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Ateneo, La Salle face contrasting fortunes before rivalry clash


The Blue and Green clash once again

One of the most highly-anticipated fixtures in the UAAP Men’s Football Tournament is the clash between arch-rivals Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles and De La Salle University Green Archers.

Both schools have a storied rivalry in the UAAP, and it’s no different in Men’s Football, as games between the two tend to be one of the best-attended in both the regular and post-season rounds.

For the first round clash in Season 79, though, it is the Blue Eagles who are the favorites against the Green Archers.

Ateneo have recorded three wins in as many games this season and have scored 12 goals while just conceding two in the process.

In contrast, La Salle have played twice, earned a goalless draw in their first game, and secured a two-goal win in the next — albeit one of the goals was an own goal.

It might still be early days in the season, but an Ateneo win against La Salle could be the spark which the Blue Eagles need to have another run at the championship.

“Magbibigay talaga yan ng lahat, for the La Salle players [and] for the Ateneans, it’s for the pride talaga.

“It’s hard to say na manalo against La Salle. Of course we need to work hard for that, gusto talaga namin. Yun pa rin talaga objective namin,” shared Ateneo mentor JP Merida.

The one player who has led Ateneo this season is Jarvey Gayoso. The sophomore forward has scored four goals in just three games this season and is surely bound to get more as the games go by. But for Gayoso, there’s much more to the game than the battle seen on the pitch.UAAP-79-Mens-Football-ADMU-def-NU-Gayoso-2 Ateneo, La Salle face contrasting fortunes before rivalry clash ADMU DLSU Football News UAAP  - philippine sports news

“Of course it’s historic every time you hear an Ateneo-La Salle game. The best preparation we can do is mentally rather than physically.

“I know I trust in my teammates and myself. I trust in the system of coach. I guess preparation mentally is what we need to do in order to play well and do our best especially in our home court,” opined Gayoso.

#ReadMore  La Salle holds off FEU in UAAP opening day

While La Salle currently have goal scoring woes, their defense has done pretty well so far. The aforementioned draw was earned against defending champions University of the Philippines, who won their next two games with scorelines of 4-0.

Two clean sheets in a row show that La Salle is doing quite well on the defensive end. One of the stalwarts of the Green Archers’ defense has been fourth-year defender Noel Brago, who captained the side in the draw versus the Fighting Maroons.UAAP79MensFootball-UP-draws-DLSU-Brago Ateneo, La Salle face contrasting fortunes before rivalry clash ADMU DLSU Football News UAAP  - philippine sports news

For Brago, the bigger picture was what mattered amidst the big game.

“If we win, it will be another step towards reaching our goal. If we lose, it will serve as a lesson for my team and I to work harder and improve on what went wrong during the game.

“But overall, we will stay humble and positive no matter the outcome of the game,”  Brago furthered.

Perhaps the one person from both sides who understands what this fixture truly means is La Salle head coach Hans-Peter Smit. The multi-titled coach admitted his troops still have lots to improve on offensively before the game, but he didn’t discount a potential Green Archers win.

“They’re on a roll. Their rookies are doing pretty well. But when it’s a La Salle-Ateneo game, things change. Let’s see what happens,” commented the naturalized Filipino mentor.

The stakes are always high when both schools face each other.

Round one of Ateneo vs La Salle will be held on February 16, 4:00 PM, at Ateneo’s Moro Lorenzo Field.

Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces


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