun papasok yung problema,” he shared.
The halftime pep talk ignited the fire of the former champions but Lyceum’s defense was able to withstand it for the most part. Nonetheless, as the game was about to close, Tacagni took advantage of an Andes error to complete the comeback with a lobbed attempt at the 82nd minute.
In the opening contest, the Blazers and the Chiefs figured in a match-up of wills.
The Taft-based squad, however, had the more enterprising chances. However, Blazers head coach Marlon Maro lamented his team’s lack of finish.
“Nung first half kasi nawawala yung kumpiyansa to hold the ball, which is CSB’s style,” he said. “So, I told them in the dressing room, ‘Keep passing, move the ball around, players move to specific positions.’”
The Blazers were able to get better chances culminating to the penalty goal of Renz Tulayba at the 51st minute.
The striker then doubled the lead and sealed the white-shirts’ fate after taking advantage of another switch in offense to shoot from just inside the box five minutes after.
NCAA SEASON 92 SENIORS FOOTBALL FINAL FOUR
|San Beda Red Booters||1||3|
|Saint Benilde Blazers||1||3|
The Red Booters (1-0, 3pts) and the Chiefs (0-1) will face each other in a rematch of last year’s Final on Thursday, January 12 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. It will then be followed by the Blazers (1-0, 3pts) – Pirates (0-1) tilt.