Just like in their first round encounter, league leaders University of Santo Tomas Lady Booters failed to take maximum points against the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws. The match between the two teams ended in a 1-1 draw, leaving both teams a little unsatisfied with the outcome.
A win for UST would have sealed their return to the finals. They were 10 minutes away from doing so when Portia Acibar’s stunning free kick from the right wing cancelled UST’s opening goal six minutes after the restart.
Yet instead of getting frustrated, UST’s Head Coach Prescila looked at things in a more positive manner.
“Maganda pa rin kasi hindi kami natalo. Maganda naman ‘yung performance ng mga bata,” she noted.
The Lady Booters controlled the passage of play throughout the 90 minutes yet it didn’t look like it at the end of the day. Season 79’s losing finalists looked more threatening in the first half but they lacked composure to punish the porous FEU defense.
In the 33rd minute, Mary Joy Indac blasted his shot wide after she was set up nicely by Hazel Lustan just inside the box. Two minutes later, Shelah Cadag saw FEU keeper Kimberly Pariña off her line. Unfortunately, she didn’t produce a shot that enough power to beat the recovering custodian.
FEU, on their part, did not have a totally quiet time on the attacking end. Jovelle Sudaria struck a free kick from around 40 yards that forced UST goalkeeper Nicole Reyes into action. Other than that moment, though, Reyes was undisturbed to her liking.
After the game, FEU Coach Let Dimzon conceded that for her side had to be disciplined for them to pick up a positive result against UST. “Abang lang kami. Tight marking sa mga key players nila,” the Tamaraws mentor revealed.
It clearly did not work as UST continued to find ways to breach the FEU back line. Gaining confidence in the second half, UST made sure their opponents would cave in to pressure.
Five minutes after halftime, UST won a penalty. Two critical mistakes by Pariña allowed the Lady Booters to take the lead. First, the keeper lost control of the ball to allow Indac from winning possession inside the edge of the box. Left a step behind, the goalkeeper then held the UST midfielder back prompting the official to award the penalty. Designated taker Nina Yanto converted to give UST a well-deserved advantage.
With FEU there for the taking, UST failed to cushion their slender lead. Rubio expressed disappointment about this after the match, sharing that her team still lacks the killer instinct in front of goal.
This opened the door for the Lady Tamaraws to scrape a point. A free kick from a tight spot near the corner flag presented the opportunity to Acibar to whip the ball past Reyes. The defender did not disappoint as her effort eventually earned her team a point.
While one is always better than zero, Dimzon wasn’t really pleased with the result. “We needed to win this game dahil hinahabol namin ‘yung points,” the former FEU Lady Tamaraw told after the match.
A win could have allowed FEU to gain ground over playoff rivals UST and La Salle. Instead, they remained four points adrift UST and three points behind La Salle. With only two games to go, not winning the next one may just take them out of the race.
The result also meant that UST still needs three more points to secure a spot in the final. A rematch of last season’s final against La Salle awaits next week at 3pm. Six hours before, the Lady Tamaraws will hope to keep their hopes of reaching the final alive against the winless UP Lady Maroons. Both games will be played at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
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