FOOTBALL: La Salle falls to FEU late in extra time
Published on March 9th, 2015 | by Nadz Gathercole
La Salle’s championship run ended with a silver place finish as reigning champions FEU emerged winners, 2-3, yesterday night at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
DLSU played with three seniors: team captain Gio Diamante, co-captain Matthew Nierras, and the season’s best midfielder Nathan Alquiros.
Paolo Bugas scored a goal at the fourth minute of extra time with a composed attempt straight to DLSU’s goal giving the Tamaraws their lone lead in the game that lasted until the final whistle sounded. In regulation, DLSU led twice but FEU recovered with a goal of their own each time DLSU scored.
The Tamaraws did not disappoint the crowd as they sought to expose La Salle in the first few minutes of the game. It forced DLSU to merely defend their net and concurrently preventing them to create any strong and dangerous attacks. The first attempt of FEU on the game was made by Noli Chavez but failed to hit the mark, missing a few inches of the DLSU goal, sliding through the pole. The life of the DLSU goal was kept safe at the hands of DLSU keeper Raphael De Guzman, who continuously caught several attempts from the opposing side.
Both teams showed their earnest desire to win over the title as each side gave their all causing the ball to endlessly zigzag over the DLSU to the FEU side of the field by the overdefensive players. At last, some action set into La Salle’s game as the older Diamante swerved through the Tamaraws and took an attempt in FEU’s goal but was caught by the Tamaraws’ goal Keeper, Michael Menzi. Consequently, Alquiros struck the woodwork.
The remainder of the first half was filled with attempts of both teams on the goal of the opponent but was either caught by the keeper or cleared. The first half rested with neither of the teams scoring, leaving the score at 0-0.
Just after four minutes into the second half, DLSU designed a much awaited play with Sabin Bustamante leading the ball to Chuck Uy, one of the highest scorers for DLSU, who kicked the ball through the crowd of defenders but was caught by Menzi. Both teams attempted on goal but the shots were too strong, causing the ball to go over the bar.
Finally, after roughly six more minutes, the graduating Diamante slid through the net of FEU, causing the ball to bounce on to an FEU player’s arm and into the goal giving DLSU a lead, 1-0. 12 minutes after, the Tamaraws found revenge by attempting on the DLSU goal which was blocked by De Guzman but bounced back into Eric Giganto’s control and shot it straight into the net, drawing the score at 1-1.
After 10 minutes more have passed into the latter half, Bustamante lobbed the ball over the advancing Menzie and into FEU’s goal to restore DLSU’s advantage. The Tamaraws could not have been more pleased with themselves as they scored off another quick counter attack with Melliza having enough time and space to dart the ball in DLSU’s goal.
With not more than two minutes left in the match, another mischievous strategy was played well by FEU, losing once again the keeper to the other players, going for another attempt on goal; just as the ball was about to go in, Nierras sprung out of nowhere to defend DLSU’s net.
Due to the draw after regulation, there was 30 minutes of added time allotted for the match. At this point, FEU bolted with energy, making several attempts on the DLSU net but went over the bar, wide, and was caught by the keeper. After several attempts and strategizing, Bugas approached the DLSU net from the left wing and took a shot that went straight into the other side giving FEU their lead of 3-2.
The latter set of the additional time was mostly drained by the several FEU players that were set out of the field in stretchers but was able to regain their strength after a few moments of rest. Yellow and red cards were also distributed to the Tamaraws due to the continuance of game delay. DLSU blazed through the field, sending power kicks and forming plays to gain a goal but was unsuccessful as time ran out leaving the crowd of Green and Gold with the warmth of victory.
With triumphant smiles, FEU Assistant Coach Dexter Chio said that there was only one result that they wanted at the end of the day. “yung isang goal lang talaga namin ngayon ay manalo at nagawa naman namin iyon… maraming red card pero panalo pa rin” (the only goal we had for this game was to win and we were able to attain it… even if it meant receiving numerous red cards).
Despite the loss of the men in Green and White, coach Hans Smit, coach of the Green Booters, sends praises for FEU. “We still lack experience while FEU has quite a number of players that has experience and they play the topnotch level… and they’re more skillful than my players.” Afterwards, he also gave it to his players who worked hard to get to where they wanted to be: getting a chance to play a virtual home final in front of many people. “Discipline wise, I think the boys [of DLSU] did well and I think we’ll do better next year”. While in a huddle after the games, Smit reminded his players to keep their heads up as they received their awards.
Aside from achieving a first runnerup finish, De Guzman was awarded best goalkeeper and Alquiros earned the best midfielder award for the season.
NOTE: The 2nd place finish of the Green Booters gave La Salle 12 important points to help their cause for a third straight general championship while UST only scored 4 points as their football team only finished in 6th place. La Salle is currently trailing UST by 27 points in the general championship race with only three events remaining. DLSU however, is still in contention in all three of those events while UST only has one team still in contention. DLSU also has at least 24 points secured from women’s volleyball and baseball with both teams in the finals of their respective sports.