After two straight draws, the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles are now back in the win column as they secured a narrow 1-0 win against the National University Bulldogs.
Jarvey Gayoso (11′) scored the game’s solitary goal tonight at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
“Happy ako kase nakuha naman three points. Nakakuha kami ng win pero frustrating lang yung sa mga chances namin especially sa mga crosses namin. I think three days namin na-train yun pero hindi namin na-convert,” shared Ateneo coach JP Merida.
The Blue Eagles’ attacking intent was clear three minutes into the contest when defender Jeremiah Rocha headed wide. Come the 11th minute of the game, Gayoso unleashed a free kick that went past NU goalie Chris Perocho. The goal provided the impetus for Ateneo to dominate the period, and chances came by the Blue Eagles, who shot frustratingly wide time and time again.
In contrast, NU were clearly rattled by Gayoso’s goal. The Bulldogs rarely ventured forward, as they were kept mostly in their half of the pitch by the dominant Blue Eagles. Such were NU’s attacking woes that a Bulldogs goal was correctly ruled out due to handball in the Ateneo box.
Both teams sought the game-changing goal when they returned to the pitch for the second half. Gayoso failed to replicate his goal as he struck his free kicks wayward. As in their past games, the Bulldogs improved in the second half and showed more attacking intent.
Lawrence Colina tried his luck with a long shot that failed to hit the target. The Bulldogs drew fouls in the Blue Eagles’ half and Jerico Dagsa stepped up to take the dead ball. Dagsa shot narrowly over in his first attempt and forced a routine catch from Ateneo goalie Jae Arcilla.
Ateneo were still in a precarious position and needed one more goal to kill off the contest. Three minutes from time, Gayoso played substitute striker Ed Baña through, only for the latter to hit the side-netting.
Nevertheless, the Blue Eagles held on to a narrow 1-0 win over the Bulldogs to strengthen their grip of first place in the standings.
Up next for Ateneo (23 points) are the University of Santo Tomas on March 25, 7:00 PM, at Rizal Memorial. On the other hand, NU (10 points) shall face the Adamson University on March 23, 2:00 PM at Ateneo’s Moro Lorenzo Field.
“Hindi pwede i-underestimate ang UST. Ang ganda ng comeback nila in the second half against UE. We need to prepare against UST. Expert ang mga player nila sa second ball,” concluded Merida.
NU XI: Arbela, Colina, Dagsa, Fabro, Lawagan, Perocho, Samoaga, Socrates, Sullano, Valenzuela, Viray
ADMU XI: Arcilla, Ceniza, Dy, Gayoso, Grierson, Haosen, Herrera, Jarvis, Liay, Mathay, Rocha