The wait is over. The University of Santo Tomas men’s football team finally have their three points of the season, after escaping a second half surge from the still winless Adamson University, 2-1, Sunday afternoon at the FEU-FERN football field.
It was all UST in the first half, with Adamson’s offense producing only two shot attempts, with only one on goal. The Tigers’ first serious attempt came at the 6th minute, after UST’s Steven Anotado was able to get into position to receive a low cross from teammate Menares and go for the easy shot from point blank range, but the ball ended up bouncing off the bar. Anotado was able to rebound the ball and go for another point blank strike, but the ball this time ended up sailing high above the top bar. Another chance for UST to draw first blood came at the 12th minute, when Jean Mari Clariño found himself with the golden opportunity to score an easy open goal after breaking through the Adamson back line and luring Adamson goalie Alonzo out of position, but a defender was able to rush back in front the goal to swipe the ball from under Clariño’s feet.
The 15th minute saw the Tigers finally draw first blood. After blocking a shot from UST’s Clariño, Adamson goalie Alonzo found himself unable to hold on to the ball, sent sprawling on the ground after the powerful strike. Seeing the ball still in play and just a few inches away from Alonzo’s fingers, Anotado was able to squeeze through the back and rebound the ball to shoot one from just in front of the goal to give UST the 1-0 lead.
The Tigers only continued attacking for the remainder of the first half, but all attempts either went wide or were blocked by the Adamson keeper. The first of Adamson’s two first half attempts meanwhile came at the 25th minute, when Goldwyn Espina was able to corral the volley from teammate Marc de Guzman after managing to escape the UST back line, but UST keeper John Rey Catalino was able to scoop up the ball after 14 was only able to get a weak tap on the ball.
UST struck gold anew at the 40th minute, after Clariño was able to break through the Adamson back line after charging down from the flank to go one-on-one with the keeper and score the easy strike. At the end of the first half, UST led 2-0.
Coming from a spirited halftime huddle, Adamson’s attackers finally made their presence known, producing a flurry of near-successful attempts around the 50-minute mark of the second half. Adamson’s Espina and de Guzman both came close to giving Adamson their much-awaited first goal approaching the 50th minute, getting close range strikes from inside the penalty area, but the balls were blocked by Catalino on both occasions.
Adamson’s reignited offense finally bore fruit at the 55th minute, after Espina managed to escape the UST defenders to corral the inside pass. He immediately pulled up to mail the low cross to teammate Bless Brian Jumo waiting on the other post, who easily spotted the opening and bagged Adamson’s first goal of the game to push the score to 2-1.
The Falcons’ next big chance to equalize came five minutes later at the 60th mark, after a hand ball gave Adamson a free kick from the left flank. However, the ball was easily swept away by UST defenders before anyone from the Adamson side could receive the kick.
With their lead threatened, UST too went all out on the attack, with several attempts from usual suspects Anotado and Clariño all going wide or blocked by the Adamson keeper. Clariño in particular had a series of good strikes from the left flank at around the 70th minute, but found his shots and crosses blocked by Jumo.
The last 80 minutes saw Adamson’s attempts to counterattack repeatedly disrupted by the UST defense. UST walked away in celebration after two minutes of injury time that saw every attempt from Adamson stopped.
With their first three points in tow, UST is now solo 6th in the standings. The still winless Adamson stay in the bottom spot at 8th.