Lady Eagles settle for draw after last-minute slip-up
COMING OFF a convincing win in their previous match against Fuego España, the Ateneo Lady Eagles continued to display fine form as they took on Outkast Football Club at the Philippine Football Federation Women’s League (PFFWL) on Sunday, July 2 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Set pieces, however, proved to be the Lady Eagles’ downfall in the heated conclusion, with the squad tallying a 2-2 draw against the club. Despite another impressive performance from Cam Rodriguez, Ateneo was deprived of the win after conceding a free kick in the game’s dying moments.
An exchange of attacks characterized the first half of the match, with the Lady Eagles’ frontline leading an assault of counter-offensives and set-ups in an attempt to draw first blood. Ateneo’s midfield directed their movement to find Rodriguez and sophomore Martie Bautista, who met a solid wall of defense in Outkast FC’s Jennizel Cabalan and Alesa Dolino.
The Lady Eagles managed to earn the advantage and get on the scoreboard barely five minutes into the game, as Bea Velasco orchestrated the offense from the midfield, threading a pass through Outkast’s line of defense to find Rodriguez onside. The forward then converted a one-on-one with the opposition’s goalkeeper, slotting the ball into the net to give Ateneo the lead at 1-0.
Looking to level the playing field and restore the deadlock, Outkast FC launched wave after wave of attack, with Dolino leading the charge on the opposite third of the pitch. Ateneo goalkeeper Kitkat Montelibano, however, held the key to the Lady Eagles’ survival and frustrated the opposition’s offense with several risky stops inside the box to keep a clean sheet.
The Lady Eagles were blessed by a golden opportunity in the 31st minute, as Rodriguez claimed her second goal of the game to double the lead. A breakaway from the forward left two Outkast defenders in the dust, gifting Rodriguez with an easy opportunity to widen the gap at 2-0 heading into the second half.
Not to be undone, Outkast FC entered the final 45 minutes as a different team and wrestled for control of the driver’s seat in an effort to reverse the first half’s damage. Struggling to defend the two-goal lead, the Lady Eagles were dealt a heartbreaker in the 67th minute, as starting goalkeeper Montelibano was stretchered off the pitch due to injury and replaced substitute Moira Lim in goal.
Outkast FC gradually chipped away at Ateneo’s composure on the field, running counterattacks that slowly pushed the Lady Eagles’ back into their own half of the pitch. Lapses on defense gifted Outkast with numerous set pieces, with the team utilizing midfielder Barbie Sobredo to threaten the Ateneo backline with penetrations and long-distance strikes.
The clean sheet defended by Montelibano was then broken in the 75th minute when a handball in the Lady Eagles’ penalty box granted Outkast FC the chance to cut the lead. Dolino calmly stepped up to slot the ball in past goalkeeper Lim, closing the gap at 2-1 with the momentum now on her team’s side.
Defending their half of the pitch valiantly, the Lady Eagles survived multiple close scares from the Outkast attack but failed to secure the win as the clock winded down. With four minutes of added time nearly over, the Ateneo eleven conceded a free kick from 30 yards out, which served as Outkast FC’s last chance to salvage the game. Dolino launched a rocket from the spot, blasting the ball past the hands of Lim and into the net just moments before the final whistle to level the score at 2-2.
Editor's Note: Photo courtesy of Trina Camacho
ERRATUM: The team member cited in this article is Bea Velasco, not Nicole. The article has been updated accordingly. We apologize for this oversight.