After five games, the University of the East Red Warriors have finally barged into the UAAP Season 79 Men’s Football Tournament win column with a 2-1 win against the Adamson University Soaring Falcons.
Mark Lerion (7′) and substitute Alberto Echin Jr (89′) scored the goals that gave the Red Warriors their first win, today at the Moro Lorenzo Field in the Ateneo de Manila University campus. On the other hand, Ejike Ugwoke (41′) provided the goal for the Soaring Falcons.
“Very big achievement ito sa amin kasi hinahabol namin yung points para at least umangat ang team. So far yung standing kasi medyo talagang halos magkapantay lang kami sa baba [with Adamson] kaya kailangan talaga namin yung win na ito,” commented UE mentor Florence Arboleda.
The Red Warriors opened the scoring in the 7th minute. UE were awarded a free kick outside the Adamson box and Lerion stepped up. Lerion fired one towards the goal and the Soaring Falcons’ wall was easily breached, giving their goalie Carl Viray little chance to prevent the goal.
Undeterred by the early deficit, Adamson sought an immediate equalizer. The Soaring Falcons pushed the ball towards the flanks and won free kicks as a result. Despite the pressure, the Red Warriors held firm to keep the scoreline as it was.
Something special was needed to break that UE defense, and it was Adamson’s rookie Ugwoke who produced it. Ugwoke received the ball outside the Red Warriors’ box and he unleashed a powerful long shot that went past UE goalie Frank Rieza in the 41st minute.
Come the second half, everything was set for an Adamson win. Rieza performed two consecutive saves to deny the Soaring Falcons early in the period. The circumstances worsened for UE, as a scuffle broke out between the two teams and Red Warrior Stephane Dagaraga was sent off for his role in the shenanigans.
Tempers rose in the UE bench and assistant coach Fitch Arboleda was ejected for going past the Red Warriors’ technical area. Down to 10 players and missing a coach, the Red Warriors’ offense mainly revolved around Mar Diano, whose attempts narrowly missed the target.
As much as Adamson smelled blood, the Soaring Falcons failed to capitalize on the situation. Rieza was relatively unharmed and UE looked to push on the counter. In the 89th minute, Echin capitalized on Adamson’s erroneous defending when he headed the ball home from a Red Warriors corner.
UE eventually held on to a precious 2-1 win against Adamson in what was [head coach]’s first win in the UAAP. “Yung maganda kasi diyan ay pag down to 10 men na yung team, mas lalo pang naglalaro nang maayos ang mga players. Kumbaga double effort sila,” shared the rookie head coach.
UE (1-1-4) shall face the Far Eastern University at 4:00 PM, while up next for Adamson (1-0-5) are University of the Philippines at 2:00 PM. Both games will be held on March 5 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
Adamson XI: De Guzman, Feliciano, Jumo I, Kitane, Magpusao, Martin, Pilarca, Ramos L, Ramos P, Ugwoke, Viray.
UE XI: Absalon, Dagaraga, Diano, Galaura, Lerion, Mallen, Opeña, Rieza, Saldivar, Sola, Vergara.