Most observers have opined that the University of the East Red Warrios could become one of the dark horses in the UAAP Season 80 Men’s Football Tournament after a strong finish last year.
Whether or not that opinion will be proven true remains to be seen, but the signs were good as Fitch Arboleda’s men enjoyed a late 1-0 win over the National University Bulldogs, Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
“Thankful ako sa mga bata,” commented Arboleda after the game. “Talagang naglaro (sila) nang maayos. No pressure lang talaga sa mga bata.”
After a goalless first half, the Red Warriors finally clinched the lead in the 80th minute. Midfielder Jasper Absalon turned in Regil Galaura’s cross from the right flank and shot past NU goalie Chris Perocho to finally break the deadlock.
The game came to life soon after, as NU turned up the screws in search of a comeback. UE’s defense proved to be too tight, though, as the Red Warriors only allowed wayward long shots from NU’s Lawrence Colina.
Nevertheless, Absalon’s goal turned out to be the only marker in the contest. It may not have been a classic, but results matter and UE barge into the win column with a 1-0 win at NU’s expense.
“Booster lang sa amin. Last season kasi we scored two goals vs NU tapos biglaan draw. Parang yung mentality ng bata bumaba eh. So hopefully booster lang siya para maglaro kami nang maayos against UP next game,” added Arboleda.
UE shall next play the University of the Philippines on February 8, 2:00 PM, while NU will go up against defending champions Ateneo de Manila University on February 11, 9:00 AM. Both games will be held at Rizal Memorial.