ATENEO de Manila University earned a goalless stalemate against a determined University of the Philippines in the UAAP Season 85 Men’s Football Tournament, Sunday at the UP Diliman Football Field.
The Blue Eagles were put in the backfoot in the final stretch of the match and they managed to survive wave after wave of attacks from the Fighting Maroons.
“We’re not good lang dun sa start ng second half,” said Ateneo coach JP Merida. “The good thing in the second half was we were very organized in team defending. We sent six subs. Yun lang naging problema namin. Walang impact ang subs. I think yun lang yung kailangan namin i-improve moving forward for our next game.”
Substitute UP striker Anton Guariña forced a magnificent safe from Ateneo goalkeeper Artuz Cezar. UP captain Karl Bugayong had a sniff at goal from outside the box but his attempt went wide off the target.
Florenz Tacardon then had a chance to win all three points for the Fighting Maroons near the end of the match, only for him to shoot over from the edge of the Blue Eagles’ box.
“I think in the second half, they showed that they wanted to take the game,” said UP coach Anto Gonzales. “We had some good chances (that) we weren’t able to finish. First half, I thought Ateneo started well. They had a very good tactical plan but hats off to the boys for making the necessary adjustments in the second half.”
The result allowed Ateneo to have a firm grip on 4th place with 11 points on the back of three wins, two draws, and one defeat.
On the other hand, UP is in 5th place this season with 8 points after experiencing its fifth draw this season. The Fighting Maroons are yet to win since their opening-day victory over the Adamson.
Ateneo XI: Cezar (GK), Closa, Dela Cruz, Cariño, Maquiling, Mercado, Lopez, Abaa, Fernandez, Roxas, Escobin.
UP XI: Celeste, Bongolan, Bugayong, Tobias, Togores, Calayag, Venus, Huelva, Tidor, Alleje, Lobitaña.