MANILA, Philippines – University of the Philippines (UP) had to dig deep to earn its first win of the UAAP Season 82 men's football tournament, a 1-0 triumph over National University (NU) on Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
UP dominated possession throughout the game, but it was not until the 50th minute that the Fighting Maroons finally got their breakthrough goal.
Anton Guariña found himself through on goal and he performed a spectacular finish to draw first blood. He had a chance to double UP's cushion later on, but failed to find the back of the net.
Arturo Alleje also had a chance to put the contest safely to bed as he was through on goal, only for NU goalkeeper Jhonrel Salintao to deny him with a fine stop.
"I thought first half we really executed well. We delivered on the gameplan. We created opportunities. We just didn't finish," said UP head coach Anto Gonzales.
Things turned ugly, however, as a small commotion broke out between the teams that led to the ejection of NU's Elmer Sampaga.
The Fighting Maroons should have gained the lead within the first half but magnificent shot-stopping by Salintao kept them at bay time and time again. The Bulldogs also had a goal ruled out late in the game due to a foul.
The result raises UP's points tally to 4 while coach Dan Padernal's NU has yet to make its mark this season.
"In the second half, we expect the boys to manage the games better. It also happened against Ateneo. We were already leading and then we lose steam for whatever reason. We start to get disorganized so it's something we really need to work on," said Gonzales.
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