Blue Eagles end elimination round with a convincing 3-1 victory over FEU
THE ATENEO Men’s Football Team cruised past the Far Easter University (FEU) Tamaraws, 3-1, on Thursday, April 20 at the Moro Lorenzo Field in Ateneo De Manila University.
The Blue Eagles finished the elimination round with an 11-2-1 record and a +26 goal difference in Season 79 of the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Football tournament.
Fresh off a 2-0 victory over the De La Salle Green Archers in their penultimate match of the elimination round, the boys in blue continued their winning ways and gained momentum heading into the semi-final matchup versus the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers.
The late-afternoon match had no bearing in the playoff seeding, as the Katipunan-based squad had already clinched the top spot in their previous match while the third-seeded Tamaraws were already locked to a Final Four battle against the University of the Philippines.
Despite having already locked the first seed, Ateneo showed no signs of complacency. Goals from Koko Gaudiel, Jarvey Gayoso, and Carlo Liay, coupled with a man-of-the-match worthy performance by keeper AJ Arcilla lifted the team. The sole goal of FEU came from Dominique Canonigo.
With the victory over FEU, the Blue Eagles redeemed themselves after their listless performance against the same team in the first round.
“Yung number one talaga na nagbago [from Ateneo’s 0-0 draw against FEU in the first round] ay yung approach ng players regarding the crowd ng Ateneo (The number one thing that changed was the approach of the players regarding the crowd of Ateneo),” said Coach JayPee Merida on how the team accustomed themselves playing on their home turf. “During the first round, sobrang excited nila to play against FEU at daming nanood. This game pinakita nila sa Ateneo community yung winning, at hindi yung tricks (During the first round, they were really excited to play against FEU and a lot watched. This game, they showed the Ateneo community the winning and not not tricks).”
With usual starters Julian Roxas, Enzo Ceniza, Jordan Jarvis, and Ged Poe sitting out on the bench, the match started slowly for the team early on. The Tamaraws were a bit more effective in the final third, but Arcilla kept the game scoreless with numerous saves.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 32nd minute, after Rupert Baña fired a perfect cross from the left to Gayoso, who clinically headed the ball into the goal. The Tamaraws quickly responded five minutes later, after Canonigo pounced on the ball after Jayrah Rocha tried to head the ball out of the box. He then fired a first-time strike with his left foot that was no match for Arcilla.
The stalemate did not last for long, as the Blue Eagles once again acquired the lead in the 43rd minute, through Gaudiel’s brilliant control and finish inside the box. Team Captain Carlo Liay scored the third of the day for Ateneo in the 58th minute, through a penalty. After Michael Castillo was taken down by FEU defender Audie Menzi in the box during a counter-attack, Liay took the spot kick and converted it.
Despite the Tamaraws having more shots and shots on target than Ateneo, Arcilla’s superb performance between the sticks nullified this advantage. The rookie keeper prevented FEU from scoring with numerous stops and acrobatic saves.
“[AJ Arcilla] is a rookie, pero kung titignan natin yung laro niya [is excellent despite it being his first year in the UAAP],” said Merida.
Ateneo’s next game will be their Final Four matchup against the UST Growling Tigers on Thursday, May 4, 3PM at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
Ateneo: Arcilla (GK), Baña, Castillo, Gaudiel, Gayoso, Grierson, Haosen, Liay (c), Lipardo, Nacional, Rocha
FEU: Joyel (GK), Alcoresa, Andes, Arranguez, Canonigo, Ferrer, Jurao, Menzi M. Menzi A, Monterona, Saldivar
Ateneo: 45’ Poe on for Grierson, 65’ Tanchuan on for Lipardo, 70’ Dy on for Haosen, 81’ Alilam on for Gaudiel
Yellow Cards: Saldivar, Menzi A.