Three games into the second round and as many wins. The Far Eastern University Tamaraws are looking more like the unstoppable force of nature they truly are, and an air of invincibility surrounds them as of the moment. Their latest UAAP Season 78 Men’s Football Tournament second round win came against the University of the East Red Warriors, today at the McKinley Hill Stadium in Taguig.
It was truly a masterclass at both ends of the pitch as the Tamaraws were secure at the back and potent up front. Val Jurao (5′, 40′) and Rico Andes (25′) were the goalscorers today for the Tamaraws. The result left FEU on top of the league with 23 points. On the other hand, UE are still bottom of the league. On current form, it seems like only a miracle would prevent FEU from defending their crown.
Jurao signaled FEU’s intent to put on a show moments after the game kicked off, when he shot wide from a good position at the UE box. He then made amends minutes later when he displayed some fine technique to control the ball, then unleash a shot that landed in the top left corner at the 5th minute. UE goalkeeper Clores then prevented Paolo Bugas from adding another goal moments after.
Clores was instrumental in keeping the scoreline as it was for UE. Audie Menzi and Dominique Canonigo had good attempts on goal, only for Clores to keep them at arm’s length. Canonigo himself had a free kick, but his attempt only hit the Red Warriors wall. At the left flank, though, Andes was his lively self. He had a shot deflected outwards, yet he wasn’t to be thwarted and raced through his flank to curl a shot directed at the far post to double FEU’s lead at the 25th minute.
At this point of the match, it seemed inevitable that FEU would score more goals to add to their virtually insurmountable goal difference. In all fairness, UE tried to compete with FEU, but the latter were just too strong. Every UE attack was easily repelled by the Tamaraws’ stingy defense. Red Warriors rookie Jasper Abasalon was UE’s main threat and he forced a routine save from FEU goalie RJ Joyel. Striker Mar Diano had his work cut out for him as every pass directed at him was easily cleared by FEU.
The Tamaraws were still not yet done, though, and they added a deserved third goal before the break. Jurao got his second of the match in the 40th minute with a fine finish inside the UE box. At the break, it was FEU 3-0 UE. Even then, it seemed improbable that FEU wouldn’t score more goals before the end of the match.
True enough, FEU started the second half aggressively. The Tamaraws had a free kick saved by Clores, and Giganto held the ball up well for him to lay it off to Andes, whose attempt was easily saved. Giganto was then fouled at the edge of the UE box, with Bugas stepping up to shoot from the free kick. Unfortunately for Bugas, his attempt hit the UE wall.
As for UE, the Red Warriors became more resilient after the break. Kent Galaura forced an error from FEU center-back Chy Villaseñor, but his resulting shot was cleared. Bon Opeña then had a free kick outside the box, only for him to direct his shot over. Ariel Mallen also had a chance from a free kick, yet Joyel was untested. The Red Warriors attacked better, but the Tamaraws’ defense kept them at arm’s length.
Eventually, the longer the second half got, the more competitive UE became. In contrast, it seemed FEU lowered their level. UE were sharper, while it looked like FEU were content to let the game flow. FEU may have attacked continuously, but it became apparent that their finishing was lacking potency. Michael Menzi sent in a cross from the right flank, but the resulting header was saved. In the end, FEU won, 3-0, against UE.
For Bugas, he admitted that the weather played a part in the lackluster showing of FEU in the second half. Bugas said, “Sumama ang kundisyon namin dahil sa panahon so sa next game siguro kailangan yung consistency namin sa game hanggang matapos yung laro.”
FEU will face National University on Thursday (April 7, 2016; 2:00PM) at the Moro Lorenzo Field in the Ateneo de Manila University campus. On the other hand, UE will compete against De La Salle University two days later on Saturday (April 9, 2016; 8:00PM) at the McKinley Hill Stadium.