The Far Eastern University Tamaraws secured their third straight UAAP Season 79 Men’s Football Tournament victory with a fortuitous 1-0 win over the National University Bulldogs, Saturday evening at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
FEU defender Audie Menzi (49′) benefited from NU goalie Hayeson Pepito’s error to grant the Tamaraws the win, which they achieved without the likes of Paolo Bugas and Val Jurao who were both ruled out due to injury.
Tamaraws mentor Vince Santos shared, “Can’t say we’re happy about our performance. Although NU came out playing a really low block, we weren’t expecting how low they’d play. We made adjustments [at] halftime and I think we added a little bit more penetration, but yeah the goal was unfortunate. We’ll take the win.”
The two teams struggled offensively throughout the game. The Tamaraws sorely missed the presence Jurao and Bugas, while Rico Andes had a wasteful afternoon.
On the other hand, NU maintained a defensive stance; the closest they came to scoring was with a Jerico Dagsa free kick parried away by Tamaraws goalie Ray Joyel.
It took the final stages of the first 45 minutes for the Tamaraws to get proper sniffs at the Bulldogs goal. Pepito deflected Menzi’s freekick away from danger and Dave Deloso headed over the NU goal moments later.
NU and FEU failed to break the deadlock, and the duo needed inspiration inside their respective locker rooms to draw first blood.
Just four minutes after the restart, it was the Tamaraws who got the break they needed. Menzi unleashed a harmless shot effort, only for the ball to find itself at the back of the net in the 49th minute when Pepito directed it into his own goal.
Everyone in the venue was shocked with the goal. Pepito and the rest of the Bulldogs were clearly distraught, while the Tamaraws themselves were simply too stunned to properly celebrate.
FEU eventually held on to a 1-0 win against NU, although both teams had much to ponder on after the game.
“We’re still in the middle of understanding the new system… Everyday as long as we continue to process how we want to play for the second round and especially the semi-finals and finals, I think we’re okay,” concluded Santos.
FEU (3-0-0) shall face the De La Salle University on February 23, 4:00 PM, at the Moro Lorenzo Field in Ateneo. On the other hand, NU (0-1-2) will be up against the Adamson University on February 26, 4:00 PM, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
NU XI: Alivio, Arbela, Colina, Dagsa, Jalandoni, Lawagan, Marcaida, Pepito, Sullano, Valenzuela, Viray
FEU XI: Andes, Canonigo, Cubon, Deloso, Ferrer, Menzi M, Menzi A, Monterona, Parac, Saldivar, Villaseñor
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