MANILA, Philippines -- De La Salle-Zobel defeated Ateneo de Manila High School, 4-2, in a frenetic encounter in the UAAP Season 85 boys' football tournament on Sunday at the UP Diliman Football Field.
La Salle-Zobel skipper Jian Caraig was crucial to the Junior Green Booters' triumph, scoring in the 27th and 88th minutes while helping set up Alonso Aguilar and Ishitaro Mori for goals in the 21st and 36th, respectively.
His game-sealing goal made up for his missed penalty in the first half as well as a bungled open goal in the second.
It was a come-from-behind win for La Salle-Zobel, as Ateneo drew first blood, courtesy of Jose Mari Milo in the 16th. The Junior Green Booters responded with three goals in quick succession, but the Blue Eagles pulled one back before halftime, thanks to James del Valle.
They could not find the equalizer in the second half, however, and Caraig grabbed a brace at the death to seal the three points for La Salle-Zobel.
"We need to work on our finishing," said Juniors Green Booters coach Hans-Peter Smit. "There have been so many chances that we missed on sure goals. But of course, these are kids so they make mistakes.
"If we want to go all the way to the finals and all, this is just the second game of the first round. So let's see how they do against FEU. They have to learn, because [if] these chances [are] against FEU, you cannot miss these chances against FEU," he added.
In the first game, 10-time defending champions Far Eastern University-(FEU) Diliman scored a come-from-behind 2-1 victory at the expense of University of Santo Tomas (UST).
The Baby Tamaraws had to buck a slow start as the Junior Golden Booters captain Byron Christopher Abela managed to find the back of the net in the 34th minute of the match amidst the scramble in the FEU box.
It was a short-lived lead for UST, however: FEU striker Selwyn Nickos Mamon scored his fourth goal of the tournament in the stoppage time of the first half to level the contest.
Bryan Ezekial Villanueva then produced the winner in the 73rd minute, and the Baby Tamaraws held off the Junior Gold Booters in the closing moments.
"We have to start better," lamented FEU-D head coach Vince Santos. "We have to start stronger next time. I felt that we were flat in the first half."
"I guess (the players) were excited about the moments of the UAAP and so I don't know. We have to settle them down and play our game earlier," he added.
UAAP Season 85 is streaming on iWantTFC every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, available for Premium users outside the Philippines.